Saying Goodbye

This week we said goodbye to my eldest son. We put him on a flight that was heading halfway around the world, to embark on the journey of a lifetime. He’ll be gone for about 6 months — learning, and growing, and serving others. He’s gonna love it! The hubby and I have been debating “goodbyes” for the last three weeks. How are you supposed to feel about goodbyes? Sad? Excited? Anxious? Perhaps we feel all of those emotions. It’s not a debate whether you miss the person or not, it’s simply feeling. And everybody feels differently. We cannot impose our feelings on others. This is oh so evident with grief… and final goodbyes. Each of us handle it our own way — and you cannot rush the process. But that’s a bigger topic for another day.

We’ve been anticipating this trip for some time… and have made preparations: vaccines, paperwork, fundraising, packing, planning, researching, and waiting. You arrive early to the airport (way too early, says the hubby), and despite double checking and repacking, you pray they ignore the two extra pounds of luggage and put you through. Then you have a momentary breakdown (and shear panic) as you check the carefully labelled red folder of “important” documents and discover the passport is missing. Only to discover it is on said son’s person. But said son has disappeared for the last 20 minutes in some obscure airport bathroom…. and you silently curse…. and a whole new set of emotions well up.

And then, alas, the time comes for hugs, selfies, pats on the back, final warnings to be careful as you, yes, blink a few tears back, and watch as your beloved spreads his wings. We call all of that “goodbye”.

According to history, our English goodbye was derived from “Godbwye” a crazy, late 1500’s text-worthy spelling version of “God be with ye” — quite appropriate if I do say so. That is all we really want to say, isn’t it? I put you in God’s hands, and trust that He knows best. It’s really the sum of our mixed emotions. God be with you, until you return.

I’ve mused a little this week about how Jesus’ disciples must have felt when He said his goodbyes. Confusion must have been in their mix of emotions. Why was he leaving this way? How did Mary feel about her final goodbyes at the cross? Was Thomas the one wishing for the red folder of important documents? What about the reverse? What was going through the mind of the all-knowing Saviour as He said “goodbye” to His earthly life to return to His Heavenly father? I am sure He had some mixed emotions leaving His mission to a bunch of confused fishermen and bewildered women!

But — perhaps the “God be with you” phrase was truly coined then, at that moment in history. Perhaps Jesus simply did what He had to do, and then said His goodbyes, knowing that the rest of the future human race will simply have to learn to embark on their journeys with God “bye” our side.

Until next week: “Goodbye” my gentle readers…”God be with you”

Lost Luggage

You will forgive me if you are a traveler and have have experienced this story a hundred times; but I am not, and so I share it from the perspective of a newbie, strained in the dilemma of being a “first timer” and all the fresh perspectives it brings.

I recently traveled from my home province to beautiful Nova Scotia for a short stay in wonderful “Wolfville Valley” as I participated in a conference at Acadia University. Although we are pretty experienced travelers, and I have no fear of flying, this was my first solo trip. The event took on a kind of snowball trajectory and I was not super prepared for it. The hubby booked the tickets for me without my consultations, we were unsure about the small details, and the return trip was still not nailed down until the day before I was to leave. This does not bode well for a slightly neurotic rule follower who likes to plan and have all her ducks in a row before undertaking any new task. These facts notwithstanding, I was looking forward to the conference and some alone time with my thoughts.

I strategically packed only carry on luggage to avoid extra costs, and despite his assurances that everything was fine, I made the hubby print out my boarding pass ahead of time. Old school. My emotions were high (see last weeks mid life crisis post) as I said my goodbyes and plodded on through the security lines. I watched as many scanned their electronic boarding passes via their smartphones with all the confidence of world class, techno savvy travelers. Perhaps I will survive my return flight without a solid piece of paper in hand.

The walk to our departure gate was seemingly endless and I struggled to juggle carry on suitcase, bag and old fashion paper work and itineraries, without losing anything on the moving sidewalks (anyone else have a fear of getting something sucked into the end of those things?!) After a marathon trek to the final boarding gate, I plunked down beside two young moms travelling alone with small children and blessed them both, silently, for taking on that challenge!

The staff eventually called that our flight was quite full and that if anyone would like to check your carry on luggage, they would be happy to pop it on the plane at no extra cost. I knew this might happen, and readily took advantage of the call. The moms also packed off their stroller and small child suitcases. I was sure to ask where exactly should we place them? “Just at the door of the plane — next to the stroller.” Okay. Done.

The short flight was uneventful and the slightly smaller airport made baggage collection easy to find. Colourful boxes and bags poured out and around the carousel, until the only ones left were those of us who had checked our bags at the gate! The young mom got her stroller…but no carry on sized luggage had arrived! Great. No big deal though… make a claim, lots of flights in from the big city today… should have your stuff by this evening… they will deliver to front desk, call when it arrives… okay, okay… I can do this. Happens all the time, I have a number to call, a printed receipt even…

The day goes by. No luggage. The evening goes by. No luggage. I call the toll free number. Not yet. I begin to slightly panic. I will have to sit through lectures with no deodorant! I will not have brushed my teeth. I will have to sleep naked! Oh, The horror!

Anxiety: Being consumed by the uncertainties of the Future. But God says: Let Tomorrow worry about itself!

Eventually my small suitcase arrived in a very reasonable time frame, all things considered. And despite my panic and fear of overwhelming body odor, no one seemed to bat an eye, or flinch a nostril. Life goes on. I survived.

As I sat on the flight home (with my carry on safely stowed above my head in the compartment above!) I marveled and mused about the whole idea of anxiety. Those who fear flying, those who struggle with phobias, those who are crippled by the very definition of the word anxiety: being consumed by the uncertainties of the future. I get it. I often feel it. I easily get overwhelmed with the unknowns, the what ifs, the lack of control.

Realistically, this is the big make up of our anxiety isn’t it? That lack of control. If we can’t fix it and be in charge, then who will? As a Jesus follower, I am squarely confronted with the fact that He is in control. God almighty is the only one who knows the future. Every other world view puts our destinies in our own hands. The end of Matthew 6 reminds us that the future will contain trouble, but it’s not my job to worry about it. Tomorrow will worry about itself. The lilies sleep naked all the time — and are all the more beautiful for it. I’m learning -slowly- to not fret at my lack of control. To try and move on and learn and grow. I even scanned my phone generated boarding pass on the way home! Small steps, my friends, small steps.

15 Great Canadian Facts

Happy Canada Day!! For this week’s blog post, I thought we would take a look at our great country and my list of 15 fun facts about Canada! Since mittonmusings.com is the “Canadian, lifestyle blog with an inspirational twist”, it seems appropriate! Enjoy!

1. Canada is the second largest country in the world, covered by a total area of 9.98 square kilometers from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.

2. We have 10 provinces and 3 territories.

(I remember when we only had two territories…but the next generation would have Nunavut)*groan*

3. Canada has 6 time zones!

I guess this is why it is so expensive to fly from one part of Canada to the other!

4. We have the forth lowest population density in the world. Only 3 people per square kilometer.

Most of our land is covered with forest (or snow). A lot of us live in the cities too. Maybe this is why so many Canadians are introverts like me!

5. Canadians are among the most highly educated people in the world.

We rank first in the number of adults with a tertiary education. Over 51% have attained at least an undergrad from university or college. So smart, ya’ll are…especially since reading my blog! 🙂

6. We have 9% of the world’s renewable water supply at our fingertips!

7. Each Canadian generates approximately 640 kg of waste per year.

Which makes me think….if we spent our Canada day holiday at the beach, did you clean up your picnic or use re-usable dishes? Do your part, people! It’s so hard to be “green” and convienient isn’t it?!

8. The average Canadian consumption of eggs is up from our declining trend — to an average of 190 eggs per year!

See! My teenagers, alone, have contributed to the increase… need those chickens, my friends!!

9. We are one of the most ethically diverse nations, with a large scale immigration program.

10. The most common Canadian last name is “Li”.

Literally, our mission field is arriving to our doorsteps!

11. “eh” is officially listed in the Canadian Oxford dictionary as a valid word.

12. It is against Canadian law to have comics that depict criminal acts.

(Sorry Marvel and DC… I guess no more movies for you, eh?!)

13. There is no official church of Canada, and religion is considered a private matter.

The government allows freedom of religion in Canada as a constitutionally protected right. A fact that I am grateful for! It means I can share my views openly!

14. 65% of Canadians surveyed in 2016 say they believe in God.

It is interesting to note that this belief in God has been steadily been decreasing since 2005, where 81% answered yes to the same question. Currently, Islam is the fastest growing religion in Canada. And it seems like our vast immigration has influenced our religious affiliations. 49% of Canadians say that their religious beliefs are important to them… the question is why? A thought to ponder.

15. Only 8% of all Canadians view evangelism as positive.

We are a spiritual nation, but no longer a Jesus following one. We think that our religious beliefs should be that of a private matter…. not to be shared. Not to influence others. No Bible should dictate the laws and rules of our great nation. I’m sad to see the decline, and continue to muse of how I can do my part to raise awareness about the One who influences my daily life. Oh Canada! May God truly keep us strong and free!

all facts were gathered from the great world wide web… and are non of my own!

Happy Canada Day, my beloveds!