Saturday, April 29, 2006

People Of The Heart

I shall preface this blog by saying my head is full of stuff to write...
but I will only be able to spurt out a little as I made a commitment
to be in Ottawa for a few days to help my dad during tax time. This
is a season of life that my dad has seen many of and has lived to
tell the tale. Though many of the final deadlines have been met by
the skin of his and my brother's teeth, we are all still here. Surviving.
This is a sentimental time for me - though chaotic and filled with
paper trails, adding machines (us old schoolers refer to using this
machine as 'running a tape') and buckets of paper clips used sparingly -
and there are things in life that are just too valued and useful to be
left off paper. And this IS one.

This life rotates on the head of a pin. Fragile, yet so seriously
colour-rich and fragmented all at once. I think a lot of my life
has been impacted by people and I want to take the time to
note a key one here today. One who has showed integrity,
strength and love. We are not necessarily good friends...
just a person who has inspired me in multiple ways.

My dad has worked for many eons as a CA and Financial Services
numbers cruncher, but along the way, his thrive for relational
work has created masses of opportunities for people and good
friendships and spiritual golf and hockey buddies along the way.
One of these professional/relational opportunities has happened in
the way of his friend Laurie. Laurie works for Hockey Ministries
International and helps promote Christian ethics amongst NHL
players, and having been an NHL player himself for over a decade,
he knows his stuff. He was what you would call a 'grinder' in the
sense that he didn't really ever score too highly, but he was the
kind of guy you wanted on your team because he would never
back down from a battle in the corner and play tenacious defense
on any floaters or puckhogs. He played the bulk of his good years
with the Winnipeg Jets (nice!) but also journeyed through franchises
like the Leafs (boo), the Oilers (He has a signed star-studded picture of
the Oiler team he was on - Gretzky, Messier, Ranford, Grant Fuhr,
Kurri - unfortunately he was traded very shortly into that season
though the Oil took the Cup that year) and finished his career here
in O-town on the Inaugural Senators team.

So much more than this, though, is the fact that Laurie is just an amazing
guy to talk with. As a teen, and more of a hockey buff than I am now, I
used to always pick his brain about players I liked (namely...ahem...Mike
Modano...for obvious reasons) and even though I'm sure tons of his kids
friends and other losers would ask him the same kind of questions, he
would always take time to thoughtfully resound an interesting and in-depth
answer to me. He is always interested in everyone's perspective, a quality
listener, and is very seldom without a smile on his face. His interpersonal
traits must have made him a prize candidate for his job now,
and he even helps my dad assemble tax returns when it's the
busy season amidst all of the other junk on his plate.

Laurie's wife died less than 2 months ago of severe brain cancer.
Laurie's wife Nancy was also a beautiful person who worked as a
secretary for my dad for quite a few years. She, too, was very
personal, friendly and great at listening to people and trying
her best to understand. Laurie has three teenage sons, all probably
left asking alot of the same questions that Laurie himself asks,
but probably mainly 'why?'. I am working with Laurie today,
and amidst the unbelieveable turmoil and anguish that he must

have already endured and is still enduring, that I have not even
a clue as to the mere perimeter of, he is keeping himself busy and
refusing to let the negative take hold. Though there is a deep sadness
in his eyes, and anyone who knows him can see it, he presses on, refusing to
throw in the towel on life and even myself and my brother have
been able to crack a few jokes with him and get him laughing. (In
fact, he is at the photocopier so much that he has adopted the endearing
title of 'copyboy', though he is not a boy in any sense and could
whip me and my brother in one flick of his wrist if he wanted.)

What empowers me is the notion that Laurie has had happen to him
what most of us fear more than any nightmare or evil that is out
there - the loss of your best friend and life love. Yet... something
keeps him going. Something in him is saying 'Don't you give up,
Laurie. Everything is not lost.' When I think of what life would be like
if something happened to Sarah...I shudder and disregard the thought
immediately for the simple fact that it is something beyond my
comprehension. But Laurie has been to the other side. And I'm not sure
he's back yet, and may not be for some time. But he sure as hell ain't
gone. He is 100 percent here and now and he's doing all he can.
And for those of us who know what that Hope is inside of him, a chill
hits the spine and hits us where we live. For those that don't know
of any Hope, or things of that nature and write it off as coping
mechanisms (which I'm sure factor into it), a sadness resounds.

I'm truly thankful for what I have, a beautiful and supportive wife
who backs me up at every turn even when I am a stubborn ass.
It makes me realize that this life is thin ice. But at least we are not
alone on this frozen lake, and can join hands with our life loves
and communities and friends along the way and make our way for the shore.

Laurie, you inspire me. I know you may never read this, but thank
you for who you are.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Reset The Jetstream

Things continue to change, all around, all the time. We live in a chaotic
state of flux that delivers no real promises except for the very moment
in which we are living and breathing, and even then, our human
condition leads us to always either look ahead or forward so there
really is no 'now'. Still pluggin' away at the call centre, and it seems
the firewall is down for a few mere moments so I must take advantage
of said opportunity. Plus, the monotony is that of none other that I
have experienced, making it very inviting to avoid.
I'm not sure what will be happening in the next while - it seems that

things are changing in the life of Sarah and myself, and we didn't really
do a whole lot to make it that way. Possibly a new career for me and
a great part-time/teacher-type job for Sarah next year AND a new
place to live. We are going into a new age, navigating new terrain.
And it's feeling pretty good. The anxiety I have is still there, and pops
its ugly head out from time to time, but I think I have crossed the
barrier of understanding that it's all in my head and that anxiety
will happen to everyone from time to time, and just the knowing
that it will pass eventually helps a great deal.
I had a great chat with my good friend Jonny-Boy-BC-Aurora last

night - it had been eons since we had conversed to such depth.
He is a good friend and I will be seeing him soon. I miss my friends. I miss
the thursday night meetings I had all this year and last with my homie
Mark, though I may be seeing him more frequently...time will tell.
I miss my good friend Justin, my long-time house-mate and sidekick,
and I haven't seen him in at least half a year. Josh
is someone I think about alot too...wonder what he's doing. Ray
and Dalton, my musical chums, have disappeared after talks
of a jam time in cobourg...losers. (just kidding guys, love.) Brother
Adam is all done his schoolwork and probably hoping for a
few kind folks and few cold pints. Sounds like a plan. Hopefully,
he'll be coming to visit soon. The homechurch/smallgroup goes
on and we've been making the trek to hamilton as a means of
'meeting in the middle' and the meeting house. No more Guelph
to St. Catharines and back.

Here's a funny quote as I have nothing else to say:
'The name Jimmy Eat World did not refer to lead singer Jim Adkins.
Tom Linton's younger siblings, Ed and Jimmy, fought constantly when
they were younger. Jimmy, who was stronger and heavier, would
usually win. Ed, at 8-years-old, as revenge, drew with crayons a
picture of Jimmy shoving the entire world into his gaping mouth with the
caption, "Jimmy eat world." '

Friday, April 07, 2006

What the .....

Alright. Deep breaths. Deep breaths. So a few hours ago I was
left a phone message at work, from the proprietors of where Sarah
and I live (the illustrious Ridley College) and...uh...we have to move
out sometime in August. But the real shits and giggles part of the
whole deal is that Sarah doesn't know yet, and I'm left stuck with
the aftermath of unknowing, uncertainty, and harsh feelings of
miscommunicative principalities between us and the Ridley folk.
A first hand example, ladies and gentlemen, of how life can get
turned right upside down, ass over tea-kettle, right before your
very eyes.

Regardless, I'm starting to understand, in the wake of all this,
that there is a plan and maybe it is for the better for me and Sarah to
get out of here and live life on our own terms and not on ski-jump
nosed Ridey's terms. I mean, no offense, but honestly Ridley, your
school is filled with bored, rich kids who don't have the common
sense to find their own arseholes with two hands and a salad fork.
Sure they have opportunities that other students wouldn't and a
heck of a lot more facilities, but I think that these kids are gonna
have a huge wake-up call one day when they realize what it means
to carve their own path, as theirs has been a path that has been paved for
them thus far.

I digress. It was good to talk with Sister Jillian for a few minutes
about everything, and on the upside of things, I'm applying for a new
job and Sarah and I will be having a new roomie for the summer months
that...we...are allowed to stay here for...I hope. Gotta talk to Sarah,
sort some stuff out...and hey it's the weekend. Party on Wayne. Lots
of changes happening.
More to come...

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