Cette année, j’ai pris la résolution d’écrire l’histoire de la naissance de chacun de mes enfants. J’ai d’abord pensé le faire graduellement à l’occasion de leur anniversaire mais 4 anniversaires sont déjà passés sans que les histoires n’aient été écrites.
Certaines de ces histoires sont fragmentées par l’effet du temps mais j’ai encore des images et des sensations vives logées dans ma mémoire. Je ne saurais jamais si ces récollections sont fidèles mais elles représentent les hauts-faits de ces journées mémorables et uniques qui ont forgé, sculpté et raffiné qui je suis, la personne que je suis devenue.
Ma plus vieille. Si vous la connaissez, vous savez son nom. Si vous ne la connaissez pas, elle a un nom à la fois fort et déterminé mais empreint d’un certain romantisme et d’une beauté poétique, à son image. Son nom lui va bien.
Ma grossesse avait été stressante. Première grossesse, une surprise. J’étais âgée de 21 ans et je venais de finir ma première année de droit avec grand succès. J’ai commencé très tôt à souffrir de nausées extrêmes et dans mon enthousiasme naïf, ai préféré ne pas prendre de médicaments pour les contrôler.
I don’t really write about my faith. I was raised in a Catholic family but I came to adulthood with very little formal knowledge of the Catholic Faith. I came to the practice of the faith through the heart rather than the mind and this is where I stayed. I don’t write about faith because others do it better. My most inspirational line would probably be “It sucked before. Now it’s better.” A supernatural outlook on life and a good sense of humour are staples of loving life in a big family. Today is Palm Sunday and Palm Sunday deserves a blog post.
Palm Sunday is my favorite Feast Day in the Catholic Liturgy. Not favorite as in “we get chocolate”, but favorite as in “every year, it chews me up and spits me out.” I’m a lousy Catholic, really. I don’t get the warm-and-fuzzies about Mary or the Pope. There are elements of Catholic doctrine I don’t understand, others I struggle with. There are elements of Catholic doctrine I live-out like a champ, like not using artificial birth control. But I chose to stop artificial birth control and embrace natural family planning before I returned to the Church. So even in that regard I’m not punching above my weight. I found affinity with conservative Catholics because I was not using birth control, not the other way around. So there. But when I had deep questions about the meaning of life, suffering and happiness, Christianity and the Catholic Church had the most thorough answers. And when I thought that my 3 young children were going to drive me insane, Christian moms had a peace and a fortitude I longed for. That’s how I returned to the Church: I wanted a piece of what they had. I didn’t join because I had something for God but because God had something for me. And they used to let me sing at Church.
Palm Sunday is the Feast of the Lousy Christian. It used to drive me nuts. Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entrance of Christ into Jerusalem. The procession starts outside of the Church with the blessing of palms and continues into the church with the reading of the Passion. The procession reminds us that the same people who welcomed Christ as their King would later ask for his crucifixion. I always found the procession painful. It should be solemn. We are celebrating our hypocrisy after all. But instead, we sing and dance and smile and wave our silly little branches. Don’t we realize after 2000 years that it’s a parody of ourselves and our shallowness? It took me a long time to accept than the ridicule of welcoming the celebrant 5 minutes before a dramatic reading of the Passion of Christ was part of the penance. The Feast of the Lousy Christian starts with a reminder of how weak and fickle we are.
The Gospel on Palm Sunday is always a reading of the Passion, the story of Christ’s long, painful, death. But the most graphic depiction is not of what the crown of thorns and cross did to Christ, but of the betrayal of those who once professed their faith in him. And every year, a verse of the Passion stands-up, steps out of the book, walks over to my pew and punches me in the face.
Judas’ 3 pieces of silver represent my choice for comfort over the demands of self-sacrifice. Peter’s denials, they are mine. The two thieves, one challenging God, the other humble, are my struggle to understand suffering. Palm Sunday is the Feast of falling short, of saying things we didn’t mean and meaning things we never say. It’s the Feast of the weak and the proud, of thinking we know better, of wanting to go it alone.
Palm Sunday is the Feast of discomfort, of knowing we are capable of so much more. Judas broke down. Peter wept. The thief repented. It’s the Feast of coming face-to-face with our fears and our limitations and choosing the easy way out instead of pushing through. It’s the Feast of embracing our lousiness before embracing weakness and knowing we need help. Next week, we will celebrate the hand outstretch. This week, we are not ready to accept it.
It’s my Feast, it’s your Feast. It’s the Feast of all of us.
Cette semaine, ma fille de 11 ans a été invitée à participer à une vidéo-conférence avec le Commandant de la station spatiale internationale Chris Hadfield – mes sels…. Qu’on m’apporte mes sels….- et le Premier Ministre. Voici un album photo qui relate notre expérience. J’y ajouterai des photos d’Ève et moi lorsque je les recevrai. Si vous ouvrez la première photo en cliquant dessus, vous pourrez voir l’album pleine-grandeur et lire les sous-titres plus facilement.
Vous pouvez trouver des meilleures photos ici (photo de groupe) et ici (Premier Ministre avec David St-Jacques et Jeremy Hansen – je m’évente un peu, ouf!).
Video You Tube du Commandant Hadfield qui répond à la question de Marie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYWJTu_JJ_A J’adore sa réponse sur la prise de décision: “Making good decisions is a skill…” Quelle inspiration!
L’entrevue de Peter Mansbridge (en anglais): http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/TV+Shows/The+National/Technology+%26+Science/ID/2329235320/ Non mais, ne vous donne-t’il pas envie de vous lever de votre chaise et de faire quelque chose de grand? “… The importance of choosing something that has a great personal import but that is also larger than yourself, that combination to internalize early and to lead a life that goes in that direction, is the type of message that I really work hard with young Canadians to get into their heads and into their core, to lead a life that is satisfying to them and that is also good for the rest of us.” (vers 11:30).
– Have you been following Senator Mike Duffy’s expense claim kerfuffle? The claim form confusion seems to be affecting many Senators and, if I may add, their staff. Because who are we kidding here? It’s not like Mike Duffy fills up his own claim forms. But a mistake was made and monies will be repaid. The same week Mike Duffy was ducking TV cameras and avoiding embarrassing questions, I received a letter at work. It’s a letter I receive all too often, coming from a desperate taxpayer who suddenly finds him/herself in the cross-hair of the Canadian Revenue Agency. They owe taxes, in small or large amounts. They got confused filing their forms, like the Senators. They never tried to evade the taxman and that’s probably why they are in such trouble: if they were professional tax-evaders, they would know how to stay out of CRA’s radar. But no, they paid their money, or rather what they thought was their money, and sent it to CRA with their home address and vital information. Only they didn’t send enough money. And last week, they received a letter asking them to pay their taxes before close of business or else. Or else. And the “or else” is not trivial. Unlike Duffy, they never had the option to repay. They are not only taxed but fined, threatened with a garnishing order – which in some businesses, like bank employees, means a loss of employment – or foreclosure. So make my day Mike Duffy. While Senators think they are doing the honorable thing by repaying pocket change and keeping their jobs, the bureaucracy is putting the tax base through the ringer. And nobody bats an eyelid.
– Speaking of taxpayers’ dollars, my city was hit by a major snow fall. The quantity of snow was significant and the mild, slightly above zero temperature, made it heavy and water-logged. More than 200 city buses got stuck and jackknifed in the white stuff. Even my minivan with its kick-ass winter tires got (shortly) jammed in the fluff.
Two days later, it was time for the giant snow blower to remove the snow from the main arteries. I have readers in tropical climes — or so my statistics tell me — so let me educate you.
When a Canadian city is hit by a major snowfall, the roads need to be cleared progressively while the snow is still falling. The snow is first pushed to the sides of the road by snowplows driving up and down major arteries.
All this snow creates big walls of snow on each side of the road and must eventually be removed by a snow blower.
The snow blower blows the snow into several very large dump trucks who then take the snow to a snow dump.
Because it takes more time to make a round trip to the snow dump than to fill a dump truck with snow, several dump trucks take turns filling-up while the others go to the dump and come back. It’s like a giant snow-removal-tag-team operation. When the City removes the snow, cars cannot park in the streets. So the City puts snow removal no-parking signs to warn people. And people don’t pay attention and park in the streets anyway, hence the need to tow cars out of the snow blower’s path.
Last week, I drove past 4 giant dump trucks idling on my way to the vegetarian restaurant. As I got near the restaurant, I saw two more giant dump trucks idling behind the snow blower. The snow blower sat empty, on a forced coffee break, while the tow-trucks were towing one car after the other. And as if the waste of taxpayers’ dollars wasn’t mind bending enough, a pick-up truck from the City of Ottawa was accompanying the tow-truck, no doubt to deal with disgruntled car owners. In front of the all-organic-all-the-time vegetarian restaurant, a Toyota Echo and a hybrid Ford Focus were being towed. How’s that for a lifetime of greenhouse gas savings blown away over lunch? I hope that the irony of having half-a-dozen heavy-duty diesel-powered engines idling while their energy-efficient matchbox dinkies were being towed away wasn’t lost on them as they digested their local organic kale.
– I started writing this post 3 week ago. That’s how slowly I write, in case you are wondering why I am posting about the last snow storm on a beautiful sunny day. Not only that, but why would I be posting about manly trucks on International Women’s Day? I listened to a few radio interviews today in between hosting a weekly meeting for my local babywearing group. Yes, women who choose to be attached to their babies as much as possible. From what I heard, Women’s Day is all about abortion and contraception and how hard it is to get either. Isn’t there more to being a woman than to be sexually available and artificially infertile? Because my experience as a woman who raised and gave birth to 8 children, running a home and occasionally a slew of volunteer activities is worth nothing in today’s economy. My degree is outdated, I am unemployable to most but the friend who gave me my part-time job, and I can’t even get a biology credit to return to University without going back to high school. As if I hadn’t learned more putting my kids through school than is required to enter the midwifery degree I so long to get. But hey, what is really keeping women down is not having enough pills. No: What is keeping women down is the belief that women have to be barren like men to succeed and that childbearing and child-rearing are impediments to equality. So that’s your International Women’s Day reflection from a women who is not using artificial birth control out of principle. And while I call myself a feminist for my radical view on the beautiful integrity of the feminine body, ovaries and all, I know that most feminists would be ashamed to count me as their own. Cheers!