dimanche, janvier 27, 2008

notes on faith

I went to church this morning. It seems odd to write that sentence for two reasons. Until I moved out of my parents house eight years ago I spent almost every Sunday morning at Church. Since then, apart from a couple of Easter services and a chorister stint at a Presbyterian church during university, I haven't been back.

I never felt as though I'd left the church, eight years can dilute cradle Anglicanism, but it's not long enough to wash it away completely. And I had no beef with my faith: so long a part of my life, believing in God and understanding the new testament was as regular to me as breathing. Something I didn't think about much. Something that just sort of happened.

But there was a shift. Or there is a continual shifting. I'm not sure exactly. Perhaps my complacency made me spiritually lazy or maybe whatever faith I had was only ever a learned habit.

I don't think I believe in God any more.

I'm not sure when this happened, if it's permanent, or what to do about it.

A year and a half ago, when I organized my dad's and grandmother's funerals, I remember wondering how non-religious people dealt with death. At the time, I was thinking more about the structure of funerals, the processes of public mourning. I couldn't imagine organizing a "celebration of life" without any rules during the spinning teacup ride that is the early stages of grief. My family would have been paralyzed by the plethora of choices.

Now the question looms larger, like a guy looking for a fight in a bar. "How're ya gonna do it on your own? Huh? Huh? Wanna make somethin' of it sissy?"

I feel akin to the native Hawaiians, who, when forced to convert to Christianity, chose Anglicanism because they liked the pageantry of the "smells and bells" of the High Mass service. I take comfort in the liturgy because I know all the words off by heart and the music, particularly this morning, was excellent. But, as far as I can tell, there is nothing in me beyond a deep appreciation for the ritual, history and scholarship of the church.

Given all of this, is it ironic, that I'm considering singing in a church choir again?

Somehow, no. Singing would be no full court press to find God, rather, choral music is one of the more wholesome salves for my quarter-life crisis panic attacks. And I'm trying to spend more time in quiet, contemplative spaces.

dimanche, janvier 20, 2008

the city is at its best...

... on Thursday mornings between 8:30 and 8:45. When the light on Bloor street is luminous pewter and the grocers are watering the buckets of cut flowers that somehow survive the icy wind.

mercredi, janvier 09, 2008

The to do list:

1. Pay attention. Use my mind more. Float less. The statute of limitations on befuddlement looms.

2. Clean my desk. Last Sunday, a zen Buddhist teacher interviewed on CBC's Tapestry said people seeking enlightenment should clean up their kitchens. I'm neither seeking enlightenment nor do I have my own kitchen, but quick extrapolation led me to conclude: Buddhists seem to have their shit together. The Buddhist guy and I agree that clutter and mess is bad. My desk is a mess. I should clean my desk.

3. Eat breakfast. This has nothing to do with a morning egg-fest being the most important meal of the day. Rather, a commitment to morning eating has unforeseen positive externalities; I will get up on time and keep a reasonable amount of food in the house.

4. Stop procrastinating. An all encompassing task, as I seem to be able to procrastinate about doing laundry as easily as filing taxes.

5. Have more fun.

samedi, janvier 05, 2008

For Lake Simcoe, turn right...

On Wednesday morning I was in a hurry. I gave no thought to my attire* and forgot my ipod. I also forgot to bring something to read on the subway. Thus, on the 9:15 train, I found myself doing the shifting stare - five seconds on the anti-gambling advert above the door, three seconds on the business woman in the seat across the train, a glance at the floor, seven seconds studying the train map...

Two stops before I alighted, a man walked into my car. He was older, with scraggy, greying, brown hair and a quilted jacket that probably had a flannel shirt under it. He bounced a little as he walked, and, in marked difference to the comatose commuters around him, looked around alertly. Perhaps too alertly. A whiff of crazy or chemically enhanced floated around him.

He walked down the car and stopped in front of me. Close enough that there was no obvious alternative place to look. Swaying slightly (with the movement of the train? with beat of his own drum?) he looked down.

"Those are great boots... And I like your hat. You look great!"
"Do you fish?"

"Uhh... no" I stammered.

"Huh. Too bad." He rejoined, and carried on down the car.

I seem to have found my people in Toronto: crazy ice fishermen.

*I was decked out in jeans, Sorel boots, a down vest, and completely unmatching scarf, hat, and mittens. I probably looked like a homeless person who had robbed MEC...