It has been a long time since I have updated my blog, but I’m back! My life has been very full since just before Easter, when Kelly Walker came to Siloam and inspired our living for life’s second half! Then right after Easter, my husband and I visited our eldest son in Morocco, where he has been teaching at the American School in Marrakech for the past three years. We had a wonderful time – beautiful weather, gorgeous flowers, delicious meals with fabulous friends, visits to the picturesque countryside, interesting museums, and of course the fascinating souks! While we were there I celebrated a special birthday – the kick-off for a milestone birthday next spring. But more about that later!
We got back and within two weeks we were off again to Minneapolis where I attended the always inspiring Festival of Homiletics, where I was privileged to hear some of North America’s finest preachers. We made a whistle-stop tour to one of our favourite cities – Chicago – and then came home just in time to get ready for our Church’s Regional meetings in Port Elgin. The United Church of Canada has a new governance model so our annual meeting this year was a bit of a work in progress, as we joined together with two other regions and got to meet lots of new people as well as some old friends I had not seen in a long time. I even got to sell a few of my books, ReDesigning Your Life: A Practical Spirituality for the Second Half of Life.
Then two weeks later I attended a most interesting conference-retreat event on Spirituality and Aging at Conrad Grebel University College on the campus of the University of Waterloo. More about that in future posts too.
In between all these events that have taken me to various far off places, I have been busy with Easter and Pentecost and welcoming new members to Siloam. There has been time for fun too – a delightful musical at the Victoria Playhouse in Petrolia, called “Summer of ‘69”, which celebrated the musical greats of an era that is dear to my heart. For me, that was the summer between elementary school and high school, between grade 8 graduation and the start of the secondary school journey. I had no idea how many songs were made popular during that time!
Two other events have touched me in a special way this past month. One was a beautiful ceremony to celebrate the renewal of vows of a lovely Boomer-aged couple who wanted to re-commit themselves to each other. At the end – and this is what made it so poignant – the husband sang that wonderful old Johnny Mathis song, “The Twelfth of Never.” (He had a bit of help from Johnny Mathis singing in the background, but it was still incredibly moving!)
The other thing that brought tears to my eyes was the passing of a dear Boomer-aged man in my congregation named Brian. I first met Brian when I was doing my internship for ministry thirty-three years ago in St. Marys. When I moved to Siloam twelve years ago, I became reacquainted with Brian, who had since moved to London. Left developmentally challenged as the result of a brain injury at birth, Brian blessed so many lives in his 65 years. Every day since it first appeared on video he watched his favourite movie The Sound of Music, which was released back in 1965. Gentle, simple, compassionate, and kind, Brian taught us all a lot about what it means to love and care for others. Today we celebrated his life and then buried him beside his adored parents, his devoted sister and her family blanketing his casket with beautiful long-stemmed roses.
As I reflect back upon the last few weeks, I notice two trends. More and more I am conducting services to celebrate the renewal of marriage vows made long ago. Over the past few years I have actually had occasion to celebrate more “Renewal of Vows” services than wedding services. The other trend I am noticing is that I am starting to conduct more funerals or Celebration of Life services for Baby Boomers – in other words for people who are part of my own generation. These are trends that are giving me pause for thought. But more about that later!