Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Forming Habits

They say the best way to make something become habitual is to keep doing it. Isn't that what habitual means? And who are They?

I thought it would be best to keep this blogging thing up, for posterity sake. Who knows what will happen ten or fifteen years from now - I may look back on this time of life and shake my head, or I might be wondering what was happening in my mid-thirties to make me what I will have become.

I think life happens in stages. These stages may or may not coincide with decade markers - I haven't figured that one out yet - but as far as I can figure, there have been at least four, possibly more, life shaping events that have occurred approximately 10 years apart from each other. Or maybe it's that as I look back, I can see myself progressing through life, reacting to things with varying levels of grace and very different attitudes, and that these shifts happen at approximately 10-year intervals, and the life events around this time have served to shape me into what I have been and am at the time I'm observing myself.

Confused? Maybe I am too. It's late. I'll try to explain.

When I was 5, I had a dream about the occupations I would have to decide between. One was construction work, and the other was more vague, but I came to believe (later, when I was reflecting on the dream as an adult) that the other vocation was youth ministry. I would forget the dream in time, although it was a recurring dream that happened so often, that when I was in my late teen years, and I had the dream again (after deciding my vocational path), I immediately recognized it and found its contents more than mere coincidence.
I think I might have had that dream at the time that I did, because it required the simple belief of a child to not dismiss it right away, as an adult would. I also found faith when I was 5.

When I was 15, my first taste of ministry came in the form of traveling down to Chicago to work with the pre-teens at a camp. I also was asked to be a camp counselor at a camp in Ontario (Pioneer Camp) immediately following this missions trip. My attitudes and actions were clearly not that of a 5 year old, but probably more reflected the crazy energetic actions of an early teen... which was probably perfect timing for whatever seed was being planted there, at that time.

When I was 26, I got my first job as a youth pastor in a church. I remember distinctly feeling that I wasn't a teen anymore, and wondering how I was going to both relate to the teens in the area I was called to, as well as direct student ministries in a church of people almost twice my age. It was a difficult time (I might write more on that later), but I learned a lot. Mostly I learned that youth ministry is hard, but that I'm called to do it, and anything else would be a Jonah experience (read up on Jonah in the bible if you're not familiar with this - it's only four chapters, and has a really cool ending). My reactions were not those of a 15-year-old, nor a 5-year-old, yet I can look back on that era, and I know I didn't have the maturity I have now (just as I will likely look back at this time when I'm 45, and realize how far I've progressed then).

Now I'm 34, turning 35 this year. I'm married; no children yet - that looks to be a great struggle we have only just started grappling with. I have a great working relationship with the church I'm with currently, but I feel called to leave it and go to the Anglican communion, which is in the middle of a potentially great upheaval. It looks like it's going to be an interesting and rocky time, but I think that I'm here in this time, having weathered the storms I have, in preparation for the storm(s) ahead. I find myself to be more patient than I have ever been, and more grace-giving. And, I'm surprised to find myself as sad as I am, when I have the thought that I might never be a father.

I'm definitely a different person now than I ever have been, and I think that change has only just recently come about - or, maybe it has been gradually taking shape, but I'm just noticing it now. I'm getting older. And hopefully, wiser.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I've been re-inspired to kick this blogging thing back into gear. A friend of mine (Ryan Paulsen) is moving to Pembroke, ON, and has started a blog about his life there, and his family.

My last post was about my wife and I moving to Oshawa. We did so for a couple of reasons... first let me say that we weren't moving to Oshawa, but that we were, in fact, moving to a house. Which happened to be in Oshawa - we could only afford so much, and the things we could afford which were in Toronto were in scary parts of the city.
So, two reasons for moving - one, to start building equity (stop throwing your money down the rent hole!!!), and two, because we wanted to start a family.

That second one might not be so easy.

It might not even have anything to do with the fact that both my wife and I have crested the 30 year mark (me by a few years, my wife by a couple) - as we progress through the battery of tests (why do they call them a battery of tests anyway? Seems more like a gauntlet of tests), it's looking more and more like conceiving is either going to be really expensive, or not possible at all.
We don't think the problem is with my wife - it seems like all systems are go with her, but I guess testing (when it comes to that for her) will confirm or debunk that - but we do know that there are issues on my end. What these issues are, we're not sure yet, but I think that as things progress and we find out more, it's going to be one of the bigger subjects of the next few posts.

I guess I'll cut things off here; save the next few thoughts for another post.