## Friday, August 27, 2010

### Probability

Probability: A measure or estimate to the degree of confidence one may have in the occurance of an event, measured on a scale from zero (impossibility) to one (certainty).

I was born 12,696 days ago. I was born in Canada. I was born in Galt, Ontario. I am a firstborn daughter...I was the firstborn grandchild to my paternal grandparents. I was the third grandchild born to my maternal grandparents. I am now the oldest of 3.

The longer I live...as tomorrow will mark my 12,697th day on earth...I hear more and more frequently..."Wow..what a small world". I'm realising with age, that yes, the world is small..and the probability of occurances, head spinning events, and brilliant instants of syncronicity are less and less coincidence...and more and more an absolute certainty.

Why was I born in Canada? Why was I born in 1975? Why was I born a healthy baby girl? Why did I have 2 parents, and not a single mother? An estimated 360,000 babies were born in Canada the same year as I was. Which implies there were 360,000 possibilites of me being born somewhere else..to someone else....if you didn't believe in probability. I believe, God holds probability...and spins it into destiny.
Michael collided with my world..somewhere in the summer of 1986. The probability of that happening might have seemed remote. We went to different schools. We didn't have mutual friends. I WASN'T a cool kid. Like....AT ALL. I remember seeing him in the church parking lot, one summer evening after youth group. He was talking to my friend. I think he had a popped collar. We met then...it was brief. I heard different things about him through junior high as he was an enigmatic figure in my city... certainly better than Kirk Cameron, or any other teen magazine crush. He resurfaced in highschool. Once again...we didn't associate with the same crowd, so while we took a few classes together, we remained casual.

The probability of us becoming friends? If past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour? Slim to none.

But then we found each other in 2007... and we got each other. We laughed like those 11 yr. olds in 1986..we beared our souls like lifelong friends...and met each other at that exact point where life had brought us. His life had brought him to the other side of addiction..mine had brought me to very real confessions about why I am the person I am, due to things that are, were, and will always be out of my control. We went from 0-100 in every conversation... we always did. I had moments...even when I was sitting across from him, thinking..."how did THIS happen"?!

When Michael died...my expectations of probability died. I lost my belief in those things that are meant to be. I spun wrecklessly close to the edge of disbelief. But I knew in my heart...as I do now..the probability of peace and resolution? It's absolute. It may not be now...it may not be tomorrow...or next year..but I DO believe that one day, there will be more answers than questions. Even if it's not this side of heaven. I believe this, because Michael didn't lie to me. I believe this, because I believe in a God who has taken the guess work out of life. On a scale of uncertainty, to probability...I believe there IS beauty for ashes, we WILL dance among the ruins...and we will SEE it with our own eyes.

Will I see Michael again?

CERTAINTY.

## Friday, August 20, 2010

### Face Time

Saving face. Putting on a brave face. The face of a watch. Face time. What a varying range of descriptions for one simple, 4 letter F word. If you look up the word "face"on dictionary.com, there are 56 different explanations for the word. It goes from examples of the word as a noun, a verb, and an idiom.

To give something a face, is to give it an identity. It is recognizing individuality...it is admitting it's real.

Facing something without filters on...without a means of coping can be an excruciating part of the human journey. To face something, or someone with hands open, and the white flag of surrender blowing above your head is one of life's undesirable, fatal collisions. It's calling out the truth from its hiding spot. It's shining a light on a debilitating monster...it's being honest.

I have witnessed many things in my life. I have witnessed the irreverent waste of life itself, as I have observed on more than one occassion, the life of an addict. I have faced the fact, through much turmoil, animosity, and insane resentment that there is one hard and fast rule in life...you can't change someone. You are responsible for one persons happiness, health, direction and servitude..and that my friend, is YOU.

Facing all you feel, without a distraction, is the mark of a brave soul. It's not a meaningless choice. The resolute decision of an empassioned heart can move mountains...it can change the world. When life gets ugly...when your scars identify you for a time....when the healing begins...that's when the face of a situation grows more gracious. The investment in personal integrity increases authenticity.

Tonight I faced a road. An actual road that I haven't driven down in a very long time. It's been 3 yrs, and 4 months. The first 2 yrs and 10 months are irrelevant to the story, it's the last 6 that have marked my avoidance. I have been trying to remember every minute of time with Michael. I have been locking away all of the laughs, the cheeky off colour comments..and some of the most soul bearing conversations of my life. I have put them away for safe keeping... quietly facing them for solace, for reason...for flashes of relief from my flexing identity...I am the bereaved. I have avoided that road...because it feels like the last precious memory that I haven't gotten to. I have kept it there, on a winding country lane next to a sleepy golf course. I couldn't bear to think, that maybe there are no memories left....maybe I have recalled all of the great things that made him who he was...and who we were....and now it's gone. So I didn't go down that road, until tonight.

I felt this blog post coming on tonight...something about facing those things we don't want to. I was driving home, and hit a major traffic jam, and veered off the highway to take another route...and that route, took me down Ellis Rd. I grinned in silence as I realised...I have to drive that road...there isn't another way. So I did it...and I talked myself through it...I remembered a crazy night where we sat in the car, and watched the sun come up over the golf course...and I cried as I drove past the mist of that memory...and I cry as I write this.

The face has open wounds on it...desperate for healing. Desperate for time to administer a salve of acceptance and recognition...it was all real. I will continue to face things that hurt, not to punish myself, or to create more grief...but to do one thing...and that for Michael is this:

I will never forget you. xo

## Monday, August 16, 2010

### Sign Language.

I find pennies. I find pennies all the time. I find pennies, because I ask to find pennies...I don't find quarters, nickles or dimes...toonies or loonies...I find what I ask for, and what I ask for, is pennies.

Pennies are a sign for me. Pennies connect me to Michael. I actually think in my mind..."oh there you are", when I find one. I asked for a penny one night coming out of a gas station...I was having an insanely frustrating night. I was furious with anger and completely irritated, and I needed to vent. If it had been this time last year, I would have found Michael...I would have texted him saying how much my day sucked, and he would have sent back something cheeky. It's also likely it would have been scandalously inappropriate! It would have made me laugh, roll my eyes, and shake my head. But, now that he is gone...I ask for pennies. I found a penny that night...and it was from 1986. That is the year we met...we were 11. I knew he was still around...I knew in a second.

What signs do you look for? What signs do you ASK for? I believe we have not, because we ask not. I ask for signs all the time...the more wild, and outlandish, the better in my mind! Then I know for sure when they happen, that it hasn't been a mere coincidence...it has been the answer to the desire of my heart.

I am saddened when people say that a sign is a mere coincidence. I believe that time has been orchestrated...like a magnificent symphony. The parts don't just come in and out on their own. It is sometimes majestic and ringing...and other times, it whispers in your ear, and keeps time with your steps. Time allows you to be the transcendent solo sometimes...soaring and catching the wind, like a feather rising on the breeze. Other times, you find your part in the chorus...where being part of the whole just magnifies the greatness of the anthem. Time conducts you to those magic moments, where there is no choice but to believe, "that happened just for me".

So keep your eyes open...ask often for signs. Don't just ask for them when you feel you need an answer to something big in your life...ask for them everyday. I believe they will show up just to make you smile. I laughed out loud at a license plate in the parking lot of my new building last week...out of all the cars, in all of Ontario, to park across from me, the one that found me said, "MELBEE". (Michael's nickname at his workplace was, "MELB").

You never know when your actions, could be a sign to someone you know...or to a complete stranger. To the person who dropped a penny at the gas station today and decided to not pick it up? Thank you...I'm 100% confident that Mike slipped it out of your pocket, and left it there on the floor just for me.

Forever smooth Michael...I still laugh with you. xo

## Sunday, August 8, 2010

### Hope Chest

I have uprooted my life in the last week. I moved house. I am taking on a new chapter, in a new place...anxious to find out how my story weaves itself and inserts me into new and exciting adventures and experiences.

Upon moving, I realised something about my Hope Chest. It has dutifully sat beneath my television for two and a half years, and all the while...it has remained empty. I don't remember emptying it out. The day the movers came to transplant my life from one place to the next...I realised that my Hope Chest would cause them little stress or exertion due to its bare interior and the musty echo of 4 walls and a lid.

My Hope Chest belonged to my grandmother. It still has some old newspapers in the bottom drawer. They are yellow and delicate with age, but I will never part with them. I don't know why she put them there...but my not knowing, doesn't change the fact that she thought they were worth keeping for some reason.

I felt drawn to look at the history of the Hope Chest, and this is one I liked:

"Early hope chests were handmade and often lined with cedar, a fragrant wood that helps preserve fabric. Many fathers built their daughter’s hope chests and spent hours decorating them with artwork, wooden mosaics, and other decorations. The hope chest was then passed on from mother to daughter, becoming a family heirloom".

Funny, that a father carved out Hope for his baby girl. I imagine that labour of love beginning early, so the collecting could start...the hopes, the dreams..the anticipation of things while unseen, were longed for..waited for.

I don't know if my Hope Chest will ever be something I take into a marriage. I don't know if my Hope Chest will be passed onto a daughter. I have long ago let those hopes and dreams find the wind, and scatter far from me...to possibly land somewhere in that place called the future. Perhaps this is why it has remained empty. It hasn't been carefully organized and stacked to protect precious cargo...because I don't fully believe that the collecting will settle into anything traditional and tangible.

So, my Hope Chest is a place in my mind. It's not a box passed down..it's not an heirloom...it's a checklist of sorts, that sets me on a journey to strive for those things that are achievable. I will toss in those things I wish to accomplish, now, later, whenever. Things like filling a passport before it runs out....growing an incredible garden...taking any one of my nieces to their first boy band concert...teaching my nephew how to avoid breaking too many hearts.

My Hope Chest will find its way to one of my nieces one day...perhaps they will find something random in there, and wonder why I found it worth keeping. I hope they honour me by saving it...whether it be a movie stub, a train ticket...a photograph.

And if hope is to be believed in, and expressed...I will strive to model this: don't put it in a box, and let it sit until it *may* become useful...use it...scatter it, broadcast it to the world...and when you hear the broadcast bounce back to you someday... recognize that you sent out the frequency, and remember to also believe in it yourself.