A Good Home, Inspiration, Prayer

Sometimes ….

I sometimes think that I’ve given you entirely the wrong impression.

That I’m strong, brave, and always optimistic.

Blog Photo - Late pink clematis solo

Truth is, I’m a recovering coward.

There have been times in recent years when I’ve felt completely weak, unwise and pessimistic.

Times when fear turned my insides to mush and great challenges brought me to my knees.

But as one friend says: “While you’re down there, you may as well pray”.

Sometimes, I had to pray several times before my insides finally returned to normal and I remembered: “All I need to do is put one foot in front of the other. And trust.”

Blog Photo - pansies - blue CU

Sometimes, putting one foot in front of the other meant writing a funny or optimistic post on my blog. Trusting that you’d read it, smile and be uplifted.

And sometimes it meant just going back to my bed. (And while there, perhaps reading a few of your own updates to cheer myself up.)

All of which may prove that the great philosopher Soren Kierkegaard was right when he said: “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”


Blog Photo - Blue clematis2

Thanks for being there. These flowers are for you.

I end this post with a blessing from a Margaret Mair poem:

May the day hold you gently
In the softness of its hope
And the sun guide you surely
To where you find yourself
Contented and free
In the kindness of its light.

~~

Photos courtesy of Hamlin Grange.

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Home, Childhood Memories, Family, Home, Inspiration

Mama Said….

Our mother raised us lovingly, on food, church and words.

Some of her words came from the Bible, of course. Many were old family sayings, old Jamaican/British proverbs, or came from sources unknown.

 

Photo by Hamlin Grange

If we judged another person harshly, my siblings and I would hear this one:

“There is so much good in the worst of us

And so much bad in the best of us

That it doesn’t behoove any of us

To speak evil of the rest of us.”

Just recently, I Googled the saying’s origin and found it attributed to two Americans: Edward Wallis Hoch, and Edgar Cayse both born in the 19th century. Hoch’s version ends slightly differently:

“…That it hardly behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.”

I don’t know who said it first. But as far as her children are concerned, Mama said it best!

 

A Good Home, Architecture, Architecture and Design, Author Cynthia Reyes, Bond Head Harbour, Canadian History, Canadian Homes, Canadian life, Country roads, Ebor House, Frederick Farncomb, Getting lost, Heritage nieghborhoods, Historic Bond Head, historic neighborhoods, Home Decor, Homes, Inspiration, Interior Design

PAVING PARADISE

 

I got a surprising note today from a man named Brian. It’s about a place I wrote of in 2014, when I got lost and came upon an amazing house in a strangely beautiful neighborhood.

 Here is Brian’s letter:

“Cynthia, I just stumbled on your blog because I live on the same street as Ebor House in the beautiful historic area called Bond Head and I’m doing some research to fight the Clarington Town Council’s plan to redevelop our area.

They are planning street widening, curbs and sidewalks. Classic paving of paradise. They are even considering a splash pad and monkey bars at the little parquets where the fishers do their thing.

Does everything need to be developed? What is wrong with having a few gems left untouched to remind us of the past?”

And here is “Lost Without A Clue” — the first post in a series that became by far the most widely-read story on my blog. You can read this post alone or the entire series:

https://cynthiasreyes.com/2014/08/07/lost-without-a-clue/

A Good Home, Canadian life, Canadians, Family, Inclusion, Inspiration, Life Challenges, Life in canada, OpEd

Below the Waterline

Can you imagine smiling politely as someone insults you and the people you love most in the world?

I recently met a man who came to our home to repair an appliance. His work completed, we got to talking about ethnic food. He asked me: “What do you think my background is?”

I stared at him, his European ancestry evident in his face, skin colour, hair texture. But he wouldn’t have asked that question unless he had been born somewhere outside Europe, I reasoned.

“Maltese,” I said, picking the first place that came into my mind.

“No,” he replied.

I was still staring at his face.

“I give up,” I finally said.

“I’m Canadian Indian,” he said.

“Seriously?” I asked.  I know that indigenous people come in a variety of shapes and shades, but still….

“You must be mixed with a lot of European blood, then?”

“No, only a little,” he said. “My grandfather on my father’s side was half German.  I look  a lot like him. But all my brothers and siblings look completely indigenous, with darker skin and black hair.”

I smiled knowingly now. “My extended family is kinda like that,” I said. “Our family’s racial mix seems to disappear for a generation or two, then it pops up and a child will resemble an ancestor two or three generations back. Funny how that happens, eh?”

Blog Photo - Hollyhock Mutant

We chatted for a while longer. But after he left, one thing he said stayed on my mind. Because everyone he meets assumes he’s caucasian,  he sometimes hears people talk about indigenous people in disparaging terms.

“That’s my people they’re talking about,” he remarked, sad and matter-of-fact at the same time. “That’s me they’re talking about in that way.”

~~

Our conversation reminded me that when we meet someone, we never quite know who we’re talking to. Below the waterline, beneath the obvious, lie differences that we can’t see.

If you met some members of my own family, you wouldn’t know their racial mix either.

Blog Photo - Mama's Garden CU of CR

And if you met me, you wouldn’t immediately realize that as a consequence of my car accident, I struggle with a head injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the depression that accompanies those challenges.  Yes, mental disability.

I have Muslim friends who are rarely recognized as such because Muslims are seen as brown-skinned, and primarily from the Middle East or India/Pakistan.  I have Jewish friends who don’t fit someone else’s idea of what a Jew should look or behave like.

I have deeply religious friends who have heard others disparage their belief in God, and atheist friends who are disdained for not believing in God.

And until quite recently in Canada, it was often acceptable to talk about gays, lesbians and transgender persons in very negative terms. In some quarters, it still is.

These are just a few of the many invisible differences that exist among the people we know. Differences that are sometimes disparaged, even rejected.

~~

The talk with the appliance repairman left me thinking about the potent mix of emotions a person feels when they are accepted as “one of us”, knowing that if their true identity were known, they’d likely be rejected, as would the people they love.

What must it feel like to be allowed ‘a pass’ because of the way you look, but to hear people, over and over, deride a group to which you belong?

My visitor described his experiences without self-pity, without anger.

I didn’t ask him: are you glad at times that you don’t look Aboriginal? Doesn’t it gain you entry to places where your real identity would deny you access? But perhaps I didn’t ask because I already have a sense of such things — my own background being what it is.

And not for the first time, I wondered: is this the kind of adversity that is supposed to make a person stronger? Or does its effect simmer quietly out of sight, corroding one’s soul?