Mary Ann, Calgary, AB, Canada
To the Calgary Community of Christ congregation,
I am so grateful to have your pumping machine to provide my milk to my son in the NICU. The MOM Project is an amazing act of concern for both baby and mommy.
You don’t know how you all touched my heart. Maybe for you it’s just a small deed, but for me it’s a reason to build and increase my faith.
Giving birth unexpectedly and seeing my baby so tiny with lots of stuff on his body makes me worry and feel down all the time. I know I have my family, relatives and friends to support me in this part of my life, and now, through the MOM Project, I have one more thing to drive me to be strong and fight my worries and fears.
I don’t know you all but you showed love through this selfless act for us mothers with babies in the NICU. You helped me not only financially, but you also helped me emotionally and spiritually by motivating me to not give up if there are big challenges that come into my life.
I want to thank you all for sharing this project with me.
November 11: In the USA this day is Veterans Day. In Canada we call it Remembrance Day. In both countries we take this time to reflect on the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve in our respective countries' armed forces. Most people think about those who paid the "ultimate price" for freedom, meaning they gave their lives while doing their jobs. It is fitting that we should honour them, but there are many, many more who gave their lives but did not die. Let me explain.
For 48 years, I have been married to a veteran of the Vietnam Conflict. He spent 30 months fighting a war...not to protect OUR freedom but the freedom of people he did not know in a country he had probably never thought much about until this conflict planted him there. He did this not because he enjoyed what he was doing but because he was following orders and because he believed it was his duty. He received relatively minor physical wounds but MASSIVE emotional and psychological wounds that more than 45 years later have still not healed. Those wounds have impacted his life, my life and the lives of our children, in ways that I would not have imagined possible. After years of therapy with skilled and compassionate counsellors, emotional scar tissue has formed and the wounds are not so raw. But there is not a single day that the impact of those 30 months does not affect our lives, and usually not in a positive way.
So here is the point of my post...on this Remembrance Day/Veterans Day, please remember to say thank you to those veterans (and their families) who are still with us. The ones who gave their lives but continue to suffer.
Writing testimonies is hard. Moving is hard. Having to be a support anchor for your family is hard. Praying and hoping all will go as desired, as it is meant to be is hard. A terrestrial adult-ing life is hard.
But, there are so many joys and blessings that make this hard life so much brighter. To see the beauty around us; to hear the giggles of those finding joy, the prayers of a child; to taste the varieties of foods available to us; to smell the flowers as we run through the fields, the rain as it falls to the dry earth; to give hugs to friends and family we don’t see too often. These are but a few of that which lifts my spirits, gives me a smile when I feeling a bit lonely.
See, our family of 5 had what we call, an “adventurous” summer. The day after school ended in May, my husband was offered a new job in a new location-Washington, D.C. So as our typically busy summer was beginning, we compounded it with packing and figuring out where best to move. Not only was I finalizing plans for Jr/Sr High Camp at the Ozark Campgrounds, but also taking my son to Jr. Camp, sorting through toys, clothes, kitchen items, craft items, etc. Then I directed the Jr/Sr. High Camp. We also had Reunion (a family church camp) and a visit to check out our new home location. With a few weeks left to pack and fix up our house to sell, we tried to find some peace and joy. We went to the park, to the zoo, visited friends, saw family, went to church, prayed.
As the big move from Oklahoma to the Northern Virginia suburbs of D.C. loomed, my anxiety rose. I am a Midwest girl currently living in the big city trying to keep sanity in my family. We are over 18 hours driving distance from family and friends, with few opportunities to visit. Talk about feeling lonely, and out of place!
But, we’ve been here 6 weeks now, and we have found a wonderful new community. We drive into D.C. on Sundays for fellowship and service at the Community of Christ congregation there. It is like walking in at home. There is that sense of peace, love, acceptance, and community I have found at every Community of Christ congregation I have visited. A place where we can find a seat at the table. We may have a new home, and be far from family, but at least we have found a new “surrogate” family. A place where our 3 kids can run and play and not feel awkward. A place to feel comfortable and appreciated.
We greatly miss our previous communities of church families, our previous “tables,” but God moves us to new experiences, to new community at a new table.
Now, I am off to show new wonders, new reasons to smile, to my kids and see where this path of terrestrial life goes that God is leading us on.
May God let the Spirit breathe with you, and lead you towards loving community; an accepting, joyous table; and on the path laid down just for you.
Calgary Spark is a collection of stories told by members and friends of the church alike. Each person's story is helping to shape our community in new ways.