Sunday, September 9, 2018

September, so far ...

Of COURSE the first few days of September had temperatures in the high 20's and sitting at my desk at the office was just all kinds of painful.

So the second the bell rang, I headed west.
On Wednesday night I walked the sea wall; from Science World to Granville Island and back again.
(Stopping at London Drugs in Olympic village to buy shampoo. But because I didn't have my glasses on, I bought conditioner. My shower now has three full containers of conditioner.)

I asked a few friends if they were free to join me at Kits Beach on Thursday after work because the forecast from Friday til next July is rain. But no one could join me. So after I ate dinner, I went to Guildford to buy shampoo, except my truck was on auto pilot and all of a sudden I was on the freeway.

So I ended up at Kits, by myself, ill-prepared for an evening on the beach. No folding chair, no beach blanket, no bookclub book to read, no snacks. I parked, found an empty log, plunked down on the sand, leaned back on the log and watched the show.

I did some prayer-journalling.
With this unfortunate pen, found at the bottom of my bag:

How lucky am I?
I live in a safe corner of the world, so if I want to go to a beach, by myself, all I have to do is go.

Friday afternoon was Aunt Agatha's funeral/celebration of life service, in Greendale. Which is in the heart of farm country. And where I was surrounded by extended family, some of whom I'd only met once or twice or never before.

We sang hymns, in harmony. Beautiful songs of hope and faith.
I walked into the sanctuary with Lianna (Klassen) (a friend of Val's and an acquaintance from my 'way back') and sat beside her during the service. Know what? You should totally try to sit near a recording artist during a hymn sing. Because. It's like having an angel worship in your ear. For real.

The service was filled with stories. From Agatha's children, grandchildren and her very best friend.
It was wonderful. Warm. Loving. Inspiring. Hope-filled. The words that kept being repeated were:

  • hospitality. Her house was always open. Her fridge was always full. Her desire to feed everyone never waned. 
  • friendships. She had many, many friends. She cared for each of them individually and deeply. They knew they were loved. 
  • generosity. She loved to give gifts. This was her love-language. 
  • prayer. She was in constant communication with the God she believed in and the savior she served. She prayed for those she loved daily. Even though I wasn't one of her kids, she'd let me know she was praying for me too. 
  • flowers, gardens and purple. She loved all three. 

Agatha was the youngest of five siblings. 
There were three sisters in the family, Suzannah (Susie), Katrina (Tina) and Agatha. 

These cousins are the oldest kids of those three sisters: 

Jake (Susie was his mom), Val (Agatha was her mom) and Don (Tina was his mom):

Agatha's three kids:
Val, Gloria and Johnny

Johnny and Jim (my bro) exchanging contact info:

Gloria and her besties:

Some of these friendships are second-generation friendships; their moms were friends with Agatha:


Val and her friends since childhood:

Friday afternoon's event was the perfect nod to the woman whose life we were remembering. She left behind a beautiful legacy. Rest in the arms of Jesus, Aunt Agatha, sing with joy, give my dad a hug and say hi to granny. xo


Thursday evening I was at the beach, Friday I was in the valley and Saturday I was in the city.

Jenn was getting a tattoo and let me come along for fun. 
First we had some business at the Indigo-Chapters store on Grannville and as we approached it, I paused to notice the tiny, older (?) woman sitting on the sidewalk, on a blanket, in her underwear, rocking back n forth, mumbling to herself. She could've been 70. She could've been 40. No idea. She was wrinkled, dirty, toothless and probably mentally unwell. 

I felt sick and sad for her. 
Why is she not in a care facility?
What help does she specifically need most? 
Where is her family?
Does she have no people?

How did she end up here?
"God. Help her."

We were in the books store for about 5 minutes and as we walked past her on our return trip to my truck, she was putting on a new pair of white ankle socks. Right beside her were some new runners. It was then that I saw she was wearing new, thick, plain, grey sweats. A sweatshirt and sweat pants. No logos. No fancy branding features. Just a some very comfy looking, slightly too large, body covering clothes to keep her covered and warm. Beside her was a shopping bag from a nearby sporting goods store. 

"Thank you," I whispered. "Bless."

I could've sat down and bawled. 
Thank you to the anonymous person who saw a need and bought her some clothes. 
Practical. Necessary. 

Oh that I would be attentive to the needs of those around me. 

We got to the light at the corner and saw a woman in a wheel chair. She was missing one leg, from the knee down. And her other leg had a mangled foot. Her face, neck and arms were all scarred from severe burns. 

Jenn looked at me. "Some people have such hard lives..."

How did it come to pass that I have this good, good life, while others have to suffer so?

"O God. Protect these street people. Hold them close. Enable them to accept help. Give the care workers  in this area extra measures of compassion and love. Provide them with resources and patience."

We wandered around, noticing how Autumn was making it's presence known ...

And then it was time...

Forms to sign:

And a final consultation:

Checking for size and placement. (Above)
Shaving non-existent hairs from the tattoo area. (Below)

Placing the transfer outline:

Outline in place on her arm. 
Jenn in place on the bench.

The tattoo artist is a sweet gal who has had half of her jaw removed due to cancer on her face when she was 6 as a result of Chernobyl. She's been tattooing for ten years but is a trained make-up artist hoping to get into the industry in Vancouver. She's here from Italy, with her boyfriend, waiting to get sponsored/or a work visa... While she waits, she's a business student and a part time tattoo artist. 

Six hours later, the outlining was done:


Tomorrow it's back to work. 

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Beaches, valleys and cities.
2. Friends, family, strangers.
3. Time alone, gatherings, one-on-one dates. 


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