Wednesday, December 28, 2011

back in BC 2011

Here I am, back in my hometown for the holidays. Since I grew up in two places, I'm not sure which I'm supposed to refer to as my hometown, but I feel as though Maple Ridge is more hometown than Coquitlam, so I'll stick with that.

I came into town to have my camera checked out at Photo Express and now I'm sitting in the library, catching up with friends and family through email. At first I thought I wasn't going to have any internet access while staying at Nanna's, but Mami lent me her laptop and Nanna asked the neighbour for the WiFi password and so thankfully I can check emails from home - but that was only as of this morning and I had already planned to come into town. Nanna is at Poppa's care home, helping as the residents play Bingo this afternoon. So here I sit, waiting for Nanna to be finished.

I'll be meeting Nanna at Zellers and then we'll drive to the post office to ship off the last of my worldly possessions. For the last two days I have emptied the crawl space under Nanna's house that was FILLED with my stuff, so that I could go through it and decide what to keep and what to give away. I had about a dozen boxes and ended up with only three. I basically took the first 22 years of my life and in two days, condensed it down to three boxes (and a couple stragglers: two board games, two handmade pillows and a small box for my IKEA coffee table that wouldn't fit into the boxes, no matter how hard I tried. It's weird to think of how much we accumulate over the years and what really matters in the end. Some of the treasured items I found were old diaries, photographs, a book of poems I've written (including one I wrote about Papi back in 2002) and a couple hundred letters and notes from friends and family, dating back to the mid 1990's. I have absolutely no clue where I will put everything once I'm back in Hamilton - maybe I'll need to sort through stuff there too.

Back in high school I had an email address that was "pencil_address@..." and the reason for that email address was that a missionary had said that they always write their address in pencil, because God could call them away at any time. I have always felt the call to missions, back when my parents sponsored David George through World Vision in the early 90's, I knew I wanted to go to Haiti to meet my sponsored brother and to help others. Growing up I was never a stranger to poverty - Vancouver's east-end was a target for mission trips, we lived in low income housing and my brother spent some time on the streets, I've always felt called to help those less fortunate, something that was instilled and cultivated by my compassionate parents. As I packed up my items I couldn't help but remember back to a time when I said to God "I have written my address in pencil, wherever you want me, I will go". I find it interesting that about a decade later how much of my focus has shifted to worldly possessions. I still have a strong pull to help others and to give stuff away, there are few material things (in the eyes of the world) that I would have trouble parting with, and yet ... I still feel bogged down by all my belongings. What if God suddenly called me to leave it all behind? I think of the different people Jesus called in the NT and how many had excuses (selling property, burying the dead, getting married, etc.) Am I willing to let it all go at any cost?

It's just about time to meet Nanna ... I have much to think about.

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