Something happened yesterday, quite unexpected, and initially very upsetting. Maybe it still is; but I’m trying to process it in an open-minded way, rather than accept it as simply disastrous news and let it get me all down and discouraged.
An update. As of today, the news I got isn’t as bad as I thought it was yesterday when I got the mail, and then when I made a phone call to a government office that seemed to confirm a “worst case scenario.” But another phone call to the same office this morning, and a conversation with a different “agent” put it in a much better light.
And there I was yesterday in full panic mode, desperately trying to figure out how to find the bright side: maybe it was a message, someone or something trying to tell me, you really have to re-think what you’re doing.
And I did. But surely, I told myself, leaving here is not an option. Yes, I know it may be a crazy dream. There’s so much to do, and I’m starting to feel my age, and questioning if I have the wherewithal to do right by this special place, one of the last of the old Hope Ness farms to survive Dow Chemical’s land acquisitions 50-plus years ago.
I take the “No Exit” sign personally where Cathedral Drive begins. This is it; this is where I’m supposed to make my last stand. This is where I’m supposed to live, to cherish and protect for the sake of my family for their future use.
Two of my girls were born more or less around the corner. They used to visit here when Wilma and Cliff were still alive. Years later, the first time Kathy came for a visit she felt “at home.” So did her husband Scott who was born and raised in rural northern Ontario and felt physically and spiritually refreshed after just a couple of days here, away from the big city.
I want to see my little grandson Jacob have plenty of quality time here in the midst of this natural beauty; granddaughters, Asia and Allie, too, and other members of my large, extended family – daughters, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren. What a gift this place is to them, to be able to experience life “at the farm” in all sorts of wonderful ways they might make of it.
This is not something I can just walk away from. (I thought yesterday I couldn’t drive away from it, even if that’s what I wanted to do. Suffice it to say the letter in the mail was about my driver’s licence.)
I just finished reading a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian who became involved in the failed Second World War plot to assassinate Hitler. He was executed shortly before the war ended.
Bonhoeffer often said it was important for people of faith to hear what God was trying to tell them. I don’t know that I’ve got Bonhoeffer’s kind of faith, but I have come to believe there is a great spirit, a creator that wants us to do good on its behalf in the living world it has created and re-affirms every time a bird sings or a blade of grass emerges.
Bonhoeffer called that “discipleship” and he knew “the cost” could be his life when he put on that mantle. Has there ever been a time more in need of disciples? One way or another we are called to discipleship, you and I.
For goodness sake, I live on Cathedral Drive, in Hope Ness, beside the Hope Bay Forest. Read the signs, Phil.
“Have I been with you so long, Philip, and still you do not know me.”
I think I mentioned in an earlier post, Saving Hemingway’s Life, that I firmly believe I had at least two guardian angels when I hitch-hiked across the States in the summer of 1961 when I was 18. They wore the mask of good people I met along the way who took me under their wing for a while, and probably saved my life more than once. I suppose you either believe in that sort of thing, or you don’t.
I thought what I found yesterday morning when I opened that letter was bound to be life-changing. And then I got myself into a space where I was thinking the apparent bad news was a gift, after all.
And that above all remains, no matter how it works out one way or another with the licence, or not.