The Work and Rhythm of Life

I come from a family that are quick to make decisions and effortlessly shift into accomplishing projects of all sizes. It is what I have grown up with, what I know, what I observe in my siblings and those immediately around, and it is what I have observed in my extended family on both my parents sides.

Last summer I took a road trip with my folks to Minnesota where my Mom grew up. We hung out with aunts and uncles and cousins for more than a week and as we observed the many projects and happenings currently happening there — petting zoo with myriads of animals open to the public, created-from-scratch mini train pulled by a small tractor, gardening and green houses, house under construction, and more, I was reminded, “Ah, the speed at which CCIM is moving is just the way this family does things!”

It was good to see (sometimes I feel like a bit of a freak).

Some five years ago now, the home where my parents and my sister and brother-in-law live had my folks upstairs and my sister and her family on the middle level. My folks were growing older and their friends were growing older and it was getting harder and harder to have these lovely elderly people climbing the great flight of stairs to get to their place.

And so a conversation ensued, one day so I’m told (I was not there), between my sister and my dad. They figured that a switch was in order. My parents could move to the middle level and my sister and her family could move to the top floor. The idea became an immediate ah-ha! and work set in.

I heard about this some four days later and by that time the construction i.e. renovation, had begun. That one conversation catapulted my folks and my sister into a 2 year renovation project. This, is how it works in my family. It is hilarious and not one bit strange.

When I was younger and a stay-at-home mom I created many things. Round-the-world quilts to hang on the walls and to give as gifts, bookshelves made out of oak plywood crafted in the basement shop with a baby on my back, a corner nook sitting space (there is still wood somewhere left from that), a compost bin made from treated wood that twenty years later is still out back and holding up quite well.  The list could go on and on.

I’d get an idea, next day I’d head to the nearest lumber yard (as we used to call them) and within a few hours, a couple days at most, there would be some other creation added to home or yard. We’ve all had variations of gardens, herb gardens, vegetables, perennial flower beds. There were crafts and painting coming out at all corners.

Boats are still being formed, boats given fresh fixings, paddle boards created, and things my nephew and his dad have made that I don’t even know the names for, catapults and such that sling rocks far into the adjoining field. Just like my uncles in the mid-west, cannons that throw watermelons and pumpkins – great fun and nothing out of the ordinary.

The decorating and painting, of which I am no longer enticed to participate in thank god, would take hold one day and be done the next. Fast, is a word that we all know intimately well. It is as though we don’t know how to do anything slowly.

And of course, fast doesn’t feel fast it feels normal. Until others look in on what we are doing and make mention, and then we sheepishly go, ‘oh yeah’ guess that was kinda fast. We get an idea, and before you can say ‘yes lets do it’ it is done. Well, mostly, you know what I mean. And so, the rate of movement and development at CCIM (Capturing Courage International Ministries for those new to me) is nothing very out of the ordinary at all!

And I need to remind myself of this every so often. Two folks recently watching the work of Capturing Courage have both commented on the speed of things. And to me it feels slower than the years prior (but I know it is not).

I write this on the deck at the back of the house. The sun is filtering through the trees and I’m enjoying a slow start to this day. And I realize that slowness grounds me in the midst of the break-neck speed of CCIM. I am well fashioned for this work in all ways and I remain grounded with little pockets of slow. I start my days with slow (slow in context of great speed) and I end my days with slow.

Years ago when I was homeschooling and tutoring many children I would regularly take one or two tea breaks every day sitting on the front steps of my home. Just fifteen minutes of relative silence, a bit of fresh air, good tea and warm cup in my hands and belly, and I was refreshed and ready to carry on. I’ve never been very good at non-stop action, never have been.

I have to stop when I am tired and in this I’ve learned to work hard and to rest hard. Little bits of nothing and I’m good to go. At seemingly break-neck speed. It is this interesting mix of go, go, go, stop. It’s a rhythm I enjoy and seem to thrive on.

My goals for the summer, in addition to the myriad of work and such that must be accomplished, are:

  • do a few hikes
  • set up my tent and sleep in it in the back yard
  • go sailing with my brother
  • walk the rocks from white rock beach to crescent beach
  • spend a week-plus on the island
  • hang at the beach sunning and swimming, at least one day this summer
  • head downtown a few days to meander
  • walk the sea-wall around Stanley Park
  • visit my friend on the Sunshine Coast
  • go swimming with another friend
  • go walking as much as possible
  • go for a few bike rides
  • a day trip to Victoria, always a lovely thing to do
  • get to the firework shows that happen every summer here in Vancouver

I’m a firm believer in working hard and resting hard. Adding in more play is something I’m committed to and there is nothing like being in Vancouver for the summer to help make this happen.

Well, that is my rambling for the day, just couldn’t bring myself to write about congregational health today! What are your plans for the summer and how do you rest in the midst of accomplishing and working?

Published by

Cyndy Lavoie

“Then she was on the road. She preached with joyful urgency that life could be radically different; right and left she sent the demons packing; she brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits.” Mark 6:12-13 The Message

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