Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bright Blue September Skies

This weekend was just what the doctor ordered. I slept plenty; I enjoyed the company of good humans; I had not a care in the world.

Yes, the virus is still affecting me. But I can be happy and tired at the same time. I'm putting my foot down. I refuse to let it define how I see my life.

Saturday, I went on a Prayer Walk. I joined other members of my church for an hour-long stroll, during which we prayed together for the people who live along our route.

This was the first time I've been on a Prayer Walk. In fact, I've only been to one prayer meeting in the past year of church membership. I'm pretty shy about praying out loud in front of other people.

But I really wanted to participate. There was a shooting recently just two blocks from my home. I've read that communities that are prayed for regularly by prayer walkers actually have measurably reduced levels of crime. Some churches even cooperate with local police authorities to find out which areas need prayer the most. If I have an opportunity to help, I need to step up and take it.

The weather was, if you'll excuse the pun, heavenly. Being up early on the weekend, strolling in the fresh air under bright blue September skies, with friends, was a treat. And when we had finished our walks, we gathered back at the church for a BBQ. Flat burgers, rippled potato chips, neon pink cream soda, emeralds of relish. The sharp smell of yellow mustard. Crumbly chocolate chip cookies on paper plates. We ran out of burgers, but everyone was offered seconds of cookies.


On Sunday I celebrated a special wedding anniversary of my father and step-mum.

The family split up into several vehicles so that the drivers could accommodate the non-drivers and the carless. I was assigned to ride with my father and grandmother (his mother). I settled into the back seat and we headed out onto the highway to Ancaster, an hour away from Toronto.

To me, hanging out in the back seat of a car, just looking out the window, is a pleasant, relaxing experience. I don't have to do anything, just be. It's especially nice when the front seats are occupied by people I love, who are having a conversation that's interesting to listen in on, with no obligation for me to participate or keep silent. One week from today I'll be turning 37, but this afternoon I may as well have been ten years old, feeling safe in the care of two trusted parental figures.

Like I've always done since I was a kid, I revelled in the wind from the open window blowing on my face. I watched clouds drifting in the sunny sky, and admired the endless banks of wildflowers in brilliant shades of yellow and violet that lined the highway. Trees turned up the silver undersides of their leaves in the breeze. I could have happily sat back and let myself be driven around all day.

We did eventually arrive at a very special location, to enjoy a very special brunch buffet. I would go on about the food, but then you'd all be compelled to drive to Ancaster for brunch next Sunday, and some of you live so far away that it might inconvenience you quite a lot. I'll just say that it was lovely and decadent, and leave it there.

I sat across from my sister, which gave us a chance to catch up on this and that. It had been far too long since I saw her last. Other family members who I don't often see were also there. Many heartfelt hugs were shared. I got tipsy on champagne with orange juice* and talked and talked and talked.

*Just one glass. It doesn't take much booze to make me loquacious.


As for the virus... My biggest challenge right now is getting enough sleep. Even when I go to bed very early, I can't seem to get up when my alarm clock goes off. I'll sleep late and then end up rushing and struggling to get ready on time. This week I have perfected the art of getting dressed for work in between bites of oatmeal. I tried to figure out a way for me to brush my teeth with one hand and put my contact lenses in with the other, but the thought of getting toothpaste in my eye ix-nayed that plan.

In any case, if that's my worst complaint, I'm still ten times better off than I have been for most of the last six weeks. Maybe it's even good for me, to get shaken up out of my admittedly rigid morning routine, to be forced to ad lib a little. Anyway, I figured out why they call it Swine Flu. It's a real pig, gobbling energy and time.

But enough of that. This weekend was a shining gem, and that's what I want to remember.


DarcsFalcon said...

I'm so glad you had a great weekend and are feeling better. That's a major yay. :)

Getting back into your life, your church, your family - this was truly a gem for you.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great weekend, and a happy lifting of the weight of illness finally coming around.

The prayer walk sounds interesting too. :)

Glad to know you're feeling better.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great weekend, and a happy lifting of the weight of illness finally coming around.

The prayer walk sounds interesting too. :)

Glad to know you're feeling better.

Anonymous said...

OI! Sorry for the double post. :(

LL Cool Joe said...

We call Champagne with Orange juice Bucks Fizz. Don't you?

The prayer walk sounds like a wonderful idea, I'm not sure our church has ever done that. I'm far too shy to pray out loud!

Sounds like you had a perfect weekend, and I'm pleased. Mine was totally knackering. The joy of having kids and a hyperactive partner.

wigsf said...

Good to hear, good to hear.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

So glad you are feeling a bit better and having a good time riding in cars :)

I do believe I'll have to make a trip out for food in and around Toronto.

Kate said...

I remember when I was recovering from meningitis. It was a long, long haul. I just had to make my world smaller for a bit, make definite choices on what things I really and truly wanted to do and learn more about being satisfied with the quietness of being alone.

I learned alot about myself during that time. What was really important to me and what was just filler. Because the filler? It had to go.

Sparkling Red said...

DarcsFalcon: "Major yay" - I like that! I might be shaking the cheerleader pom-poms at bit hard at this point, overcompensating for the bad feelings that are still lurking around, but the good feelings are going to win. I have decided.

darcknyt: Thanks! I liked the prayer walk experience. I think we could do better if we did it more often and kind of "got the hang of it" more, as with any group activity. But certainly it can't do any harm.

LL Cool Joe: I've only heard champagne and orange juice referred to as a "Mimosa", although I have no idea where that name comes from. Quite different-sounding than Bucks Fizz. That's a funny one.

wigsf: :-)

Ron: You SO would have loved that buffet. I'm only sad that my limited stomach size restricted the types of food I could try. And the cupcakes were iced with cream cheese so I couldn't have those. :-( Life is so tough.

Kate: I totally get what you're saying. I have been feeling that: the need to pare down and prioritize. There's a hidden blessing there, in being slowed down beyond my control. I haven't directly blogged about it because it's hard to put into words, but I do feel quite different than usual.

Scarlet said...

Sounds like the prayer walk was not only good for the people you prayed for, but you as well. I'm glad you're getting your energy back!

Btw, I checked out the link and that brunch sounds fantastic! I haven't had Eggs Benedict in ages and I bet there's is awesome.

Yay, you'll be celebrating a birthday soon! Hope you have fun doing something you enjoy!!

powdergirl said...

Your church BBQ sounds like our eveyday at the beach. Its so great to dine out doors on a beautiful day!

Your car ride reminds me of when my parents used to take me for a drive to put me to sleep. Right up till I was 12 years old! Now I make for a nervous passenger though, very few people can entice me into the back seat driver position. I'm chronically clutching at the handles thinking we're going to crash. So thats not very relaxing anymore I guess...

G said...

Sounds like you had a sensational weekend.

I'm sure that nasty old bug will soon go away and you'll be back to your normal self again.

NicoleB said...

Sounds like a good weekend indeed :)

Take care and rest when your body tells you too.
Best wishes!

Sparkling Red said...

Scarlet: I didn't have room to try the eggs benedict, but I bet they were perfect, like everything else.

powdergirl: The smells and tastes of summer BBQ are so evocative to me! I love the smell of french fries with vinegar and hot ketchup, not because I want to eat them but because it reminds me of fun times.

G: The bug is standing at the door with its bags packed, pleading for another chance, but I'm having none of it.

Nicole: Thanks! I'm getting lots of sleep, around 9 hours per night, and I'm doing pretty well on that.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

Your weekend sounds lovely. And I love that you looked at seeing your sister as an opportunity to catch up with her versus reason to dwell on why you might not have been connected over the past few years.

San said...

Spark, you sound really good. I love the idea of a prayer walk and that it can decrease violence in the neighborhood. That's inspiring!

Your description of your back seat ride reminded me of a a lovely experience I had Sunday. My husband and I rode the train to Albuquerque, holding hands and watching the scenery roll by. So relaxing. And fun.

Jenski said...

Glad you're finding a way to live around the flu and its aftermath!