It's a week I'm glad to see over. It was a heavy week; feeling like a hamster in a wheel, racing to get nowhere. Nothing really accomplished; getting out of it sweaty and exhausted, same place I started. But it's the way it goes.
I'm tired (as usual when I post) and stink of work day and cigarette smoke. I spent the late evening with neighbours of ours, drinking black tea with too much sugar, wreathed in smoke from handrolled cigarettes.
The neighbours; he's from Quebec, she's Cree, from Saskatchewan. I am more comfortable with them than with people my own age. He translated French recipes for me and we discussed WWII and his years in the Canadian airforce in the 1950's. I think the most fulfilling part of spending time with them is I know they like me; they call me "girl", send me off with gifts, invite me back. And that sure is something these days. Maybe I'm jaded, but my faith in people of my generation dwindles. People are so involved, so engaged, but there's so little community: They already have friends, church, committments. It seems there's little room or time to get to know another person or extend oneself. And it's rare that I can tell if someone genuinely wants my company or not.
So it's a strange mixture of feelings I sit here stewing in. Frustration, satisfaction, gratitude, disappointment, peace, uncertainty. Like something's healing. Like I want to lash out.
I feel frustrated with my faith. I feel frustrated with my hang ups. I wonder if I'll ever be in a social structure of believers; of people who can be real and help each other grow. I sometimes miss old friendships, however unhealthy. But I'm alien to the old; yet don't fit the new. Clumsy limbo. Awkward participant.
But I guess wherever this is going, I feel the molding. I can see that I need time; time to come out of the narcotic haze. Time to see my real personality cut loose. Time to be formed in the shape I have been rebelling against for so long. Time to let ingested untruths seep away. Time for Martin and I to see to each other's core, to find in each other more wholeness and blessing than we thought earthly possible.
"I know that everything God does will endure for ever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him."
"Behold, it was for my welfarethat I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back."
Ah, vacation. Tranquil, blessed, fleeting. Over all too quickly. I fully intended to write about Sweden and our time there (it's the best way to remember) but really, I've been too relaxed to feel like doing so. But here I am. Martin - he's one hour into his graveyard shift. I've got good, raw tunes going and moccasins to keep my feet warm.
Our travels left me both satisfied and strangely empty. It was a near-perfect respite. I had a lovely sense of familiarity in Martin's parents home; happy, at ease, feeling welcome and appreciated. His dad - a merry, well-read, warm-hearted man. His mom - smart, hard-working, the ultimate hostess. She has filled my daydreams with vanilla pastries, Swedish strawberries, home-baked bread, buttery cheeses, cream sauces, gooey carrot cake, rhubarb soup and pie, oh my. I never did weigh myself upon my return home. Why spoil it all? It was a food-lovers paradise. That's all I should say on that particular subject, or I shall weep over my keyboard.
There's so much I could say, and it all falls flat on the screen. I was sad to go. It seemed like we were leaving many good things behind... I felt sad and impotent, feeling Martin's heartache as he said goodbye to his nieces and nephews. He said they would remember less of him with the passage of time, and I had to work hard to hold back the tears. I fear that as well - but I hope it won't be so.
What I enjoyed most, in no particular order:
- Our Swedish wedding celebration, basking in the support Martin's family and friends
- Swimming and sunbathing with Martin at a lovely, calm lake
- Eating a whole bowl of wild blueberries with a spoon
- Blowing bubbles with the kids - I was strange but cool with the ability to make giant bubbles
- Sitting in Martin's parent's beautiful backyard arbour
- The crystal clear pure silence
- Receiving welcoming hugs - warm, good, real hugs
- Mocking stupid American movies with Martin on the plane
- The wood floors and artistic window sills
- Pastries at every meal
- Going "mining" with our parents in a very dark, cold mine
- The curious, blushing looks of Martin's nephews
- Standing at the rail of a ferry in the fresh, clean wind
- The cathedral in Uppsala
- Sharing a basket of fresh strawberries in the sun
- Understanding far more Swedish than I ever expected
- Beating Martin soundly at minigolf
- Soft beds, feather pillows, heavenly-smelling laundry soap
- Martin's nephew teaching me to count to 10 in Svenska
- Soaking in the fact I now have another fun, loving family
- The medival churches and climbing the tower of one
- Taking a little boat slowly across a sunset lake
Now, I must commence my study of Swedish with real fervour, and I must convince Martin to speak more around the home so my mouth can become bilingual. I've mastered "Can you pass the dessert, " and now I must move onto other basics.
Hm. Still relaxed. Still sleepy. Methinks I will go find my book where I left it and burrow under a quilt. Adjö!