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Remember Me

A 6303 Word Travelogue

The Thursday morning before the Friday we leave for a week away in Alberta, Canada the pest control guy knocks on our door and informs us that there is water leaking from the foundation of the house. A pipe is broken and water is pouring out so I quickly call the home warranty people who dispatch a plumber immediately who tells us that according to paragraph c, section 14, part a, sub paragraph blah blah blah of our warranty, the $575.00 repair will not be covered. The plumber is willing to come back on Friday to do the work which I initially agree to have him do. I subsequently call one of my church planter friends who is also a handyman and he recommends a guy who comes out and explains what went wrong, why, and that it will only cost $200.00 to repair. He also can do the work the next day so I call the first guy and cancel him. Meanwhile, we are busy packing, making sure we have our passports, and setting our alarm clocks for a 4:00am wake up to catch our early morning flight. We slept fitfully as we always do before what will be a long, stressful travel day.

I get up before the alarm goes off and eat some leftover Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes for breakfast. Not bad. We dress to travel, throw luggage in the trunk of the Buick and head for the airport. We make good time and are TSA prescreened so we sail through the lines. Sweet.

The purpose of the trip is twofold. One is that I was asked to preach the installation service of my friend, Derek, as he becomes the pastor of the River Park Church in Calgary. ‘Installation Service’ is such an odd sounding phrase. I always think of a cable technician putting in a new cable box. Anyway, I was excited to preach and to bless my friend. The second reason was for Kathy and I to get away. Ministry is tiring, as is wound care nursing, and it is good to take a break from our labors on occasion.

At some point I remember I forgot to pack a jacket. I hate it when that happens. I’m headed for a place where it snowed two weeks before and all I have is short sleeved shirts in my suitcase. Not even a sweater or pullover. I ruminate on how differently I travel from how my parents and grandparents traveled. I’m flying to San Francisco and then on to Calgary wearing flip flops, jeans, and a t-shirt. Flip flops. Not sturdy shoes with good soles that protect my feet, just simple beach wear that I can easily kick off as I go through an airport screening process. Instead of a wad of money secured in a wallet, I have a debit and credit card and maybe fifteen dollars cash. I have no concerns about converting my money into Canadian dollars. Visa and MasterCard will take care of that for me. Instead of long days of driving followed by restless nights in a cheap motel or the couch of some friend or distant relative, I’ll spend five or six hours in an airline seat and be in Calgary before dinner. I have a smart phone and an iPad and GPS in the rental car I booked online. No poring over and refolding paper maps for me. Just tap in an address and let the nice lady in electron universe give me turn by turn driving instructions. Grandpa and Grandma would marvel at the power that slips into my shirt pocket.

We board our United flight. We are in the very back row next to the bathrooms. Yuck. I don’t normally fly on United because they charge for everything. Bags, seats near the front of the plane, exit row seats, snacks. Everything. They normally don’t let you move to better seats even when the plane is half empty like almost every other airline does. I console myself with remembering how inexpensive the seats were when I booked them back in July. I remind Kathy of the deal I got and she suggests that I usually get better seats, so I tell her that United charges $119 for the better seats and she agrees we should just live with our back row seats. The kind hearted flight attendant apparently overheard my explanation to her and invited us to the front row where I could stretch out my legs into first class. It was awesome. Maybe it’s time to give United a second chance.

We had a three hour layover in San Francisco. We ate brunch and read and goofed off before piling into the plane that would take us across the border to Calgary. Again, we were in the very back row. Only this time we were surrounded by harried moms with broods of small, crying or obnoxious children. I always feel sorry for those traveling with small children. I remember those days when you couldn’t even have a nice, quiet restaurant dinner without one or both of the kids raising some kind of ruckus. I settle in as much as is possible in an airline seat designed to torment me and smile forgivingly at the mother of the screaming kid. There is no invitation to the front row seats this time, but who cares. We are off to Canada!

When we arrive 8,753 Canadians in various uniforms welcome us. These kindly, smiling people stand everywhere pointing directions, answering questions, and apologizing for the construction. They are all very nice. It made me want to be nicer. Kathy had brought a big bag of walnuts in her carry on to snack on during our week away and there was a paragraph on the form we had to fill out that told us all the things we might have brought along with us that we weren’t allowed to and among the many things listed as no no’s were nuts so she was pretty upset that Canada would deny her a favorite snack that we had just driven all the way to Fort Bowie a few weeks before to get. She hadn’t marked either yes or no on the box intending to beg mercy from the nice customs man. He was indeed nice and told her she could enjoy the walnuts and even checked the box for her. We snared our luggage and headed for the car rental place. I’ve rented from Enterprise Rentals often enough that they have all my information in their file and so I was a little disappointed with them that they didn’t try to up sell me their waste of money insurance because it said on their screen that I always refuse that coverage. The available cars were not equipped with GPS so they gave us a Garmin and upgraded me to a bigger car so that was nice of them. We threw the luggage in the trunk and spent twenty minutes trying to figure out how everything in the car worked. On Dad’s ’51 Ford Coupe there was a switch for the lights, a switch for the windshield wipers, and air conditioning consisted of rolling down four windows and driving really fast. We rode cross country several times in that old car. It’s a bit more complicated now. Buttons, switches, lights, buzzers, mirrors, screens, satellite interactions, and lots of other fun things.

We put the address of the house in Canmore where we would be staying into the Garmin and listened to the nice lady begin to give us directions. Turn here. Proceed there. Move to the right lane. We don’t need no stinking map. We’ve got a Garmin. Well, we had one until it could no longer ‘acquire satellite’. Then its screen turned black. Then we were sitting on the side of the road wondering where to go. Finally I turned on my phone and started using up precious minutes I had prepurchased in Tucson from the nice kid at the AT&T store on using the Google Maps app. I hated to do it but the Garmin was a useless paperweight. A paperweight in an electronic world. We eventually made it to Canmore. It is fun hurtling down the highway at 110, until you realize you are not going 110 miles per hour, but only kilometers. Kathy is not the world’s greatest navigator, but she did point out the speed limit sign in a construction zone and then said, “You can only go 50 kilograms here.” Apparently we still need work on our metric system skills…

The maps app on my iPhone got us to a house, but it wasn’t the right house. We drove around in circles and loops looking for the right street and finally stopped and asked a nice couple out walking their dog if they could help. They told us to go to the bottom of the hill and turn right and go two streets and turn right again and then turn left and blah, blah, blah. We felt as though we did a good job following their instructions, but we still couldn’t find the place and I might’ve done something wrong because we eventually saw them again on a different street and they waved us down and laughed at us in a polite Canadian way and told us we had turned too early and gave us some more instructions and we finally found the house we were supposed to stay at. It was exhilarating to have been lost and to have finally found our way.

This house belongs to friends of friends and they were amazingly generously allowing us to use it for a week. This was not just a house. It was a mansion. The living room was dominated by a fifty foot high window with a killer view of the snow capped mountains and the bright lights of the town below that was simply stunning. There were multiple bedrooms with bathrooms that included giant Jacuzzi tubs and monstrous walk in showers that sprayed water at you from every conceivable direction. In the basement there was a theatre with seating for twenty people as well as a pool table and various and sundry other games. It was an awesome house, unlike anything we’ve ever even been in, let alone had the run of all to ourselves for a week. There were lots of typed out instructions on how to operate everything and it took us a bit to figure out how to do simple things like turn on lights and put up the blinds on the fifty foot window so that we could enjoy the view.

We were hungry and drove down the street to a little pizza place we’d passed numerous times on our journey and ordered two pizzas figuring we’d have some for breakfast or to snack on later in the week. There was a little convenience market next to the pizza place so we bought some snacks and Diet Pepsi, and, most importantly, Dutch Brothers potato chips. Dutch people know how to do potatoes and I just had to honor my heritage. We brought the leftovers and supplies back to our digs, explored the house a bit more, unpacked necessities, and picked where we would sleep. It was good to fall into bed after a long travel day.

We got up late on Saturday and ate leftover pizza for breakfast. I love cold pizza for breakfast. We explored the house some more and marveled at the beautiful view. It was such a sweet gift to us. I took a shower in the huge walk in shower with all the marvelous buttons that sprayed water at me from countless directions. It was then I discovered I’d forgotten to put a new blade in my razor. One of the joys of being ADD is that when you are packing for a trip you start to replace a razor blade and as you head for the drawer with the replacement blades you notice a squirrel… So I had a razor handle, but no blade. And no jacket, either.

We went out to the car and drove to Banff. The Garmin suddenly started working again so life got a bit less complicated. We drove around, walked by the river, enjoyed the waterfall and stopped for lunch at Tooloulous. The shrimp and grits were excellent. A large buck hoofed his way down some stairs and ambled across the road in front of us. Beautiful! We drove up to the Banff Lodge where many years ago we had stayed for a church planting conference and we reminisced about those good times. Those were simpler, quieter times. Now Banff is a giant tourist Mecca and there are people everywhere. Huge crowds of mostly Asian and Indian people crowd every nook and cranny of the town. We missed the slow pace of our long ago visit and longed for a return to those peaceful times. We spent a lot of time in some lovely flower gardens and found a nice bench to sit on and take in the beauty of God’s creation. We might be getting old, but sometimes I much prefer just sitting and looking at what God has made over running around doing stuff. Eventually we headed back into the busyness and walked the streets avoiding fellow pedestrians and their ever present selfie sticks. We have created a generation of people enthralled, not so much with the experience of the moment, but with recording a bit of it in the background of a photograph of self, poised front and center. Eventually we headed back to Canmore and took a nap. Late in the evening we ordered some pasta delivered to the house. It wasn’t very good.

I stayed up late Saturday and worried my sermon. It’s a different place and a different culture and there are different expectations and I try to simply ground myself in the reality that God’s word speaks all the time everywhere to everybody and is not dependent on me being brilliant or wise or likable. Still, I go through my notes and recall my illustrations and let the music of the words play in my head. I doze fitfully and am up early to pray. I’m hoping the Garmin gets us to the church on time. I pray about that. We down some more pizza for breakfast and head back to Calgary. We get there an hour and a half early and make acquaintance with the janitor who is very nice and gets us some ice water. My friend, Derek, shows up and he gives me a tour of the church and we quiet ourselves in his nice office. Eventually we walk through what is expected of me and then sit with the elders to pray. As we pray, everything calms way down and I feel the peace of the Spirit settle on me. Several people greet me and one of the sound guys mics me up. He is very thorough and even tapes down the ear piece. He promises me it is non-allergenic medical tape and I tell him I’m allergic to non-allergenic medical tape and he thinks I’m kidding, but I’m not, so he tapes it to my hair and shirt. He tries to explain how to turn the mic on and off and I tell him I’ve done it thousands of times and then he frowns as I stick the receiver in my pocket mumbling something about a belt clip. He certainly gets high marks for thoroughness.

Kathy and I sit at the front of the sanctuary and I realize I don’t know much contemporary praise music. They have five or six musicians and a plethora of singers and it is good and pleasant to worship with God’s people even if I don’t really know the songs. And then suddenly it is time to preach. Afterwards people come forward to give Derek various charges and instructions and blessings, and then family and friends and elders and visiting pastors and anyone else so inclined come forward and lay hands on him and I invite the congregation to stretch their hands forward while I pray a blessing over him and his wife. I get a bit choked up as I realize how much I’ll miss him and how beautiful it is for him to take on the pastoral leadership of River Park Church. I pray it will be a rich experience for all.

After the service the church celebrates with an all church ice cream social. Ice cream socials are the best. We should all have more of them. I didn’t eat much ice cream because of blood sugar issues, and I’m sure all the dairy free and lactose intolerant folks have issues, but ice cream socials are, well, very social, and I had a great time meeting nice Canadian folks and hearing stories and reconnecting with a few folks who I’d met before. Then Derek’s extended family and Kathy and I filed down to a post dessert lunch. I was expecting ham buns and potato salad in the Dutch tradition, but the ham buns turned out to be Vietnamese pork and chicken sandwiches which were awesome and very spicy. We chatted and reminisced and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Derek’s wife, Shirley, and her sister are both nurses so they and Kathy were soon chatting away about things that would ordinarily spoil an appetite. Never sit with a bunch of nurses over lunch.

At 2:30pm we went into the gym and had another brief prayer and praise service where forty or fifty visitors from other churches gathered to sing and pray and welcome Derek and his family to the community. Once again we laid hands on him and Shirley. It all seemed wonderfully affirming. Then they had more snacks which was ridiculous since no one could eat that much food. I did take a nibble of rhubarb ice cream. You read that right. Rhubarb ice cream. Who knew you could make rhubarb ice cream? Canadians are nice, but they might be a little weird. It was very tasty.

We spent the evening at Derek and Shirley’s house visiting with the families and being instructed on all the must sees and must dos in the area. Their extended family asked a million questions about Donald Trump, gun violence, Arizona temperatures (we all ran aground trying to convert Farenheit to Celcius), and my sermon as well as Canadian education standards, Vancouver Island, and the quirkiness of weather in Banff. Eventually we headed back to Canmore and a good sleep.

Monday morning Kathy opened the pizza box and said, “This pizza is beginning to look just like the loaves and the fishes or the widow’s oil. Everyday there’s more of it. I don’t know about you but I’m getting sick of it.” I didn’t want to be a grumbling Israelite, but I had to agree. I ate another piece and grabbed some cheese and crackers and Dutch Brothers potato chips and then we headed to Lake Louise. The last time we saw Lake Louise fifteen years ago it was frozen over and there were blizzard conditions so we were hoping it would be nicer this trip. It was! The water was clear and gorgeous and we enjoyed the views along with 43,000,253 other people all poking each other with selfie sticks. We went into the hotel and had an overpriced lunch of lamb korma and then started the trek back to Canmore with stop offs at Lake Moraine and various other side road trips. Everywhere was bitterly cold and I was longing for a nice warm jacket… which was hanging in our closet back in Tucson. Forgetfulness has a cost. It was raining off and on, as well, but the spectacular views made up for it all. Massive mountains covered with snow serve as backdrops for huge pine forests. Bright, beautiful flowers, floating clouds, gorgeous turquoise blue ponds and lakes, tumbling waterfalls, rushing streams and fast flowing rivers complete the landscape. Not a feather falls outside the purview of the Creator and it is so very rich to experience his mercy and grace to his creatures and his creation.

That evening I get a nasty-gram from AT&T informing me I’ve used up all my minutes. I shut down my phone and take a finance imposed Sabbatical from social media. Like any addiction, withdrawals are painful. No quick check of Yelp to see ratings on a restaurant. No perusing the internet for things to do. No Facebook updates or e-mail checks. No checking in with friends and colleagues. No quick texts or phone calls to Mom. How will the world get on without me and how will I get on without all the fast traveling electrons. Life is suddenly harder. Life means opening your mouth and engaging strangers. Life means reading a book instead of downloading news from the net. I still got to watch television, so it wasn’t a complete withdrawal, but it was fun to stop obsessing about drivel and open some creative outlets such as writing this drivel.

I was cold. I stopped at a hunter’s supply store thinking they might have some sort of poncho that would fit my giant body. The manager told me he had nothing that would help, but that I should go to the Canadian Tire store. I thought we might have miscommunicated so I asked him again about looking for a really big jacket and he assured my Canadian Tire sold large jackets. “Extra large jackets at a tire store?” I asked incredulously. He said to just check it out.

I walked into the giant and completely misnamed Canadian Tire store. They do sell tires in one tiny little corner of the store, but it can’t be more than one tenth of one percent of their business. It is like walking into a giant WalMart. I wandered around until we found someone who pointed out the clothing department and went over to that section. I asked the lady at the counter where I might find the biggest jacket in the store. She showed me a nice 3XL jacket that I could have made work, but it was really snug and the sleeves were very short. Besides, it was $200 which would have been only $150 after the exchange rate kicked in, but that was still a tough expense when I have a perfectly good jacket that fits me back home. I really need an extra tall, not just an extra big. The nice lady told me to hang out while she checked in the back. Minutes later she emerged with a 4XLT jacket! Unbelievable fit. Warm and lined and it even had a hood. All for $48 which meant I’d end up paying $36. I paid more than that for the short sleeved shirt I was wearing. I know the exchange rate is tough for Canadians and I feel bad about that, but it was a sweet deal that I couldn’t turn down. We kibbitz with the clerk for a while who gives us advice about restaurants to eat at and things we should see. Canadians are nice people. Who knew you could get an extra huge jacket in a tire store?

We decided to follow the clerk’s advice and have dinner at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. Truth be told it was a gourmet pizza place and Kathy and I couldn’t bear to eat any more pizza so we ordered pastas instead. My pasta came with elk sausage. We did not see any elk on the entire trip so maybe the nice Canadians have turned them all into sausage. It was delicious. The server was a fascinating young man who gave us other restaurant recommendations and shared his dream of starting his own restaurant. He wants to do barbecue since there is no barbecue joint in the area. He told us that many restaurants were closing down or limiting their hours because of the inability to get workers. Students had all left for university and so the few remaining workers had the pick of jobs. He suggested some places we might go for breakfast, but them admitted some might be closed for lack of help. If you want to make a little money waiting tables, I’m pretty sure you can get a job in Banff or Canmore. The problem will be trying to find a cheap place to live and a way to survive in an overpriced tourist town.

Tuesday was hang around Canmore day. We went to breakfast late, but the place we chose was closed due to lack of help. A nice lady noticed our predicament and suggested a Mexican food place a block away. We mentioned we were from Tucson so she quickly admitted it would probably not measure up. She stopped a friend who happened by and together they recommended another place, Chez Francois, which they thought would be unique. We walked the block to the Mexican place, but it was closed with a Help Wanted sign in the window. We then drove to the French place where we ordered something called breakfast poutine. French fries covered with gravy and cheese curds topped with back bacon and a couple of poached eggs. Very good, but not something you would want to eat regularly since it was extremely unhealthy. Still, it was very Canadian and very good.

We went for a walk, took naps, read books, wrote, and generally goofed off and enjoyed the house. I started and finished a brain dead novel, Jonathan Kellerman’s The Murderer’s Daughter, and took a long hot bath in one of the giant jacuzzi tubs. After another nap, we went to Gauchos, a Brazilian barbecue joint, where they keep bringing you racks of meat and slice off as much as you want. There was lots of variety of meat from chicken hearts to lamb to roast beef and a nice salad bar to fill in the spaces. We asked for unsweetened tea and the server scoffed at us identifying us immediately as Americans. She couldn’t imagine someone wanting unsweetened tea so we were about to settle for ice water when she told us she would brew up a pot of unsweetened tea just for us. I said, “I thought you hated it?”

She responded with, “Just because I think it’s disgusting doesn’t mean I don’t know how to make it!”

It was very good tea and the meal was a carnivore’s delight. I spent the evening reading more of All Joy and No Fun, the Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior which is a fascinating look at issues surrounding parenting. I think it is a must read for people trying to grasp the complexity of being a parent today. It makes me appreciate even more the childhood I experienced and the parents who raised me and to feel a bit sad for what parents face today.

Wednesday we rose early, gnoshed on more of the never ending pizza, and headed for the Columbia Ice Fields. It was pouring rain and freezing cold and made for some exhilarating moments as we traversed the highway. The sleet made even seeing the road ahead difficult. Then suddenly everything changed, cars skidded to a stop, and people jumped out to take pictures of soft, gently falling snow. It was so very beautiful and peaceful. We stopped for gas and a nice young man filled our tank for us and then refused a tip telling us it was his pleasure to serve us. Eventually we arrived at the ice fields and paid to be driven out on the glacier. It was an awe inspiring journey and the young woman driving the specially modified bus was a hoot. She was full of information and good humor. And some bad… “Why does moss grow on the north side of the evergreens? Because it takes a lichen to ’em.” At any rate we had fun walking on ice and I hardly shivered at all in my new hooded jacket. I’m convinced there is climate change that is human caused and I’m convinced that we can do some things to limit our footprint, but I’m also concerned about our arrogance that assumes we know how to fix things we’ve broken and are breaking. I also marvel at the power of the Creator who rules over all we see and know. It is humbling to sit and take in at all he simply speaks into being. I know I’m probably simplistic, but I’m pretty sure our best and brightest people are clueless when it comes to controlling the natural world around us. In the starkness of that frozen world I’m reminded again to put my hope in God, not humanity.

Back in Canmore, we have dinner at Tavern 1883. I order bison stew. It is recommended to me as ‘Canadian food’, but that might have just been a sales pitch. It was a huge portion and I take half of it back to the mansion so as to avoid eating more of the never ending pizza for breakfast. It is our last night in Canmore and we enjoy the moonrise and the beautiful view from our window.

On Thursday it is time to leave the house. We rise late and take long luxurious baths and just chat about our experiences. It has been so peaceful and beautiful. Having this amazing house to ourselves has been amazing. We hate to leave. I have booked a hotel room in Calgary Thursday night using a ‘free’ night I had earned because of numerous hotel stays. It will be our last night in Alberta. The trick to being a good guest is to leave the place better than you found it. In this case that is hard to do. We strip the bed per the request of the owners and bring the sheets and pillow cases to the laundry room along with the towels we used. We put all our trash and recyclables into bags and put them in the trunk of the car to drop into the containers at the end of the street. We run a load of dishes in an amazing dishwasher and return them to the places where we found them. We wipe down counters and sink tops, mop floors, and pack our bags. Kathy goes for one last walk and I write a thank you note to the lovely people who allowed us to use their home. I find myself tearing up with gratitude to God and his people for the good gift of hospitality. The gift of hospitality is a powerful gift.

We stop for a late lunch at Crazy Weed Restaurant. It is a great choice. The seafood korma is delicious and the atmosphere is fun and pleasant. The chef is an award winning chef who has traveled all over the world creating and perfecting her recipes. The server was the daughter of the chef’s best friend and it was good to hear the delight she took in having worked in the restaurant ‘since she was a kid’ which could not have been all that long ago. Her enthusiasm was contagious and it reminded me that I can often choose to be apologetic for my workplace instead of being effusive and thrilled about it. If I lived in Canmore, I’d eat at the Crazy Weed regularly.

Eventually we meandered our way to Calgary and found the downtown hotel we had booked. It was a beautiful place and we were given a corner suite. A bedroom, sitting room, kitchenette, and huge bathroom was all ours to enjoy. We had arranged to have dinner with Derek and Shirley and called to finalize those arrangements. I also connected with Pete who had let me know earlier that he was going to be in Calgary visiting his kids. We agreed to a late night beer after our dinner with our friends. Kathy went shopping in the hotel which is never good and came back with small packages the contents of which remain a mystery. We picked Derek up at the church and went to the restaurant where his wife joined us. It was pure pleasure hanging out with them. Alberta beef is tasty.

Derek is a good man. He is a good pastor. He has walked me through some tough times. I wish people knew how hard it is to be a pastor. I see the expectations that people have for pastors. No one could live up to those expectations. As he sets off in this new relationship it is easy to see the diverse hopes and dreams that members of the church have. Some see pastors as saviors, some as saints, some as professional caregivers, some as theological combatants, some as an employee who needs to be overseen and managed, some as the person who must lead, some as the person who needs to confront the sins of others, some as a lazy slob who only works one day a week. The list could go on and on. Comparisons also go on constantly. “She’s not a very good speaker.” “He’s no Bill Hybels.” “Our former pastor was much better with the kids.” “You should preach like Pastor Jim up the road, he attracts big crowds.” There are lots of expectations out there. The apostle Paul probably wouldn’t measure up. He was always hanging out with Gentiles and arguing with people. Jesus probably wouldn’t either. Constantly moving from place to place and always telling stories…

Connecting with people who participate on CRC Voices is always a joy. Pete happened to be in Calgary and he kindly came to a bar next door to the hotel Kathy and I were staying at. We both ordered a Heineken and slow sipped our way into the night. Pete’s work as an interim pastor fascinates me. His recognition and study of the deep traumas that affect people and that shape the church is even more fascinating. It corresponds so beautifully with the Village ‘hot seat’ model of deep discipleship. Calling out and naming the deep traumas of our lives and revealing the sinful choices we make out of the traumatic event is effective ministry in both individuals and institutions. Both the church and the individual are required to place trust and confidence in the goodness of God for there to be any sort of healing. Pete and I shared a bit of our own stories and our longings to be agents of healing. We wondered if there are patterns that can be recognized and addressed in advance that might limit the damage done out of trauma. We talked about demands and longings. Imagine me wanting my spouse to greet me at the door with loving arms when I arrive home from work and she doesn’t do it. I think it is something she should do and I am angry when she doesn’t. I yell at her and tell her it is the kind of thing spouses are supposed to do. I’ve made a demand and made it a goal so now, even if she complies, it is no longer about loving action, but about goals and demands being satisfied. Anger and rage seem to almost always be about goals we have that are blocked and the demands we make around those goals, whereas when we deal with painful longings that remain unmet the normal response is sadness and sorrow. If my demand is unmet, I get angry. If my longing is unmet, I am saddened and am invited into suffering where Jesus meets me and touches my longing. The easiest way to find out a sinful demand is to follow the anger to its root and there discover the choice that was made. Most often that choice is around a decision that what God offers is not enough. It was good to spend time with Pete thinking through the corollaries between our individual actions and the institutional actions we take in the corporate, both of which separate us from God and each other. I’m glad we had a Voicers Anonymous meeting. It is always fun to sit eyeball to eyeball with people you mostly know from their web writings and see their hearts close up.

Friday morning we hung out in our room, packed our bags, and checked out at noon. I punched the Calgary airport into the Garmin and we headed out. While we were navigating downtown, the Garmin decided to go black screen on us again. Eventually we stopped and put the address into the maps app and discovered we were going the wrong direction. Eventually Garmin kicked in again and we made it to the airport. I told the nice lady at the Enterprise car return that the Garmin had been acting up so she took $75.00 off the bill. I like when people try to make things right.

We checked in and sailed through customs and security. We spent $68.00 to upgrade our seats for the flight to Denver and had the joy of stretching our legs for the two and a half hour flight. Both legs of the trip were uneventful and I spent most of my time writing this travelogue. Derek picked us up at the airport and we made our way home. Our cats, Blaiśe and Soren, were thrilled to greet us, probably grateful that Kathy was home since she is their primary care giver. Depending on ADD folks like Derek and me for your food and drink for a week is pretty risky. They chatted with Kathy and rubbed against her legs, clearly pleased that the traveler had returned.

I spent some time thanking God for all his goodness to me.

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