Thursday, April 21, 2005

both alike in dignity

Today I received the invitation to my brother's wedding so I guess it's officially official. He lives in England and the wedding is in Arizona so I've missed all of the usual pre-wedding chaos. For me, it began today. I had to chuckle a little as I read the invitation. It was about this time last year that I received another invitation to my other brother's wedding and two less-similar invites would be hard to imagine.

My brothers are eight years apart but they are getting married only a year apart, almost exactly. If you saw photographs of my brothers when they both had short hair you'd see an unmistakable family resemblence. But beyond that they are so very different. Mark is competative, Dave is communal. Mark is at home in a crowd, Dave is at home playing life-sized Monopoly. They are both artistic, both smart, both funny, both more private that you might guess at first glance.

Dave & Janie's invites were orange and covered in Dave's own artwork, a collage of angels and faces. Mark and Rachel's are classic and traditional. Vellum over a photograph tied with a white ribbon. In some ways my brothers are a lot like their invitations, the same idea expressed two completely different ways. Reminds me of the opening to Romeo and Juliet --'two houses, both alike in dignity.'

And where do I fit between these two? Hard to say. I am more focussed than Dave but less brave, less up front than Mark but better able to relate. I always wished I had a sister to balance things out. Now I have Janie and Rachel. And for a while at least, we've got the guys outnumbered :)

Monday, April 18, 2005

choosing your family

Yesterday was the Sun Run. It's a bit of a misnomer if you ask me, but you have to appreciate the optimism (thanks Andrew). It rained, which I'm told is pretty common, but it was still great. There's something magical about fifty thousand people of varying athletic ability all showing up to go 10K. Pretty cool.

This year we got really organized and put a team together. (Well, maybe not THAT organized, we did register about 2 hours before the final deadline.) Still, there we were proudly wearing our Level Ground t-shirts. (Level Ground is Kendra's cousin's fair trade coffee company. If you ever get the chance to try it, I highly recommend their Cafe San Miguel espresso roast. Mmmmmmm.) It was certainly different walking with a team of 14 this year instead of the 3 we had last year. For starters we had kidlets with us so there were bathroom breaks. But having the kids there also meant it was a whole lot of fun. I'm not sure how many other people got to skip through the Sun Run, or do the Hokey-Pokey or sing Veggie Tales en route.

The team was mostly made up of Kendra's family. I have had the great privilege of being an honorary Froese the past few years and it's been wonderful. After the Sun Run we headed off to Monica's place for swimming and hot tubbing and lunch. It was great to have a 'family afternoon' when my own blood family is so far away. I was told once that the process of growing up involves choosing your family. There is some family you're born with, and some you choose; some you decide to hold in your heart. Just as we were leaving Kendra's Mom said the nicest thing. She turned to Ceone and Judy and I and said "I so love having you girls here. Everytime you're with us you feel more like family." What a beautiful thing to say. What an honour to be chosen to be held in her heart.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

what I love about Vancouver

I grew up in a very, very white town. I've lived in England and Nigeria, but I don't remember much of it. Mostly I remember this place where everyone looked the same. I can remember people referring to "the black kid" in high school. There was only one, in a school of 1200. Scary. But it's not like that here.

I'm told that directory assistance in Vancouver is available in four languages -- English, French, Punjabi and Cantonese. One of my favourite games to play down by the beach is to count how many languages are being spoken. On a typical day you'll hear five or six. The record so far, is thirteen. I love that there are signs here in languages other than English. I love that my corner grocery store carries several vareties of gyoza.

For me the ulitmate Vancouver multiculural experience was last year's St. Patrick's Day parade. There was someone in one of the pipe and drum corps repleat in turban and tartan playing for St. Patrick's Day. There was a native amercian man on the Chinese dragon boat team. There were east indian women in Cuban carneval outfits, and highland dancers who's curly red wigs bobbed up and down on decidedly un-Irish looking faces. It was wonderful.

I come from an immigrant family. It's not something I think about a lot, but it is part of who I am. I'm not from here but it has become home. Just yesterday I was talking to a friend about the rain that has been predicted for the Sun Run tomorrow. I heard myself say "but we're west coasters, if we can't handle a little rain, we shouldn't be here" and I chuckled, because I am a west coast transplant as well. The white, white town I remember is back east.

I'm not from here but you could say that I did my growing up here. Maybe that's true of of a lot us. What I love about Vancouver is that is for all of us, in our myriad colours and language, we're from here now.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

imago dei

I was thinking the other day about the image of God and I realized that I always thought of it in a singular sense, applied to one person. Humans made in the image of God. I've been thinking about community lately, and a thought struck me that hadn't before. What if all of humanity together, combined, THAT was the image of God.

What if each of us has enough of Him to be recognizable, a family resemblance if you will, but it takes all of humanity together to get a full picture of who God is. If the world was as it should be without wanting or injustice imagine the collected beauty of all of those faces. Imagine the combined talent and genuis and empathy and generosity. A whole world of possiblity necessary just to approximate.

I read Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz back ion September. I pretty well had to, the book was stalking me. There's one line in the book that I'm still chewing on that says simply this "the biggest lie I've had to overcome is that life is a story about me". I'm reminded of that now. How quick I am to assume that this is my story.

a familiar face

I had coffee yesterday with an old friend I hadn't seen in a long time. Too long, really. I have to admit that I wondered a little about who was going to show up. Would it be the person I remembered? Would they still be familiar or would I have to look twice just to be sure? Sitting here now in the omniscient 'after' I can say this -- some things don't change.

There is a certain kind of friendship that always lets you come home. It lets you pick up right where you left off as if you'd only stepped out of the room. I think it would stretch right over a ten year abscence, but that's not a theory I want to test. It's strange writing this and knowing who will read it; almost seems like cheating. But let me say simply this: I looked across the table and saw a familiar face. And it felt good. I promise not to wait so long next time.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

so close, so close

Ok, I give. Can anyone tell me how to keep the the blog title from displaying right across my nice, new header graphic? I tried taking the title out completely, but Blogger wouldn't let me save it that way. I tried taking out entire sections of code in the template that had the word title in them, but still no luck. I tried stealing the code out of Stef's header ('cause you have a really nice header Stef) and all it did was make the title display in a different font. I went into settings and clicked "show title -- no" and that took the title bar away from my posting window. Argh.

I was sooo close. I jumped through Shaw's five kerbillion hoops to set up hosting access, got cuteFTP running smoothly and now here, right at the end of things I'm stymied. I hope I don't have to hand in my subscription to Wired for this.

Any help greatly appreciated.