Tag Archives: Faith

Only Child says life isn’t what we’re taught

Only Child's  rose garden by end of driveway

Only Child’s rose garden by end of driveway

In April, when the first tulip showed its face in the flowerbed under the living room window, Mom had to get out in her garden and do her vegetable, fruit and flower business. In the beginning, Mom and I moved in tandem with the garden and religion like we found parallels in them – both had beauty, filled us with awe, seemed to bring some order and ritual to our lives: plant seeds in spring and be rewarded with beautiful flowers and bountiful vegetables and fruit in summer; go to Mass and communion on Sunday and be rewarded in life with only good. (excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2012 Sharon A. Crawford).

This beginning of Chapter Two, Practising Gardening and Religion, in my memoir serves as a contrast between the beliefs of a child and the non-beliefs of an adult past middle-age. As mentioned in last week’s post, my garden is my spiritual nourishment and faith and religion of any kind – Christian, New Age, etc. doesn’t do it for me. Many friends, colleagues and acquaintances in my age bracket have “come home” to some religion and faith. Heck, some even have kept the faith and religion of their childhood. Great for them but not for me as I’ve found from experience. I’ve tried different religions –from Christian to New Age and found all lacking. The common denominator seems that they don’t live up to their preachings and I’m not referring to the people involved, some committing horrible crimes such as sexual abuse. I mean their “truths” when put into practice.

I still believe in God – it’s my take on God that has changed due to life circumstances. A friend calls what happens to us “challenges” and I go along with that in part. To me challenges are positive things that happen to you. For example, the editor at my book publisher finally gave me his feedback on my pre-quel novel (prequel to four linked short stories in my mystery collection Beyond the Tripping Point published October 2012. See http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html). Instead of cursing and getting angry, I welcome having to do a major rewrite as a positive challenge. Also fixing up my garden, planting and digging up the weeds encroaching on the perennials and taking up space in my vegetable garden, trying to grow vegetables in the ground or in pots – all this is hard work with lots of well, challenges. And that’s how I look on it – a challenge to work through.

But the negatives coming at me aren’t positive challenge; they are destructive curses. This stuff is bad and the criteria seems to be twofold: it comes from outside me (i.e. I don’t cause it) and it reeks havoc on my health, finances, or property, and time, or maybe some of each. True the novel rewrite and the garden may partly come from outside me (I wrote the novel and I work the garden – but I don’t plant the weeds for example) and true they take time, but both are a joy and engage me in a positive and constructive way.

Maybe the lack of “joy” is the key to what constitutes negative. For example, in the past couple of months, among other things, I’ve had to deal with and/or am still dealing with the following:

  1. Financial – The Canada Revenue Agency messing up my tax returns which until fixed can leave me not receiving GST rebates and provincial tax credits (see last week’s post at the beginning); the bank officer messing up my RRSPs. The latter has hopefully been fixed and the first, let’s just say I’m waiting for them to fix their mistake.
  2. House and Property – where to start: just a few – the water still sometimes getting into the basement during strong storms despite the big excavation outside two years ago to fix; the bathroom leaking taps which lead to three (so far) visits from the new handyman – he doesn’t look at the big picture and is very disorganized, and now a surveyor was drawing the tell-tale orange lines across people’s front property and the roads – the phone company is doing digging for “conduit”  this summer. They just did something like this five or six years ago and then dug the corner at the end of my driveway. After grilling the surveyor with questions (old journalist here), he thought it might skim the corner of my rose garden. Didn’t last time, so now I’m busy trimming back the rose bush and the bush juniper hanging over the driveway. It appears that some of my neighbours’ front perennial and vegetable gardens are going to get dug up – again for the same thing.
  3. Computer problems. Enough said here.
  4. The incompetence of so-called professionals and their unreliability. A partial “list” is included in the diatribe above.

So when I get a professional doing a job well I have to speak up. I had two window blinds that needed replacing – the bedroom mini blind was falling apart in phases for years –no spare cash to get fixed and the blind in the kitchen fell on me last summer (it’s spring is broken). This year, armed with a 10% Sears discount from the Home Show in Toronto, I signed up to get the blinds replaced. They measured the space correctly and delivered (and hung correctly) the blinds – the latter three weeks earlier than promised. That’s the way it should be.

Where does this all fit in with trust, faith, religions, etc.? For me, just putting it out there to be protected from a lot of this negative stuff and when it happens to get it fixed quickly, professionally and send me the money to do so – often doesn’t happen. More likely I run into incompetence, screw-ups, spending too much money, and my time wasted dealing with it all.

Bottom line: have faith in yourself and caveat with anyone else, except a few trusted friends and family. No one gets a free ride – life is full of bumps and putting it out there for otherwise doesn’t guarantee that is what you will get.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Gardening, Home and Garden, Life demands, Only child memoir, Problems, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child asks why bother with hope and faith?

Only Child again contemplates some harsh realities

Only Child again contemplates some harsh realities

Last Wednesday’s mixed precipitation storm of slush caused me to cancel my monthly writing critique group for the first time ever. At first I thought it was an indirect way to give me the extra time needed to complete my prequel novel for my publisher’s deadline.

Then I went downstairs to do my twice daily check of the rec room floors. To my horror I discovered some water had leaked in through the inner wall where I hadn’t placed towels. I’ve had these water problems before and despite a big excavation two years to “fix” the problem, I still check the floors regularly and place down towels when it rains – because I have learned not to trust that all will be well. Last Wednesday’s was the first leak since the excavation. But, guess I should have spread towels out on the inner wall. I called the guy who did the repair work two years ago and he finally showed up last evening after dark. He says it is probably the caulking he put around one of the windows has come loose and he will just need to caulk it – no charge for that. But he can’t do it until it warms up (including during the night). Guess what? Later tonight we have possible freezing rain and rain tomorrow. Which I found out on the weather network online because…

When I turned on the TV this morning to get my morning weather dose from the weather network  I found nothing but black static and a message to call my service provider. Which I did – after 411 interrupted to give me the correct phone no. Apparently the one on my cable bill is incorrect. When I got through to technical support I heard a message that there is a problem with the digital adapter service in the Toronto area; they are working to fix it and service will be restored as soon as possible. So far… no service. They apologized.

Not good enough. Some of us (myself included) who live just above the poverty level can’t afford to convert to full digital service. For me that isn’t just getting an expensive digital TV, but my electrical outlets by the TV need converting to three-prong. An electrician refused last year to do the job because of having to cut through walls, etc. He made it sound like a real mess. Newsflash. I had this done in another area without any mess to create a new outlet so the air conditioner could have its own outlet. So I opted for an alternative last year – a digital adapter supplied by my cable company. The adapter and its delivery were free of charge but they wanted to charge to get one of their technicians to hook it up. So, I pulled the senior card and after much hassle and talking I got it connected free of charge. It has a two-prong plug-in and I use an extension cord to plug in the TV and a lamp.

These are just recent examples of why I have so little trust and faith. Fool that I am, I still put it out there daily to god, universe – whatever you want to call it (Some would call it “praying”). Every day I also give gratitude for what I am grateful for and do the opposite for what I’m not grateful for (i.e. what is wrong in my life). The latter list is getting longer and may catch up with the grateful list.

I don’t expect my life or anybody else’s to be perfect, but I think less aggravations and problems would help. Being an only person having to deal with everything myself puts me in a more precarious position.

Somewhere back in the days when I was growing up Catholic and still believed in trust, faith and miracles, I was taught that nobody gets more crosses to bear than they can manage.

Not true. I’m living proof of that and so are many others. To take it beyond the personal – look at what is happening around the world – for example the homeless and some of that due to weather.

Yes, back to weather. As the guy who did the excavation said, our winters are no longer just cold and snow; we get rain mixed in and that causes a lot of problems. I remember even as far back as the early to mid-1990s when winters were winter with no rain until spring.

What have I learned? Besides life being unfair, you can really count only on yourself. And if you can’t, you might as well be dead.

One more thing. If I hear anymore reference to Mother Nature in connection with bad weather, I will scream. “Mother” and “bad weather” (any kind) is a misnomer and an oxymoron. Just think about that.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Aloneness, Floods, Learning Experience, Life demands, Living alone, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Trust, Weather, Winter Weather