Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Failing at Humility

Random thoughts jumble through my brain this morning. So much has happened, and much more is looming in the near distance. Yesterday I had my second visit with our new doctor. She is not an MD, as they are impossible to see here on Canada's national socialized health care system.

In many ways, that has been a mixed blessing. We still take care of our own maladies. Fortunately we do not have serious health issues, other than high blood pressure for Tom. When I first visited with Dr. N, my concerns had a lot more to do with slipping away from my own natural lifestyle. She is helping me regain perspective and be brave enough to look honestly at choices.

Gray hair is compelling me to begin having professional coloring. Oh, vanity I suppose. But more that Tom has asked me to pay a bit more attention to my appearance. So, I am beginning to move in that direction, as well. Wrinkles, creases where I really don't want them, gray hair, thinning eyebrows, dry lips all face me each morning in the mirror. My eyesight requires glasses, but only for objects far away. As a consequence I see a crystal clear image in the mornings. Some days I can get fixated on the outside, and that is when I stare only into my eyes reflectioning back, and remember that I need to pay far more attention to the inside, physical and spiritual.

Part of Dr. N's reminders involved exercising. Walking up and down half-flights in our house do not count, though my knees might protest that it really is exercise. And, as things usually do work out, M and P both landed a wonderful babysitting job within walking distance of the house. But, not close. So I walk with one or the other to the job, return home. Then four hours later, I walk to pick them up, then back home. The distance is close to 4 miles every day.

My first week killed me, in that I had to rush the last 2 blocks (after being tired!), unlock the door, push our wild dog out of the way, and dash upstairs to the bathroom. Whew! Getting older in plenty of places! But, I noticed today, after walking for 2 weeks now, I am doing much better. Arthritic feet and knees are responding better, I can actually put some pep into my step, and some of the jiggle is calming down!

Okay, spiritually, I recited a Rosary on the way back this morning. Halfway home, on the narrow sidewalk walking toward me were three women. An older woman with two younger ones. As they came closer I realized that they were not going to move over. So I stepped onto the grass to the side. Unfortunately, as they passed, instead of being humble (like I really knew I should have) I glared at the young woman who walked so close to me her arm brushed my side. I am not given to prejudice, or dislike of folks from other cultures. But, I will say that it might have been a cultural thing for these women, because as the young woman walked past her eyes had a look of triumph. Hence, my glare. Failure ... She "won" and I "lost." But, not in the way she thought. The meek shall inherit the earth ... I have a long way to go toward being naturally meek and humble, may the Lord keep me moving in the right direction.

Complaining has lately risen inside me, and that is another place I definitely need to exercise humility. While my friends in Houston are weathering hot, hot weather, I have been blessed with balmy days to take these walks. I have nothing to complain about! How silly I can get about having to keep learning a different approach to life here in Canada. So, more lessons in humility and meekness. Just don't expect me to begin apologizing for everything, even when it is not my fault. That is not meekess, but the tendency of my Canadian compadres to do this drives me batty. If you think you might need to apologize, don't do whatever it is in the first place. And if you intend to do whatever it is anyway, don't bother apologizing because you really don't mean the "sorry." Humility ... I have a long way to go on this path!

Most of my complaints are not about living in a different place. They really are more because I am in an unfamiliar culture, and each glaring difference tends to smack me between the eyes. I finally remember to ask where the washroom is (not the restroom) in public places. Times when I have to respond with more than two words, I cringe inside, just because I know my "American" presence will be detected. That is usually met with a clouding of the eyes, and a subtle but not nice change in how I am then treated. Humility. Hey! Clue here, I did not vote for Obama, and I do not believe that Canadian's get free health care any more than I believe that you are denied health care in the US unless you have a credit card. Insurance does not guarantee actual access to health care.

Tomorrow we are going with a realtor to look at a few houses. We've decided to plunge into owning a house here. Sticker shock is still getting me, as well as the extra money we'll have to come up with because we choose to remain US citizens living in Canada. We hope to locate an ideal home, but know that reality will fall short. Still, with diligence I hope we find a neighborhood where we fit in a bit better, don't need to witness the Indy 500 on the street out front, or overhear family fights in Chinese from the house next door.

Tom is in Yellowknife this week, and when he called last night about 9 our time, he said they have plenty of bright sunlight. At least I can count those blessings, that we are in a nice community in Ontario, and not living closer to the project. Winter was hard enough for us after having lived apart from snow and ice for close to 9 years!

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