Montreal, Canada feels deceptively new. So many things, on the outside, look the same: the people, the shops, the food. Until you begin to listen, read, and see.
The day we drove into Canada, as I was art-journaling (you can follow us our on travel journey here), I sensed the word "listen" come to mind. As I prayed (which typically consists of me saying something like, "Jesus, was that you or me?" and waiting for an internal sense of his reply) I got the feeling it wasn't something I conjured, but a gift in advance. Now that we're here I better understand its significance.
As I pay attention the differences become glaringly apparent. Not good nor bad - just different. Like the language - most people speak French, but if you notice and ask nicely (in French), most people attempt to speak in English to the best of their ability. Like their food - while here I've decided to conduct a mini experiment. As many of you know I have some pretty gnarly food intolerance's (for those of you who don't, I'm sensitive to: wheat/gluten, dairy, corn, and soy). But I've theorized my intolerance's may be due to the processing of said item rather than the item itself. As I've eaten "off the grid" (for me) while in Canada, I haven't had nearly the amount of reactions as I would have in the States had I eaten the same things. I even got to eat Fettuccine Alfredo without gastro-catastrophe. We ended up having an enlightening conversation with a local chef and restauranteur about the differences, and similarities, in Canadian farming and food-ing.
And as I go out each day with my camera, I look perhaps too intently for what it is I'm to photograph. Reflecting on these experiences, though, I wonder if listening is mere attention-paying rather than straining (like an editor) to find what's interesting, engaging, and true.
Listening, in that way, feels a lot more intuitive and natural. I look forward to going out and listening again tomorrow.
Year ago there was a place called airplane. It was a place you cut the string on your balloon tied to the rest of the world and set sail floating high above the earth towards adventure awaiting.
Airplane still exists. And adventure is still awaiting (for us it awaits in Vermont). But now the string on your balloon remains attached by something called "gogointernet."
Gogointernet allows me to connect to WiFi while in the air. No more disconnection. No more separation. No more space. No more radio silence. Using modern technology and my new Text+ account I could literally call my mom right now.
Although I'm using this modern advance to write this post, inspired by the novelty and quiet obscurity of it, it reminds me of the airport lobby I slept in last night: loud.
Not that I've flown frequently, but I used to look forward to the relative solitude (because I am an introvert) of travel by flight. I could disconnect, think my thoughts, and feel my feelings in a new way. But today I feel no less away than I did prior to lift off.
So maybe silence is a choice. Maybe internal mini-retreats, like I used to experience while flying, are a choice. Maybe the stakes are just higher now, and the training wheels are off. How I turn away from the temptation of distraction here, now?
I'll start with this: "Lord, Jesus, have mercy."
I love off-beat "art house" movies. Some of my favorites are: Little Miss Sunshine, Crazy Stupid Love, Sunshine Cleaning, just about anything with Simon Pegg, and more recently The Way Way Back.
Within the first minute of the movie Steve Carrel, playing the villain, asks his girlfriend's teenage son how he would rate himself on a scale from 1 to 10. After mustering the courage to say, "A 6," Carrel's character instantly comes down on him saying he thinks Duncan is a 3.
After watching the movie again tonight I realized their conversation sometimes sounds like my own internal dialogue. And then I felt like Jesus reminded me of another movie I love -- The Help.
I wondered if this might be an invitation to be kinder to myself. What could happen if I remembered who I was? And if I spoke the truth of who Jesus says I am, as a tangible reminder, a call back, to who he's creating me to be?
Matthew 5:13 I am the salt of the earth.
Matthew 5:14 I am the light of the world.
John 1:12 I am a child of God (part of His family-see Romans 8.16).
John 15:1, 5 I am part of the true vine, a channel (branch) of His (Christ's) life.
John 15:15 I am Christ's friend.
John 15:16 I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit.
Romans 8:14, 15 I am a child of God (God is spiritually my Father-see Galatians 3:26 and 4:6).
Romans 8:17 I am a joint-heir with Christ, sharing His inheritance with Him.
1 Corinthians -3:16 I am a temple (home) of God and 6:19 His Spirit (His life) dwells in me.
1 Corinthians 6:17 I am joined (united) to the Lord and am one spirit with Him.
1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member (part) of Christ's body (see Ephesians 5:30).
2 Corinthians 5:17 I am a new creation (new person).
2 Corinthians 5:18,19 I am reconciled to God and am a minister of reconciliation.
Galatians 3:26, 28 I am a son of God and one in Christ.
Galatians 4:6, 7 I am an heir of God since I am a son of God.
Ephesians 1:1 I am a saint (see I Corinthians 1:2, Philippians 1:1 and Colossians 1:2).
Ephesians 2:10 I am God's workmanship (handiwork) created (born anew) in Christ to do His work that He planned beforehand that I should do.
Ephesians 2:19 I am a fellow citizen with the rest of God's people in His family.
Ephesians 4:24 I am righteous and holy.
Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven and seated in heaven right now.
Colossians 3:3 I am hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:4 I am an expression of the life of Christ because he is my life.
Colossians 3:12 I am chosen of God, holy, and dearly loved.
1 Thessalonians 1:4 I am chosen and dearly loved by God.
1 Thessalonians 5:5 I am a son of light and not of darkness.
Hebrews 3:1 I am holy brother, partaker of a heavenly calling.
Hebrews 3:14 I am a partaker of Christ ... I share in His life.
1 Peter 2:5 I am one of God's living stones and am being built up (in Christ) as a spiritual house.
1 Peter 2:9, 10 I am a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession to proclaim the excellencies of Him,
1 Peter 2:11 I am an alien and stranger to this world I temporally live in.
1 John 3:1, 2 I am now a child of God. I will resemble Christ when He returns.
1 John 5:18 I am born of God, and the evil one (the devil) cannot touch me.
(Scripture references and statements borrowed from b-ing.org.