Finding a Voice

Friday, November 25, 2005

from my brother, Jeffrey

My brother, Jeffrey, is a potter. He is also a teacher's aide and bus driver for the public school in Strasbourg, SK. On Wednesday he took three boys to Agribition in Regina. I loved how he described the experience and asked permission to post it:

Agribition was fun, the stock dog trials were neat,
I had three boys to take with me,
They got tired pretty early, so did not see everything we could have.
I was able to introduce them to every man's favorite part of exhibitions....
the free food sample...
Picture three grade three boys,
wandering around looking for booths with free food.
ahh mentorship!
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 11:50 PM 0 comments

against Shantelle's cancer!

funny thing ... I accidentally posted this to my other blog, "to your health." It fits, so I'm going to leave it there.

(lyrics by Lianna Klassen)
(based on Isaiah 61)

The spirit of the Lord is upon me
For he has anointed me to speak the good news
Because he has anointed me to preach the good news
And he has sent me to proclaim
In the power of his name
That captives will be released
And the blind will finally -- they will see
And the poor will be made free
They will find liberty

For the time of the Lord's favor has come
The time of the Lord's favor has come
So let this nation raise a standard
To proclaim him as King
I will not be silent any more.
No, I will not be silent any more!
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 5:01 PM 0 comments

Thursday, November 24, 2005

good theology


“Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20

Words: Li­tur­gy of St. James, 4th or 5th Cen­tu­ry
(Σιγησάτο παρα σὰρξ βροτεία);
trans­lat­ed from Greek to Eng­lish
by Gerard Moultrie, 1864.
Music: “Pi­car­dy,” French car­ol mel­o­dy

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six wingèd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 4:44 PM 0 comments

poem revised


Silence –
after sharing.
I hold my breath.

Silence –
I hold my breath.

Silence –
do you care?
You’re avoiding
being careless.

Release my breath.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 10:19 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

poem initiated

November 22, 2005

after sharing
and, having shared,
I hold my breath.

Silence –
you unnerved,
unnerving me.
I hold my breath.

Silence –
do you care?
You’re avoiding
being careless.

Release my breath.

Margaret Avison, Writing Philosophy
(NOT Prescriptive) Initiate a poem only under compulsion. Hear the meaning, writing with a fix on the focus. Monitor the voice of the piece. If the focus lingers, overnight e.g., add or cut to clarify or simplify or complete the statement of the focus. After time has elapsed, reread rigorously, and revise--learned late from not doing it enough.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 5:08 PM 0 comments

you would think ...

... that someone with as much traffic as I get on my blog (averaging 98 hits a day according to my sitemeter reports) would post more often. I take comfort in the long spaces between Lauren Winner's posts -- and she is a much more prolific and accomplished writer than I.

I just noticed -- it's snowing.
Sparsely, yet definitely.
Very grey day.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 5:04 PM 2 comments

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

the cancer journey

My friend had surgery on Monday and it went as well as can be expected ... except that her type of cancer is apparently very aggressive. Even so, she and her family are praising the Lord for the miracles they have had.

Here's a link to her website:
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 5:51 PM 0 comments

not a typical storage room fix

Here's my library, on my organizational consultant's website!

Would you like to book a retreat in my space?
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 5:49 PM 0 comments

Saturday, November 05, 2005

hopeful day

Spent the day at a Regina hospital with my colleague. Happy to report that she had a very good night, sleeping deeply for a while, and then a very good day. Her pain was manageable, her sight is still limited, yet was fair today as she could tolerate more light and could focus on people. She ate 3 full meals, had her hair washed, visited with a lot of people with a strong clear voice and a healthy sense of humor.

Surgery is scheduled for Monday morning, starting around 7:45. One of the two procedures will take about 5 hours. The goal for this weekend was to let her rest and strengthen her for the surgery. Though visiting can be tiring, it also seemed energizing for her. She's eager for a good card game.

Please pray that she will gain strength in preparation for Monday's surgery. She is grateful for the support and prayers of other people, and is equally concerned for those who are lifting her up in prayer.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 10:55 PM 0 comments

Friday, November 04, 2005


Yesterday afternoon I was walking in the academic building and just wanted to cave in, to collapse on the floor anywhere. But I made myself keep moving all the way back to the office. Around 5:30 I had a good cry with Kim and Michelle while Kim rubbed my back and neck and played with my hair.

Kim wanted to take care of something for me, anything, so I let her order some endira bread (Ethiopian) for tonight's international potluck dinner, and she called my worship team leader to say I wouldn't be able to make practice that evening. I just couldn't meet any more obligations. Michelle offered me supper, which I accepted. She's my downstairs neighbour, so meals with her are very convenient and always tasty. While I was finishing up at the office, Cheryl called. We haven't seen or talked to each other in months and she was coming to town, so could we see each other. I told her the situation and that I had cancelled a prior commitment but could see a friend for an hour.

Cheryl came around 8:00 and brought her 2-year-old girl, Leslie. As in my other post, I could hardly hold two thoughts together let alone articulate them, so between that and a busy 2-year-old the conversation was pretty disjointed. Yet it was helpful to have a vibrant little child around. We played peek-a-boo. Leslie would go behind me and I would coo, "Where's Leslie?" until she popped out giggling. After a few times I started saying, "I'm going to get you!" At first she would try to run past and I would catch her. Then she started running straight for my lap, arms up, ready to be scooped into a big squeeze and a cuddle.

Cheryl, who had her first baby a 40 (Leslie is the second), commented, "I don't know about you, but when I was single I often felt that I didn't get touched enough, and children were always so good for me that way."

Indeed. Play therapy. Ahhhh.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 11:25 AM 0 comments

grieving ...

Last Friday one of my colleagues was diagnosed with malignant, fast-growing cancer. She had only been in pain for two weeks -- thought she had overdone it at the gym, thought it was sciatica or herniated disc, felt like a wimp for wanting so much ibuprofen.

Today, after working through this on both personal and official levels I feel like I've been hit by a truck and can hardly hold two thoughts together in my head let alone speak them coherently. We in leadership have been managing information -- deciding what needs to be told, telling people who need to know, especially students. We've been making space to comfort, pray, and grieve with students and colleagues. And we've been doing our own grief work. Yesterday I remembered how my colleague and I felt a bond, but schedules and responsibilities made it hard to spend much time together.
- We both had hearts for the nations, and one way into that was teaching English to speakers of other languages.
- We played Settlers of Catan with other colleagues on associates' welcome day in August.
- One time, when things were a bit awkward between us, I was asking the Lord for a connection. I sat beside her in chapel and we were wearing exactly the same combination: brown skirt, pink shirt, black jacket/cardigan. Who wears those things together? Well, we did, on exactly the same day. Oh -- and we both have blond, curly hair. It was rather healing and a lot of fun. :-)
- Wish we could have spent more time together.

In my prayers since Friday I have seen her lying in the back room of a cottage. The door was open and she was resting. She was quite alert and in good spirits that whole time. On Tuesday I saw Jesus go into the room and slam the door. I smelled burning and wondered ... Later that day I learned that things had gotten worse and that attempted radiation had not gone well -- hence the burning smell. I got to see her on Wednesday evening. A group of us had gone from Briercrest to support her family, especially her husband. I didn't expect to see her, but as I was leaving around 10:30 the family offered so I accepted. I told her about the cottage and said, "Jesus is taking very good care of you." She whispered, "He always has." And I replied, "But now it's very special care."

It was amazing how present she was to each person who saw her. She recognized and said something personal to everyone. During our brief minute together she took a deep breath and whispered loudly, "Have fun with your Ph.D." And she repeated two or three times something about a good future for me.

The pain in her head was so excruciating that she was practically blinded. Even so, she told some other colleagues, "I can't see very well, but I can see the love of Jesus clearly."

We wait and pray. I pray for healing. I am aware of the many possible outcomes, but the one I beg for is healing of her body. However, my hope is not in the miracle -- my hope is in the Lord.

One of these days the door will open on that room in the cottage and she will emerge. One way or another she will be healed, whole, surrounded with the light of Christ and all who see it will be in awe.

Last night I read Psalm 4 and prayed for her to sleep in peace. This morning I thought that this ordeal is her sacrifice to the Lord -- but that doesn't make it feel "right."

5 Offer right sacrifices
and trust in the LORD.
6 Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?"
Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.
7 You have filled my heart with greater joy
than when their grain and new wine abound.
8 I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O LORD,
make me dwell in safety.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 10:57 AM 0 comments