Letter to the Congregation

October 3rd, 2022

 

Dear Friends:

 

I return to minister among you after a 4-month sabbatical.  Unfortunately, it was not the sabbatical that I had planned and anticipated.  My original intention was to practice 5 “Rs”: Reading, wRiting, Reflecting, Retreating, and Resting.  My intention was to stay close to home with a few retreats in Western Canada but mostly spent here in Nelson.

 

I began in early June with rest, taking a few weeks to breathe and take the time to unwind after the last couple of years which have been so challenging in so many ways. I did some reading, a little writing, and then the first family crisis occurred; my mom had a heart attack.

 

As I was on sabbatical, I headed for Nanaimo to help mom in her recuperation.  As it turns out, it was a mild heart attack, and she was very fortunate.  I was able to be there when mom returned home, and I helped her find her bearings again.  I did manage, after mom was stable and able to function on her own, spend a few days at Bethlehem Retreat Centre in Nanaimo in a guided silent retreat.

 

After a little over 3 weeks in Nanaimo, I returned home to Nelson in early July.  I settled into a routine of reading, writing, and reflecting mixed with some good rest.  I set up some retreats for the rest of my sabbatical time.  I wanted to focus some of my sabbatical time on writing about my father’s ministry and poetry.  As I did some reflection on dad’s writing, I began to delve into the family archives.  And then the second family crisis occurred; mom fell and broke her “hip.”

 

I put hip in parentheses because she broke the large bone in her thigh very near the hip; the surgeon called it a general hip fracture, but it has a technical name to indicate that it wasn’t the classic hip fracture.  Mom now has a rod connecting her hip to her knee.  So, I returned to Nanaimo early August and remained there until September 19th, when we returned home; Janet flew down to Nanaimo and we drove home together.

 

Frustratingly, 2 days after mom was discharged in August, she and I contracted Covid.  Because mom had had her 2nd booster, her bout of it was not too bad.  I had a rather difficult time of it and still have the “Covid cough” and some fatigue. It was the last thing we needed to have happen.  However, for her age (91) I’m glad to say that mom did not have a bad time of it.  As her doctor kept saying to her, “You are one strong woman!”

 

As I write this letter, I’m happy to say that mom is again stable and with many supports now in place and lots of medical appointments both in the past and to come, she can remain in her own home.

 

I took my computer and other tools with me to Nanaimo to continue the work that I’d begun in Nelson—writing, reading, reflecting, and resting.  Unfortunately, I cancelled the retreats I had tentatively booked.

 

So, I return to ministry after a time away.  I was glad to have been able to care for mom, and I’m grateful to you for continuing the work of ministry here at Nelson United Church and for the support you’ve shown me.  I’m also grateful for the opportunity to have had a sabbatical even though it wasn’t what I was anticipating.  I return to ministry with enthusiasm and with energy and look forward to the challenges and joys ahead.

 

Grateful for your support and love; grateful for the opportunity to have a sabbatical; and grateful to return to work, I greet you all in love.

 

David

 

PS Here is one of the poems that I wrote while on an early morning walk at Westwood Lake, Nanaimo, BC.

 

A Gossamer Thread

July 2022

Westwood Lake, Nanaimo

By David Boyd

 

A gossamer thread floats in the morning air;

            there’s barely a whisper of breeze,

just enough for it to sail delicately,

                        seen only because the sun gave it sparkle.

Somewhere a spider is repairing,

                        or a tiny creature traveling,

hoping for transformation in a new location;

                        labour for the day.

A turtle sits on a log in a shallow inlet,

            it’s tartan back resplendent with colour when caught by the sun’s light.

The sun is just up.

            Low on the horizon, it catches surfaces with intricate beauty.

Two flat fish are seen cuddling side by side,

wriggling together near the shore,

                        mating perhaps or just in need of company.

A raven calls with its distinct sound like a half-swallow and a gulp,

            the sound echoing off the water and the cliff at the end of the lake.

I hear the squelch-squelch of a jogger easing around a bend of the trail,

            the sun catching the steam from their exertion

enveloping them like a translucent cloak.

I sit on a bench, resting and listening, watching and imagining.

            Did I hear a crow with its raspy voice just now say,

                        “Yaw.  Yeah!”?