Monthly Archives: September 2018

Hellos and goodbyes

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Last week was a beginnings and endings kind of a week.

On Wednesday morning, we at The Dale said goodbye to our dear friend Mike during a memorial service. Tears we shed and stories were shared. While the loss of Mike still seems surreal to me and others, communal grieving was a necessary and helpful part of the process of letting him go.

On Wednesday afternoon, a few of us went down to the shores of Lake Ontario and participated in the baptism of our friend Kim. It was her desire to be baptized outside, and then to have a tea party on the beach to begin this new stage in her life. So that’s exactly what we did.

On Thursday morning my cousin Laura gave birth to a baby boy, and named him Clarke Thomas. Clarke is the name of our grandfather who died when I was an infant, before Laura was born. We have heard so many wonderful things about this man over the years, and I wish that my sister, cousins, and I had the chance to get to know him. Thomas is the name of our cousin who died in a car accident when he was 11, along with his sister Meredith who was 8. I’ve written about them here.

On Friday morning I attended a memorial service for my great-aunt Kathrine, who recently passed away at the age of 93. Many, many members of her immediate and extended family, as well as a large number of friends gathered to remember her life and celebrate her legacy of love. I will always remember Aunt Kathrine for her thoughtfulness in the form of birthday cards- nearly every year, the first of my birthday cards to arrive in the mail would be from her. This is astonishing, given that she had several grandchildren of her own, let alone all her grand-nieces and nephews!

While I’m still processing all that happened last week, I am struck by the beauty of welcoming new life in the midst of saying goodbye those who have died. In particular, I’m struck by Clarke Thomas, this new little creature, who is named for two beloved people to whom our family has had to say goodbye.

Hello to new life! The new, baptized life of Kim. The new presence of Clarke Thomas, as well as Peyton, Julie and Rosslyn (all born this year into the extended Moon family!)

Good bye to our beloveds. Goodbye Mike, you larger than life character. Good bye Aunt Kathrine, also larger than life in your own gentle way.

Last week really was a beginnings and endings kind of week.

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Back to school (a little bit)

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For many people, September is synonymous with “back to school.” And for most of my life I’ve been one of those people, except for the last six Septembers.

When I graduated from Wycliffe I had a feeling that I’d like to do more schooling at some point, but didn’t know what form that would take. And for the last six years, learning to be a Community Worker and community member at The Dale has been schooling enough! I’ve been pretty much constantly challenged and stretched, supported and humbled, encouraged and changed.

Over these six years I’ve participated in some one or two day professional development courses on topics like addiction, tuberculosis awareness, vicarious trauma and polarity management. While these courses have all been helpful, I’ve been yearning for some more in-depth academic learning.

So… this fall I enrolled to audit a course at Regis College (part of the Toronto School of Theology), while continuing to work full time at The Dale! I’m thrilled that I’m able to continue learning from my community, and also make a bit of a return to the classroom 🙂

The course I chose is focused on integrative approaches to trauma, through the lenses of psychotherapy and spiritual care. While I don’t plan to become a psychotherapist, I’m interested in learning how the fields of psychotherapy and spiritual care can inform one another. The focus on trauma is especially close to my heart, as so many of my friends at The Dale have faced (and continue to face) more than their fair share of traumatic life experiences. While I’m only one week into the course, I can already tell that the readings, lectures and discussions are going to be rich and (I pray) enriching to my ministry at The Dale.

So, Happy Back to School Month, everybody!