Musings: Blessed Are You & Blessed Am I...
Blessed are you, Catherine Gaw for your deep care of a colleague in need and not only taking leadership of the Sunday Gathering yesterday, but also, creating space for me to name the struggle and begin to discern the unfolding. And blessed are you, the community of Sackville United Church for your gracious acceptance of change and allowing me the space of a Sunday away.
Blessed are you and blessed am I... Yes, even with this ongoing reduction in my hearing ability, and the flock of birds that returns again and again to fill my head, I know I am blessed. I am blessed by a partner who is empathetic and is seeking to understand how she can best support me in this changing reality and yes, I am blessed that I can still hear despite the tinnitus – but the challenge is there and some circumstances are more challenging than others and Thursday was one of them.
Last week Sara Poirer and I took part in a training event offered by the Region and on Thursday morning, as I was making my way across the marsh to the third and final day, I had what I can only describe as a panic attack. The constant chirping in my head coupled with what I knew would be the demands of the day, many group conversations while wearing a mask, and a growing fear of what this tinnitus and continuing reduction (~ 10 db) in hearing would mean for me vocationally, wore me down. With the support of the Regional Minister, Kendall Harrison, I stepped away.
Driving back from Sackville that morning I called Catherine to ask if she would look after Sunday, and as you now know, she graciously agreed to do so. I spent the weekend enjoying the moments of quiet that I could, and began to plan some next steps. I am hoping to hear from the Ear Nose and Throat Specialist today in respect to a follow up appointment. I have scheduled a tinnitus assessment with Dr. Brian Alexander in Moncton. Unfortunately, that appointment is not until late March. I also expect to hear from the audiologist here in Amherst for a follow up appointment sometime this week.
As I wait for these appointments, I will resume my regular activities as best I can, and try to be gentle with myself in respect to those situations that may be particularly challenging for me. Thankfully technology is a great benefit to me. My hearing aid allows me to increase the volume of the sounds and voices I am hearing to overpower the tinnitus. The hearing aid also allows me to play music and other sounds to mask the tinnitus when needed. And, Zoom together with a Bluetooth dongle allows me to meet with people in group settings and have their voices go right into my ear. And so, while I may be saying, “What?”, “Pardon?”, “Can you repeat that please?” a whole lot more – I am blessed, and I know it!
Today I am in the office, and I have a few one-on-one visits scheduled. If you’d like to chat feel free to call and we can arrange a time that works. I will be in Moncton later this afternoon meeting with a colleague and doing visits to the Hospital - and hopefully seeing the ENT.
Tuesday morning, I will gather with the Lectionary Study Group via Zoom and together we will look at the text for this coming Sunday, the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany: Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12), Psalm 112:1-9 (10), 1 Corinthians 2:1-12 (13-16) and Matthew 5:13-20. The afternoon will be spent in the office until 3PM when I have a meeting scheduled in Amherst. After that meeting I will head to Halifax where I’ll spend the night with my son and his family.
On Wednesday morning I will make my way to the Atlantic School of Theology to attend my first meeting of the Academic Senate as a representative of Fundy St. Lawrence Dawning Water’s Regional Council. The meeting should be over by noon and I’ll be on my way home. Seniors Sharing the Table will gather at 10AM on Wednesday and all are welcome to join for coffee and conversation with the participants from Open Sky!
Thursday, Groundhog Day, will hopefully NOT be a repeat of last Thursday and I will be able to work from home and prepare the liturgy and reflection for Sunday!
Friday and Saturday will be days off and on Sunday I look forward to gathering with you in-person and via Facebook Live at 11AM.