Monday, June 20, 2011

trees planted by water, dark shredded bark, and beautiful immigrant men with silvering beards

A couple things happened these last few days that have been meaningful to me. I will only mention them and not tell the whole story here. The first was a conversation with a taxi driver from the former Yugoslavia, he used to be a corporate lawyer in his old country. After he shared with me a bit about his former life, I also told him about foreign trained parents and there experience getting work in Canada. We talked about the increase of immigrants and the lack of jobs. He narrated some stories of his experience first as an immigrant in Germany then in Canada. "In Germany they didn't like us, but you know they don't lie to you. If you make a deal with a German he won't break it". He said.

I loved the bluntness with which he spoke, he was a beautiful man perhaps in his late fifties with a silvering beared, and his manner of speaking, the honesty and feeling in his voice made me feel like I was in some wonderful old film. I have completely romanticized/dramatized the conversation in my head but that is what I do. Howerver I can't exagerate the purity of the incident that to me was a gift.

"I got into a fight with one of the German guys, you know I told him take your shitty job!" He turned around to make eye contact with me in the cab that was now parked. My passanger door was open as the conversation had continued on my way out the door. "sorry for language, but you know, I used to get into fights with those guys".

"No problem" I excused him with a waive of my hand, and then continued expressively. "But you get it, for me it's not about them liking us, we just have to survive, we just need to find a way to make a life".

"Yes but listen to me," he looked at me more intently and reminded me of an old sailor from a book I might have read, "Money is not everything, the German guy at the cleaning job used to tell me, I can take away your job you know. I told him: You take my country, you take my life, my home, you take my brother, what is this shitty job? But you can't take my soul eh? so you remember that".

"Can I shake you hand?" I asked him before our small encounter came to a close and I shut the door of the taxi. The thought crossed my mind as I walked away that perhaps I am really part of something, some collective stories larger than my own single life.

The second incident that took place in the last couple of days that also matters to me happened yesterday. My father, who earned his Phd in the 90s from a University in South Africa had a little car trouble and took the bus to his night shift at a factory the previous night. Unfortunatey, the morning bus on Sundays that comes out to this end of the city doesn't start till 10:00am and his shift at the factory was over at 6am. So he walked from the uptown bus stop, the many many city blocks on the morning of Father's Day. I don't have very much to say about it except that on Father's Day I when I heard this little narration from a family member I felt very proud of my dad who is approaching his mid fifties. While picking up some chocolate and a card with my two year old for his dad yesterday, Izaka also picked something small up for his Kuka, whom he closely resembles and loves deeply. Daddy if you are reading this we still have to drop off some chocolate before Izaka eats them all.

Learning to start with what I have. That is a lesson that came to me over the course of the day today. I haven't done a lot on my flower bed in the backyard because I want to lay some mulch. The grocery store that is a walking distance from us is out of mulch, I found out after pulling my two year old in his wagon up the hill, anxious to buy some bags of mulch. I had even called ahead of time and the employee said they had some bags of mulch left. So needless to say I felt a bit grouchy pulling the wagon back down the hill with a few groceries and a two year old boy sitting inside it but no mulch.

I have been daydreaming of a dark shade of shredded bark, how pretty it would make my young, not very populated flower bed look. I am the kind of person who needs to see the bag of mulch sitting beside me to motivate me to weed the garden and do some transplanting. I need to know that the outcome is close at hand. But I'm realizing that this way of approaching life is making weeds creep up all over because I'm overlooking the provisions that are already at hand.

Today I was also revisited by this verse from the book of Jeremiah 17:7,

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

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