Friday, August 26, 2016

Grandpa

When I was a little kid, my grandpa was great because of all the cool stuff he did. He flew model airplanes, went fishing, had a model sailboat, and pulled us behind the tube. He also did things that I don't remember and only saw later through video. There's a clip of him laying on the floor at the cottage making funny faces at me while I smile back at him and hid behind a large toy car. This goes on for like twenty minutes. He makes faces, I laugh and pull his hat over his face, he makes funny noises, I laugh more. There's no sense of urgency like he's going to leave as soon as he gets a chance. He's just there enthralled with me (also let's hear it for my dad who captured this whole moment on camera for me to reminisce over later). It's obvious from watching him that he cared about the people around him.

As an adult, I admired my grandpa probably about as much as anyone could because I heard about the story of his life. My dad had always told me that he hadn't finished high school because he needed to work when he was younger, but I never put it all together. My grandpa worked for GM in Oshawa and through his unique combination of natural intuition, a desire to learn, and his incredible work ethic, worked his way up to an engineering-type situation with the company. Through it all he was able to provide very well for his family and take retirement at a time when he was still able to enjoy it.

Grandpa had some quirks. He liked to do what he liked to do and I realize now that it was a bit odd at times, but in the time I spent with him he was always generous. He wanted to share the things he loved with other people, whether that was life lessons or money or fishing or stories from his time at GM. He was always opening himself to others and I admire that. My Grandpa Ed Gresik passed away this morning. I will miss him, but he will always be with me through these things I remember which he left behind.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Camping

I spent a night at a campground in Toronto this week (Glen Rouge for those of you who are curious). It sits in the middle of Rouge Park surrounded by greenery and right next to the Rouge River. It is very pretty. It's campsites are also very close together.

In regular life it's uncommon for the personal problems of families to spill into the public sphere. A kid might have a temper tantrum but then he's taken into the bathroom and he calms down. When you're camping though, there's no space to get away from other people. If you're having a crisis then it's happening right there on site 24 and there's nothing anyone else around is going to do about it. This happened while we were camping and it just reminded me that the home life of other people is often very different from my own.

It also reminded me why when I have taken trips in the past it's usually been to a place that is far far away from other people. I like a camping trip that gives an experience of the great outdoors, and while I always enjoy being reminded of the human experience, I'd really just rather a little peace and quiet.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Where they Belong

I get a little bit angry when people don't put things back the way they are supposed to go. Amanda is the one who hears this from me most often, but I think people at work are starting to get it too. On one level I feel bad for not being more laid back about this kind of stuff. In many cases it's really not a huge deal. But in other cases it does feel like a huge deal. At home messes that were once cleaned up reappear after a day because someone started a pile of clothes. At work the organizational system is constantly shifting as others that I work with are returning things to different locations.

I am conflicted about this because I know that when things remain static and everything has a place then it's that much easier to get work done. You are not constantly looking for things when you go to do something. It saves me so much time at work to know that every time I open the fridge, the lemonade is right there and if I had to look every time it would make the whole thing an incredible chore.

But at the same moment I don't want to fall into the trap of insisting everything is done my way. I need to be flexible and accommodating and understand what kinds of layouts other people want. This is why I want to be laid back. I don't want to insist on my own way every time and be accused of being selfish. I want things to work for everyone. It's just hard to do that in a constructive way.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Idly Scrolling

I get tired a lot in between working two jobs and having lots of stuff to do at home. There are lots of times when I get home from work and I can't really work up the strength to get off the couch. I think under these circumstances, the best thing for me to do is lay down and go to sleep so I can at least try and get some energy back. And yet what I usually end up doing is flipping through Reddit or Instagram or some other content stream on my phone endlessly for like an hour. I think I'm not the only one that does this too. The stream may change, but the practice of flipping instead of resting happens.

I catch myself thinking sometimes "I am too tired to do anything meaningful, but I don't want to just sleep because that seems like a waste of time". I feel like I'll be missing out if I just lay down and take a nap instead of getting up. I know that this is stupid. When I'm on top of things, I put my phone down and go back to bed. But it still amazes me how hard that is when I know exactly what I am doing and I know exactly why it is stupid.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Real Job

When I was little, I used to hate doing my homework. I'd be at home wanting to play Super Nintendo or something like that and then my mom would say "do your homework" and then I'd be slacking off and she'd say something like "you won't be able to do this when you have a real job". I'd always turn around and say "It'll be different when I have a real job because I'll be getting paid for it."

As an adult, that has turned out to be true. The things I get paid to do have tended to be things that I take a lot of pride in. It's not always the case, but I think money does change how you think about work. At camp, as I gradually go paid more and more each summer I took my work more seriously. As time has gone on and I've started getting paid for church work, I put a lot more pressure on myself to do a good job.

There's always moments where you're glad you weren't an idiot as a kid. This is one of them. School is different from real jobs, and now that I have a real job I'm not slinking away to play video games in the middle of the day.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Odd Time Off

Yesterday I was driving from Westport to Toronto. Making that drive on a Sunday inevitably leads to me following a crush of traffic on the way back in because everyone is coming into the city. There were moments where we slowed down for no reason other than the sheer volume of cars heading East. The whole time I drove I thought about how there was a reason why I hated following the schedule of other people.

See working in the Church and working at Starbucks where I work most weekends, I have gotten the ability to be off at times when few others are. My schedule doesn't conform to that of the average Monday to Friday 9-5 person and I like that. I can go shopping when the mall is empty. I can go to the cottage on a Wednesday when there's no traffic and no people.

But when I have to travel on a conventional day, it just makes me want to stay home on weekends and avoid trying to follow the patterns of others. I know sometimes I have to (like next weekend), but I would much rather work weekends and enjoy peaceful time off during the week than scramble around in traffic and crowds.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Toronto is Home

I'm in Westport this weekend to preach. More accurately I'm in Westport right now to preach and then when I finish I'm driving back to Toronto to do something at Willowdale tonight. As I was driving up here last night I realized that this is the first summer since 2005 that I have not spent any time at Iawah whatsoever. Last year I was only there for a few hours because I was preaching on a Sunday. This year I'm not even doing that.

The stranger thing for me is that I don't really care. I am happy with how things are going in Toronto right now. Sure they're busy and I don't always get time to see all my friends, but we have a community of people around us, I don't feel alone, and I feel good about what we have there. I feel zero pull whatsoever to go back to camp right now.

I think that's best. I used to spend time there because people I cared about were there. Now they are gone so I don't feel the same pull to be there. Instead I am drawn to where the people I care about are. For the most part they are in Toronto, so Toronto is where I want to be. And I must say it feels good to live in a place that feels like home.