Friday, 13 February 2015

Zygo Cactus

February 13, 2015
Zygo Cactus

I don’t like it when people give me plants. I mean, I appreciate it and all. I know that it’s a very nice gesture. But the thing is, more often than not they die after they are in my care, and I go through all kinds of guilt feelings about how I didn’t take care of it properly. And then I go into all kinds of wonderings and imaginations about the symbolism of what that means for the relationship between me and the person that gave me the plant. It’s just all too much. I’d just rather avoid the whole exercise. But, when someone does give me a plant, I smile and pretend I’m truly thrilled. But inside, I’m shaking in my boots about yet another one biting the dust.

This is a picture of a Zygo Cactus, otherwise known as a Christmas Cactus. It was given to me in early November, 2013, by the students at the Atlantic School of Theology for leading a workshop during an afternoon of workshops. I didn’t think I did a very good job leading the workshop, but to be fair it was an hour after I had just found out that I had to have major surgery within 6 weeks for possible uterine cancer. I was, I felt, slightly distracted and unfocussed. I didn’t stay for the rest of the afternoon, but hurried away to process my news. Nevertheless, when I went to my office the next day, a faculty member had left the plant and a lovely thank you card for me.

I knew that the plant was supposed to bloom at some point, but it hasn’t since I’ve owned it. I wasn't too worried about it - I was glad that I managed to keep it alive this long. Imagine my surprise when I went to water it yesterday morning, one of the many things on my “to do” list before leaving on the latest student Dialogue for Peace trip, and I saw three buds about to bloom. I’ll try not to read too much into it, but it did feel like a wonderful sign of hope and possibility as we begin our journey.

The third Dalhousie Northern Ireland Dialogue for Peace study trip officially began yesterday. After months of planning, team building, and fundraising it’s finally happening. On January 1, it seemed a likely scenario that the trip might not happen because we wouldn’t meet our fundraising goal of $24,000. However, after many bake sales, bottle drives, a coffee house and auction sale, and generous donations from friends, relatives, and several departments within Dalhousie, we made our target.

Sadly, one of our participants had to back out this week because of medical reasons – she will be missed by the rest of us, and we will hold her in our hearts as we carry on without her. We are excited to be realizing our dream – Corrymeela here we come! But first, Toronto to Dublin, Dublin to Belfast, and the weekend exploring Belfast and its history.

Last year at this time I was filled with gratitude at the very fact that after major surgery in December my doctors gave me the all clear to travel with the group. That was a trip that nearly didn't happen as well.

It's a funny old world. From a crazy notion to take a sabbatical during the summer of 2011 at the Corrymeela Peace and Reconciliation Centre has sprung a project that has seen over 40 students and other interested folks travel to this beautiful part of the world to learn about their hard work at peace and reconciliation, and how those learnings might be applied in their own contexts.

Signs of hope and possibility indeed. We’ll see what blooms on our journey!





1 comment:

  1. I hope you have a good trip, my friend. And I hope I have never given you a plant that died.