I am someone who quite enjoys writing a list of things to do and systematically checking them off. I love to get new things happening. I have always enjoyed mowing lawns, cleaning and knitting because I can see what I have accomplished: cut grass, a shiny floor and a completed hat. However, much of life is not really about the end result.

I have to keep this in mind at PNC. I could micromanage and make sure things are done just so (according to my opinion) or I could make space to ensure everyone is involved. I choose the latter. Though there are times I just need to make a decision, it most often comes after discussion. PNC is about us.

Making it about us requires that process be prioritized. If I come in and immediately change everything to make it look a certain way, I encroach on the power that I so long for this community to have. We can’t say that people are invited into full participation and then yank it away. What we can do is intentionally listen to people and their ideas, collaboratively come up with plans and work to equip others to make things roll.

Not everything runs perfectly all the time. Believe me, I can write a very long post about that. As a recovering perfectionist, I am here to say that “perfection” is just an illusion. In fact, I find that the most wondrous stuff happens when things are rather askew, maybe because the pressure is off. We are freed to be ourselves. It is in this context that we can gain the courage to try and try again.

I appreciate a well-run drop-in or service and desire to work diligently. I still love to mow, clean and knit. I’m just not so wrapped up in creating the so-called perfect product or end result. I’d rather relish in the process, feeling safe to fail and proud to celebrate the small victories along the way. It’s all really about taking this life stuff one step at a time.

Wild Blueberries

Yesterday my family and I found ourselves in a wooded area outside of Springdale, Newfoundland. We stopped to throw rocks into some inland freshwater ponds, trying our best to skip smooth stones across the surface of the water. We hiked to “Glassy Beach”, the best spot to collect treasure, especially smooth beach glass. We enjoyed the sunshine. Maybe the best part was discovering patches of wild blueberries. My 3-year-old nephew, Cate and I crouched down and ate handfuls of the warm berries.

I was immediately transported to my childhood. I spent many a summer day in Northern Ontario, either Sudbury- my mother’s hometown, or Killarney- the location of our family camp (we always called it the “camp”, not the “cottage”!), picking blueberries. We would take little buckets to fill, though I’m certain we ate twice as many as we actually took home.

I realize how important these memories are. I sometimes lament how many of my life experiences start to fade with time, though I know all of them have contributed to shaping who I am. Memories get triggered with a smell, or the fleeting sight of someone or something, or overhearing a person recall something I don’t, or in this case, the eruption of a sun-warmed blueberry in my mouth.

I long for Cate to one day remember what yesterday felt like. I keep imagining her as a mother, telling her child about how she practiced skipping stones; how the treasure found on a beach is priceless; how the best tasting berries are the ones you find growing quietly near the rocks.

As a child I was told the same things, and that is something I will never forget.