How Scars Move Us Forward

“When we decide to act, it is natural that unexpected conflict should arise. It is natural that we will be wounded as a result of such conflict. Wounds heal: they stay on as scars, and that is blessing. Such scars stay with us for the rest of our lives, and are of great help to us. If at some point -for whatever reason -our desire to return to the past is strong, we have only to look at our scars. Scars are the marks of handcuffs, and remind us of the horrors of prison -and with that reminder we move forward again.”
(Paulo Coelho, Maktub)

Why do I feel I am being delinquent when I take a few days for myself? Over the last three weeks I have been on the Suzuki motorcycle for a four day trip with my wife, and a two day trip with a buddy and his son.  But I also repaired and stored all the fishing gear in between those trips. Yet……

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Breadalbane Trail. A hidden little 6.5 km gem that many do not know about.

I took a partial hiking week this week. It all started on the Confederation Trail, which is a nice hike, but that trail is too flat and groomed. One only gets a quasi nature experience. So I hit more unknown woodsy trails around Prince Edward Island. None of them are very long (longest being 16 km) but they are unhardened paths through the forest, up hills and through creeks etc. A canopy of tree branches are always overhead, which is great for a red head like me – no sun screen was necessary. I enjoy the spiritual refreshment I get from the woods, and my slowly ever fattening body needs to loose a few pounds or the heat in Mali is going to hurt like hell.

Been wanting to hike to the highest  elevation marker on the Island. It is not really a hike, you do more driving down back dirt roads than hiking. Then maybe a 1/2 km hike into a little woods to find the marker and register your name in the log book there.  The highest elevation point is not really advertised on hiking sites etc. Most never heard of the challenge.  Therefore, you have to do some digging to find where it might be. We like to keep it that way, it is more of a discovery adventure that way.  I knew its location for may years, and had suggested to many others to go and locate it, but I never got around to actually going there myself.  My name is now in the book, that is as close to the heavens as you can get in this place.  It is an alarming climb, with the highest point on Prince Edward Island being 500 feet above sea level. Yes, it’s a joke! None the less, a nice little adventure for a morning.  I wonder if Anne of Green Gables ever hiked up the hill? 😉

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Highest Point on Prince Edward Island. I hiked there and registered my name in the log book inside the gold box.

Africa has overtaken me again. Planning projects, getting the needed work supplies together. We are in various stages of EVERYTHING.

Some question the wisdom of us continuing in Mali. Once you have lived the rawness of the some of the last frontiers of untouched peoples, it is difficult to go back to life as usual. I can’t imagine simply living in Canada , with no Africa. Shiver!

“Let me ask you something. Is what I do back home important? Does it matter?
I really don’t do much other than working and caring for my family and friends . . . “

Sarayu interrupted him. “Mack, if anything matters then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, …”         (The Shack. William P. Young)

Does what I do matter?

When I was younger I was too  goal oriented, results measured, make my mark, kind of a person. Most of us are the same, this is the seed our culture of success has sown into us since we drank our mother’s  breast milk. Thankfully, God spares the world from too much harm caused by us when we are in this stage of life. I cringe when I look back.  Certainly their is nothing wrong with goals and results. In the recent past I stopped living by measuring everything. Why?

Firstly, it is a miserable way to live, often turning us into nasty, graceless people.  Most of the time we end up letting the desired outcomes cause us to run over people in the process. We use people more as tools, and stepping stones, and when they do not serve our goal, goodbye. We end up taking precious little time connecting, knowing, and just being with people. We eventually wake up one day and begin to see the empty spaces we have made in our life.

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The Agriculture Farm Center is Testing several of Man Of Peace Developments gravity feed drip kits. I was out inspecting them with nephew and brother/sister-in-law.

Secondly, I work hard, and things happen. The Job gets done. I don’t slack, I do not need people looking over my shoulder with their graceless pushing. I lived long enough to finally be confident in me. I get the job done, things happen, things move along relatively well most of the time.  Ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you the same thing. That is why I have very few people who try to micro manage me.  I love listening to peoples advice and input. More importantly, I seek it out. But only from people who have been there, and understand. Book reading, tradition holding, armchair experts annoy me deeply.  The truth is that every step I take has constant input and advice, been bounced off experienced people I respect, it is a continuous process for me. I may look like a lone ranger, but I am not.  It’s the unsolicited advice from people who think they have a right to input, and to asking too many questions, setting up hoops to jump through. They have no idea how annoying they are.   I used to use these times as an opportunity to educate these people.  Now at this stage of life, they take too much of the  precious little time I have left.  Someone else can do the educating now. I want to serve in peace, and invisibly so. I guess I am at a different stage in life.

I think I have scars from Africa. But the good kind of scars, that move one forward, the kind that help. 

I found last term very stressful, but not in an overwhelming way; do you know what I mean?  With the bombings by AQIM (Al-Qaeda), killings, enhanced security measures, and kidnappings by AQIM, of people only once removed from us. It changes how you see things.

Anyway, I have been shaking my arms, and making some noise, while on the boat, forest trekking, with the motorcycle, and while gearing up for Mali.

I can’t be quiet when it comes to Mali.   I am going to jump, shake, and makes some noise, continuing to annoy the hell out of some people.  It will be the mutually assured annoyance we call life.

“If you are alive, you have to shake your arms, jump around, make noise, laugh and talk to people. Because life is exactly the opposite of death. To die is to remain forever in the same position. If you are too quiet, you are not living.” (Paulo Coelho: Maktub)

“I didn’t want to go back to the United States where for most of my life, it now seemed apparent, I had been only half-alive.”       (Moritz Thomsen. The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey On Two Rivers)

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Breadalbane Trail. Hiking along a river bank.

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