By Brenda Brand ~
In my last seven years of commuting to work in Winnipeg, unbeknownst to me, gradually, the road has remade me. I’m not sure it could have done this without the generous assistance of the contemplative practices I have experienced through the Prairie Jubilee program.
The road itself is most unassuming. For years I took a more scenic route to Winnipeg, for the commuting road personifies everything people dismiss as boring about a prairie landscape: wide expanses of flat fields, and so few trees that almost every one, or every yardsite-sheltering clump, is a landmark.
During the twenty minutes of mostly paved, straight and not-too-narrow pavement where I encounter little traffic in either direction, I breathe slowly and deeply while doing the one-word “abwoon” chant Carol Ann taught us, which calls God into my day. Gradually and so subtly I have come to recognize an incredible depth of beauty in the roadside vista. That cloud formations and infinite sky variations are stunningly beautiful comes as no surprise. Ditto the fabulous snow drift formations in winters when storms are plentiful. I could never have predicted my delight in remnants of dew or rain sparkling on the seed heads in the early morning light, which also sets the train rails on fire.
Now that the temperature is + 30 degrees not – 30 degrees, it’s safe to say that I’ve also come to love the short days and long nights of winter. They let me experience, in one or both directions, daily darkness with either dawn or dusk light, as if enveloped in a cozy quilt of peacefulness. However I experience the road, it is a sacred, liminal time.
Formerly a social worker, teacher, and healthy child facilitator, Brenda Brand is on the spiritual care staff at Seven Oaks Hospital in Winnipeg. She studied clinical training in spiritual health care and completed the Prairie Jubilee program in Spiritual Direction as part of her M.A. in Theology degree. Brenda is an active lay volunteer at various levels of the United Church of Canada, and supports healing grief as Chapter Leader and newsletter editor for The Compassionate Friends of Portage Plains. She lives, skis cross-country, and gardens on a small farm outside of Winnipeg.
The Jubilee Programs offer training in spiritual direction, spiritual growth and soul development. We explore the contemplative life through spiritual practices including the Enneagram, integration of head/heart/body, silent retreats, “holy listening” in journey groups and contemplative prayer and meditation. Read more about spiritual direction by clicking on our 3 national programs: Ontario Jubilee, Pacific Jubilee, Prairie Jubilee.
If you have any questions or comments about this blog, please be in touch with Dale Bially, Communications for Prairie Jubilee. Email firstname.lastname@example.org