Monday, September 13, 2021


                PART IV

  • why did you quit church, both in terms of the faith you were raised with, and then later stopping attendance at Sunnybrook? Do you wish you had found a different church, or are you happy leaving entirely?  are you at all religious/spiritual now?

               I was hoping this question wouldn't come up but it has to be answered both for others and my own mind. 

               My parents were members of a conservative , exclusive evangelical group. They sometimes called themselves Christians, sometimes brethern, some times Christians gathered in the name of the Lord and so on.

               They were great on Sunday school. When I was a preschooler one of our teachers told us we would go to hell if we smoked or went to movies! Some how or other this didn't pass the smell test in my little four year old mind. So doubt and skepticism started early. They were always discussing the bible. So in our home when there were visitors they usually got studying the bible. Some of those old guys couldn't read so this puzzled me as to how they could study the bible.. 

              They were very clingy and you did not have a chance to look at anything else. 

             What it did was play with my mind. They did an excellent job of indoctrination. It took years before I overcame the rigid beliefs and was able to look at things with an open mind. 

               So I left said group and did not go to any church. I went to the Anglican Church in Inuvik a bit. Since I hadn't seen any different religious routines I found it interesting. 

             When I was in the Arctic the kids quite often dropped into the school for a visit if I was doing preparation. They would tell me about spirits. They had a solid belief in their spirits and also Jesus Christ. 

             These kids got me thinking about faith and what faith really is. I didn't have it. 

           Here , I attended the United Church. I wanted my kids to have some exposure to religious practices. 

           For me, I was just occupying a place in a pew. I went through the motions but for me it wasn't real. So I decided that I should not take up space .

          I've never gone back to regular attendance and have no intentions of doing so. 

         Now I don't have any issues with people who wish to worship and practice their faith. Corporate worship is very beneficial. Fellowship is important for people. 

             Now you could get me down a rabbit hole about denominations and religions disagreeing with each other and fighting. You could also get me going about denominations telling untruths about other denominations.

        But this is enough. I hope I've answered your questions and that I make sense. 

Giving up vs. Letting go

Red's daughter here again.  A few more questions have been sent my way by him, so the one I'm choosing to address this time around is: Why did you give up on journalism, education and your last job? 

I'm not sure I'd say I "gave up" on any of these in my career.  I'd say I let go of certain ideas, attitudes or experiences so I could be open to new ones.

The journalism piece is the oldest so I'll start there.  Growing up, I really had no idea what I wanted to be, though at varying times I recall some pretty wild notions, including race horse jockey (I was very tiny then and loved horses, so that was a perfect match), dentist (I have no clue what that was about!), veterinarian (love animals, but hate math, blood, innards and such which are apparently required for the job) and in high school I had it in my head I'd love to be the evening news anchor on the National with CBC.  I enjoyed current affairs and thought that looked very interesting and something I'd like to do.  Barbara Frum seemed amazing.  I even applied to journalism school in university.  As fate would have it, things got very mucky and messed up very quickly in the process of trying to get into the journalism program at Carleton, so I opted instead for a communications degree out of Calgary.  It was presented as a closely related option, but with more possibilities after graduation than "just" journalism.  That part was very true.  Also, in hindsight, I'd have hated journalism as I'm a bit introverted (I know, a complete shock to many, but true) and I don't think I'd be comfortable getting up in the business of strangers and pushing for answers.  So, I got my Coms degree and muddled along from there, still not sure of what exactly I wanted to be or do.  Eventually I stumbled into teaching and got my Ed degree as well.

I let go of being a teacher for a couple of reasons.  One was that when I moved to the US, I wasn't going to be able to do so as a classroom educator.  Ironically, I had been very tempted when I was graduating with my B.Ed. to take a job in the US, as several states were recruiting Canadian graduates, but I chickened out because it seemed too risky a move when I knew nobody anywhere they were offering the jobs.  I couldn't go overseas either at the time (as I'd have liked to), as I wasn't willing to take my little doggie with me - she'd surely have died of fright on the plane, and there was no way I was leaving her behind.  I could, however, drive over the US border with a dog, and make a return to adult education in Learning & Development, which I'd done before becoming a high school teacher.  

The other reason I left teaching was it was getting political and frustrating.  Like so many others do, I quit the management.  There were many things I loved about being in the classroom, and I'd like to think I was good at it, but the administration and school board, along with attitudes and actions of the provincial government, left much to be desired.  I can't even imagine trying to deal with all that now, and parenting also played a role. The worst run-ins I ever had when teaching were with parents, not kids. Sure, kids can be jerks, but nothing like some of the parents who treat teachers in the most disrespectful ways possible.  I got thrown under the bus enough times to be done with that dynamic.

I let go of my corporate job and became a consultant for several reasons.  One was another case of quitting the management.  I had a fabulous boss (she's a client of mine now, at a different company herself), but the upper leadership was changing, and I didn't like the direction it was headed.  I came to realize in the last few months there that I was facing doing more work I didn't like with people I couldn't stand. I was tasked with doing work at a higher level than I was compensated for, and office politics was a complete gongshow.  The culture of the organization didn't fit with my own standards and values anymore.  When I'm being raked over for not smiling at someone in the hallway (at at time when my mother-in-law was in ICU after heart surgery, from which she never recovered) I have a serious problem with being in such a place with people who think it's okay to operate at that level.

Top it all off with a commute from hell, being in my car at least 2.5 hours each day, in horrible traffic.  I was diagnosed several years ago with a chronic condition that gets worse when I'm stressed, which was happening more frequently, so I was too often stressed, sick, and sick of being stressed.  I had many days when I couldn't stand up straight after driving in the car for an hour or more to work.  I had frequent migraines and tension headaches that laid me flat. I could see where things were headed, and it wasn't pretty.  

Again, there were many things I loved about that job (especially knowing some great people and getting to travel), but it was enough of a disconnect between who I am and what makes me shine, and the way things were being done and how people were treated didn't jive with my own ethics.  Life's too short to be miserable like that, and I was miserable in the end.  Going out on my own was risky, but I feel I'm so much better off for doing so.  I let go of my fears of being out on my own, and I let go of the things that were making a mess of me at the time.

I feel I'm pretty on-par with my generation's experiences of work, both in terms of challenges and opportunities.  I've had an interesting career with many twists and turns, and it's not over yet, so who knows what next adventures I'll have?  I don't regret any of the choices I've made, as each has brought me to where I am today, and have enriched me personally and professionally.