In the fall of 2010 I tagged along to Iona Scotland with two girlfriends and found myself at a thin place where heaven and earth come closer and you can more easily be jolted out of your old way of seeing the world. At Iona we came to know that at the heart of “Celtic spirituality was simply living the life, following the Way, travelling the journey in the everyday ordinariness of life -- the pain and the pleasure, the heartaches and the hopes, the disappointments and the dreams.”www.northumberlandcommunity.org. The morning of our Pilgrimage, a wind off the Atlantic brought a cold driving rain and I resolved not to participate in the opportunity to submerging myself in the bay at Martyrs Cove. As sometimes happens the activities of that day and the setting by the sea drew me into the water and I committed myself to live as best I could into the Way by leaning into who I was, Patricia Lorraine Loewen Isaak.
Being raised in a small rural town on the Manitoba prairie surrounded by Mennonite family and community may sound quite bleak and monochromatic to some but it shaped me in ways that partly prepared me for this role I’m being asked to consider. I saw people share their soup and be a good neighbor even when they didn’t share the same theological perspective or agree with certain choices. I witnessed my Grandfather love and be loved even though he couldn’t attend church after the loss of his family in Russia. I also learned that it was easier to break things than put things back together. Don and I were married in 1974 and since then our family has grown to include 18; with 10 of our family ranging between the ages of 2-15. Family life couldn’t be more transformative as we stretch and make room for the diversity that is evident in our world today. I have found that love has the capacity to make room. The 90’s until retirement allowed me to expand my academic and professional life; a Master’s Degree in Theology with a Counselling major from ACTS led me to work as a professional therapist and for a short period of time Pastor a multi-faceted group of women through Women’s Ministry at South Abbotsford church. Training in spiritual direction with SoulStream was another opportunity to move into a more contemplative season. At Highland, opportunities for action presented themselves through initiatives of the Living Room, community garden and refugee sponsorship. Each of these avenues informed and shaped my view of myself in the world. I’ve come to believe that those informative early years of small town life keeps me deeply rooted in family, friends and community while my adventurous and curious spirit is satisfied by travel.
Amanda Lindhout abducted in Somalia and abused while in captivity found that, when she cracked under the weight of it all, a small bit of compassion toward her captors emerged. She said that since then she tries to live compassion and forgiveness every day and when she can’t find it she points her feet toward it in hope for the next day. Her words inspire me and although my life has been quite charmed, my commitment to Highland whether elder or not is to point my feet toward compassion and seek to make room for the differences in each other.
My small town roots, unique professional and personal opportunities, family, friends and Highland all blend together and influence my spiritual geography. These may be simple things; living life together pointing our feet toward acceptance and compassion and walking hand in hand through life’s ups and downs to eternity but I believe these are deep spiritual gifts that Highland can share with all who are seeking. A Highland core value invites us to share our best with a servant heart. ~ Lorraine Isaak
“The compassion of God is for all that has been made” Psalm 145.9
We gather Sundays at 10:00 am:
HIGHLAND COMMUNITY CHURCH 3130 McMillan Road Abbotsford, BC V2S 6A8 T: 604-853-7052