Leah Perrault

Leah Perrault

Perrault works in Catholic health care in Saskatoon and writes and speaks about faith. Her website is leahperrault.com. Her Register column will appear monthly.

I have been listening to people within my (Catholic) faith community wrestle in a deeper way with Truth and Reconciliation this summer. The reckoning has been too long coming. Saskatchewan columnist Doug Cuthandrecently wrote that Canadians may be waking up to face our collective residential school history.  I hope he’s right. And I hope that the same will be said of the Catholic Church in this season.

It has been my experience that defence often follows discomfort when reconciliation is needed. In my Catholic faith tradition, the discomfort can be understood as a gift that invites us to turn back, to repent, to make right. And defensiveness is a self-protective strategy to avoid taking responsibility. Defences divert us (for now, or forever) from being in real relationships with the ones we have had conflict with.

It has been a profoundly difficult few weeks to live in Treaty territory and the homeland of the Métis. To live in a land that welcomes people to safety but cannot guarantee it.

Holding, as an attribute of God, sort of fell out of the sky for me this month. I was looking out the window with wonder at just how many stars we can see without leaving the city in this new-to-us, small(er) city we now call home. As I juggle all the new things, I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it before. The Creator of the Universe is holding time and space in an eternal trajectory.

Imperfection and I have had a rocky relationship. For years, I pretended she didn’t even exist. When she showed up unexpectedly, I dressed her up in different clothes and tried to pass her off as someone else. I recognized, eventually, that she was actually a roommate I despised. And in more recent years, I’ve been trying to be reconciled to my sister. Imperfection has gifts I need, and she has been much more gracious with me than I deserve.

Mess is not a new way of living for our family, but moving has a way of making figurative messes real. Our house is full of boxes, waiting for certainty that we will not need to move again soon.

As fall turned to winter, I found a prayer for life transitions in Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. We were considering a move, in the middle of a pandemic. It all felt very complicated. And the opening line of the prayer resonated with me: “Lord, help me now to unclutter my life, to organize myself in the direction of simplicity.”

“I am enough” is a mantra I’ve carried close to my heart these last few years. Brené Brown taught me about being enough with her meditations on the Gifts of Imperfection. Parenthood forced me to acknowledge both what I cannot do and how to show up imperfectly for my kids. And I have been teetering for the last several weeks on an edge of enough I had not seen before.

Longing is a place I visit frequently, passing through on the way to somewhere else. The floor is worn at the entrance way and in front of the window, where walking gently back and forth has left its mark. The chair is comfortable in its familiarity, having moulded itself to my body’s curves. Since I expect to be moving on to somewhere more important, this little cabin doesn’t get the attention it deserves. But I’ve spent a lot of time in this longing this year. And the longing is wearing its place in me, too.

Space was not on my mind when I began a dream job at 23, four months pregnant.

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