Thursday, July 30, 2009

You Are Not Alone

Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.

There are times when I might wish I were alone. Oh, to capture a few moments by myself away from the noise of people who want or need something from me. But I usually want back into my life in a few minutes, back to dealing with whatever it was I wanted a break from.

We aren't meant to be alone, and few of us want to be alone. Even on the cross, Jesus knew the loneliness of death: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" It is also in that moment that Christ bore all our real loneliness, our alienation from life and God.

But we don't need to be alone. What we need is to not only develop a better sense of God's ever-presence to us, but the need for our our ever-presence to others.

You see, in those moments I seek for myself, I am not seeking alone-ness. I am seeking solitude, which is simply a way of using our environment to create the conditions that allows our personalities to reemerge, without the radiation and distraction of other peoples' influences. And in solitude - free from the immediate influence from others - we can see them as they really are: people who need our ever-presence, and people who need our prayers and empathy.

Take those moments when you are alone, and make them moments of solitude: rediscover yourself. If you can do that, you will never be lonely again.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Ressurection and the Life

I am bringing my blog back from the dead. Hopefully soon, I can explain to you how and why that happened. But for now, I am simply rejoicing in the fact that I did it, and that I have a good reason for it.

So what should be the first thing that I will talk about? I think I've picked the cleverest topic of all, after such a long absence – ressurection, or if you will, life after death. I've been reading about Near Death Experiences tonight; and what is striking about them is that they show no religious preference. Atheists who neither believed in nor wanted an afterlife are as prone to them as the most devout believer.

A common facet of the Near Death Experience is the approach of a being of all-encompassing love. And while I haven't had that particular experience, I have had the experience of that all loving being, once a long time ago when my wife was pregnant. Even though I was not a believer, not someone looking for supernatural comfort, I got it - and I got it from a being whose love was so complete that it was both gentle (like a warm blanket) and so fierce that it could swallow you whole.

For a while, in my life and in this blog, I was sometimes hesitant to give that all-loving being a name. Oh, I was never hesitant in church, where I sang and played. But a bit fearful and hesitant of offending people outside church who are not Christians, I would avoid saying it – Jesus.

I've learned not to be, because I've learned that a God whose love is limitless denies nothing about any of these religions that is good. Nor does he deny anything good about a person who has no religion.

On the contrary, Jesus represents every dream, every hope any Muslim ever dared dream about Heaven – every great metaphor Muslims know for Heaven, it is all that and more, in the name of He who indeed is The Beneficent, The Merciful! Jesus is the fulfillment of every hope for reincarnation that any Hindu has ever had, since in fact he IS the reincarnation, and the life – a true rebirth into joy that in fact is the penultimate return of the soul made clean and whole. And He IS the very Nirvana, the enlightenment Buddhists seek.

He is NOT a denial of these pure and good things. He is their very fulfillment, the way in which this broken world meets its most noble aspirations. We dream big things, but we do not often have a way of getting there. Love – love itself, in name, is that way.

I've found the way, and it has been to my great joy. It is said the way is narrow, and perhaps it is. But I do believe the way is found at the conjunction where all the roads meet.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be as well. Matthew 6:21

Thursday, May 14, 2009


My wife came up to me on the computer, put her arms around me and said, "I love you." I looked at her and I could tell she meant to mean it.

"A sudden burst of romantic feeling?" I teased.

"No, just the warm and fuzzies," she answered with a smile, as she headed for the kitchen.

I love being loved. It is the most wonderful feeling in the world.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm still here!

I've been busy. I take my granddaughter to the park just about every week night, and she still calls me "Dad", though we've all been working pretty hard to call me "Grampa" in front of her. She just won't!

I've played two weddings in the last little while. I bought a piano, which is something I've long wanted. My parents generously offered to buy me this really nice set of pickups for my Fender Telecaster. I had some trouble with them, however.

When the store put them in, only one of the pickups was good. He had to put the guitar back together twice, because I found a problem with how it sounded in the middle blade. Then last night, the pickup collapsed through the pick guard, as one of the screws holding it on had not been set properly. I took the guitar apart myself (something I have not done in twenty years), and fixed it.

I recorded this song to test it out, afterwards. This piece is notable for also featuring my new piano. :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Yes, checking in for June... making sure I don't completely abandon this blog.

For the last many months, my little granddaughter has been picking up lots of words here and there. She mastered "HERE!" very early, and can say "Dora", and "oh maaan!" (Swiper the Fox's line from Dora.) She calls grapes "apes", and will repeat most words for things she finds interesting. She knows her food is "hot" and that her aunt is "AERRIE!"

In the last couple of weeks she's found a name for me too. She calls me "Dad." Coming down the stairs late last night after I flew home from Toronto, her eyes went wide and she said, "Dad!" clear as a bell. There was no more denying it. Guess she hears the kids call me that.

To tell you the truth, flattered as I am, I'm a bit disappointed. I was so looking forward to "Grampa."

Friday, May 23, 2008


The "unofficial" start to Summer in Canada is usually Victoria Day long weekend, which just passed. That is the day when you open up cottages and fight off the bugs. Well we certainly fought off the bugs when we visited my brother in law this last weekend. I have never seen so many mosquitoes - I spent the whole weekend in a bug net, and still have arms full of bites.

But I am happy about the impending arrival of summer. Happy enough to appreciate the sentiment of this old hymn.

Joyful, joyful, we adore thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
hearts unfold like flowers before thee,
opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness,
fill us with the light of day!

Henry Van Dyke

Friday, May 2, 2008

Mount Snowdump

Well, the days are starting to warm up. Near where I work, however, are the giant snow hills created by the past year's snow removal efforts. They don't usually use this area as a snow dump, but the record snowfall necessitated it.

While some of the snow hills are shrinking, one particularly large snow hill, nearly 150 feet in height I suspect, has become the neighbourhood Mount Kilimanjaro. I usually take a great delight in the spring at seeing the last pile of snow. However, with the size of Mount Snowdump, I fear I may be saying goodbye to the snow in September instead.