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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Florence Nightingale: Mother of Nursing

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Having worked at Vancouver General Hospital and Woodlands Hospital as a medical Social Worker, I have met many impressive nurses in my life. Recently a nurse lent me a book about the life of Florence Nightingale, the mother of modern nursing. I was astounded by the pervasive lasting impact of Florence’s life. Florence was a one-woman dynamo. Nothing stood in her way. No inefficiency, no corruption, no bureaucracy could ultimately stop her from bringing healing to countless suffering people, particularly those impacted by war. While Florence was a caring individual, she was no ‘pushover’, but rather a brilliant, strong-minded professional, a gifted organizer and statistician. Florence was without a doubt one of the most influential women in the 19th century.

Florence Nightingale is someone who we can all learn from. I am concerned that cultural amnesia may rob us as Canadians of her inspiring story. While her story is still taught in British and South African schools, it is not to be found in the BC public School Curriculum.  Is this not a good time to reconsider Florence’s remarkable ongoing influence?

Florence Nightingale was baptized in the Church of England as an infant in Florence, Italy, where she was born in 1820.  As a child, Florence was very close to her anti-slavery lobbyist father who, without a son, treated her as his friend and companion.  Her father, William Nightingale, a wealthy English landowner, took responsibility for her education and personally taught her Greek, Latin, French, German, Italian, history, philosophy and mathematics.

As a teenager, Florence was converted to Jesus Christ, writing in her diary: ‘God spoke to me and called me to His service’.  But sixteen years were to pass before her life changed to one of service.  Looking back years later, Florence commented: “the ‘Cornerstone’ book which converted me in 1836 –alas! That I should so little have lived up to my conversion.”  In her ‘Spiritual Journey’ Journal, Florence wrote: ‘O God, the Father of an infinite Majesty, give me Thy Holy Spirit twenty times a day to convince me of sin, of righteousness, above all to give me love, a real individual love for everyone.’

Florence’s mother, Fanny Nightingale was a domineering woman primarily concerned with finding her daughter a good husband.  She was therefore upset by Florence’s decision to reject offer of marriage by several suitors, including the well-connected Lord Houghton.  At age of twenty-five, Florence told her parents she wanted to become a nurse. Her parents were totally opposed to the idea, as nursing was associated with alcoholism and prostitution.

In 1851, thirty-one year-old Florence spent three months nursing at the Deaconess Institution at Kaiserswerth, Germany.  Upon returning to her family in England, Florence said: ‘I was treated as if I had come from committing a crime’.  When in 1853 Florence became a Nursing Superintendent in London, her parents wailed, wept, and refused to eat.

In 1854, Florence Nightingale took 38 “handmaidens of the Lord.” (as she called them) to nurse wounded British soldiers in the Crimean War. This was the first time the government had allowed women to do this. Almost all modern nursing systems and techniques we know today can be traced back to her. According to some reports, Florence suffered from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) for the rest of her life.

The Crimean War was, Florence wrote, ‘calamity unparalleled in the history of calamity’.  She became famous as ‘The Lady with the Lamp’.  The wounded along the four miles of beds loved to see her, because she so obviously cared what was happening, and fought for better conditions for them.  One soldier wrote home that the men kissed her shadow on the wall when she passed.

Conditions in this so-called hospital in Scutari, Turkey, were appalling.   No operating tables. No medical supplies. No furniture.  The lack of beds, for example, meant that the best the wounded soldiers could hope for was to be laid on the floor wrapped in a blanket. Rats ran amongst the dying. On occasion, even dead bodies were forgotten about and left to rot.  There had been no washing of linen – and every shirt was crawling with vermin. Florence ordered boilers – and boilers were installed.  Florence was able to demonstrate that for every soldier killed in battle in the Crimean War, seven died of infections and preventable disease. Better food, cleanliness and good sanitation could prevent disease and death.

 Florence was exhausted, the life drained out of her by her struggles in the Crimea. She was only thirty-six, but she felt her work must surely be over.  In fact she had nearly forty years of active working life ahead of her. Although bedridden and unable to walk, she still campaigned tirelessly to improve health standards, publishing over 200 books, reports and pamphlets.  Her book ‘Notes on Nursing’ popularly ranked as one of the two most important scientific books of the 19th century.  One of the keys to Florence Nightingale’s success in improving health conditions was that she took numerous notes on aspects of health care and organized this information in order to analyze it, draw conclusions, and make appropriate changes. In her notes, she used graphical displays of information similar to what are now known as pie charts. She was recognized for her skill in interpreting large amounts of data and standardizing information such as the classification of disease so that different hospitals could compare their findings. As a result, Florence was the first woman to be elected a fellow of the Statistical Society and given the British Order of Merit.

In September 1856 Florence Nightingale received an invitation to visit Queen Victoria. Upon meeting, Queen Victoria complimented Florence, saying: “You have no self-importance or humbug.  No wonder the soldiers love you so.”  Queen Victoria never lost her awe of Florence Nightingale. To her, Florence was the bravest, most independent woman in the British Empire.

For Florence Nightingale, Jesus Christ was “the most important person that ever lived.” She kept a picture of Christ, crowned with thorns, in her bedroom.  The call to relieve suffering was such, said Florence, that we “dishonour Christ when we do not do our best to relieve suffering, even in the meanest creature.  Kindness to sick man, woman and child came in with Christ.”

In her journal, Florence recorded these thoughts: “Personal union with Jesus Christ; without this we are nothing. Father, give me this personal union. Come in, Lord Jesus, come into my heart now. There is no room. Each day more and more of this new year, 1895, and may it be a better and a happier year than any before. So help me/us God!”

Let us give thanks for the life and work of Florence Nightingale, pioneer nurse and handmaid of the Lord who has brought health and healing for countless millions.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-previously published in the North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Colonel Moody and The Port Next Door

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Have you ever given thanks for Colonel Richard Moody and the Royal Engineers who defended us in BC’s first war? Have you ever even heard of BC’s first war?

In 1858, Colonel Moody’s troops steamed north along the Fraser River to Yale on the Enterprise.  Ned McGowan had led a vigilante gang to falsely imprison the Yale Justice of the Peace, PB Whannel.  Ned McGowan had great influence with the vigilantes, as he was both a former Philadelphia Police superintendent implicated in a bank robbery and a former California judge acquitted on a murder charge.  Without Moody’s intervention, the fear was that BC would be quickly annexed to the USA by Ned McGowan’s gang.

Upon arriving in Yale, Colonel Moody and his Sappers from Sapperton were unexpectedly received with ‘vociferous cheering and every sign of respect and loyalty’.  No shots were even fired!  Matthew Begbie the so-called ‘Hanging Judge’, in his first-ever BC Court case, fined McGowan a small amount of £5 for assault, after which he sold his gold-rush stake and promptly returned to California.  BC Premier Armor de Cosmos said of ‘Ned McGowan’s War’  that BC had ‘her first war- so cheap- all for nothing…BC must feel pleased with herself.’

Born on Feb 13 1803 in Barbados, Colonel Moody became the second-most important leader in the formation of BC.  Like our first BC Governor James Douglas who was born in British Guyana, Moody brought Caribbean ingenuity and vision to the frontiers of Western Canada.

Moody had entered the army at an early age.  Moody’s father Thomas was also a Colonel in the Royal Engineers. A graduate of the Royal Academy at Woolich, Moody joined the Royal Engineers in 1830 and served in Ireland and the West Indies, as well as a professor in Woolich.  After Moody had been sick twice from yellow fever, he drew plans submitted to Queen Victoria for restoring Edinburgh Castle.

In 1841 he went to the Falkland Islands as Lieutenant Governor, later Governor where he stayed until 1849.  In 1858 Moody was appointed Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and Lieutenant Governor of the new colony of BC.  Moody was soon sworn in as Deputy to Douglas on the mainland and empowered to take his place, if anything should happen to the Governor.

Moody’s role in the colony was two-fold: to provide military support and to carry out major building projects with the Government considered necessary to keep up with a sudden growth in population and commerce.

Moody’s Sappers were specially trained in surveying, reconnaissance, and constructing roads, bridges, and fortifications.  They represented many trades such as printers, draughtsmen, photographers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and masons.

Colonel Moody and his sappers were sent to BC because of the 1858 BC Goldrush.  On April 25th 1858, 495 gold-rush miners arrived in Victoria.  Governor James Douglas commented that ‘they are represented as being with some exceptions a specimen of the worst of the population of San Francisco – the very dregs in fact of society.’  By the middle of July 1858, the number of American miners exceeded 30,000.  Rev. Lundin Brown held that ‘never in the migration of men had there been seen such a rush, so sudden and so vast.’

Colonel Moody personally chose BC’s first Capital New Westminster, established the Cariboo Wagon Road, and gave us the incalculable gift of Stanley Park.  Moody also named Burnaby Lake (of Burnaby City) after his private secretary Robert Burnaby, and named Port Coquitlam’s 400-foot ‘Mary Hill’ after his dear wife ‘Mary’.

Thanks to Captain George H. Richards who thoroughly surveyed the BC Coast, Colonel Moody’s name has been immortalized in BC history with the city of Port Moody.  The city was established from the end of a trail cut by the Royal Engineers, now known as North Road to connect New Westminster with Burrard Inlet.  Port Moody was developed to defend New Westminster from potential attack from the USA. The town grew rapidly after 1859, following land grants to Moody’s Royal Engineers who then settled there.  All of the officers returned to England, but most of the sappers and their families chose to remain, accepting 150-acre land grants as compensation.  Port Moody was the Canadian Pacific Railway’s original western terminus.

In 1863 Colonel Moody planned to cut a trail from New Westminster to Jericho Beach due west, but Lieutenant Governor Douglas was very much in opposition.  Of this venture, the matter was taken to the Colonial House, London, England, and permission was granted for Colonel Moody to proceed with the trail.  Unfortunately he ran out of money before completion and the trail ended at Burrard Inlet.

Moody’s Royal Engineer detachment was disbanded by Governor James Douglas in 1863.  Only 15 men accompanied Colonel Moody back to England, with the remainder settling in the new colony. These men formed the nucleus of the volunteer soldiers that led to the formation of the BC Regiment twenty years later.

Colonel Moody left his mark not only in the physical but also in the spiritual.  At the conclusion of BC’s ‘Ned McGowan War’, as it was Sunday morning, Colonel Moody invited forty miners to join him at the courthouse for worship.  As no clergy was present, Colonel Moody himself led worship from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

“It was the first time in British Columbia that the Liturgy of our Church was read,” wrote Moody.  “To me God in his mercy granted this privilege.  The room was crowded with Hill’s Bar men…old grey-bearded men, young eager-eyed men, stern middle-aged men of all nations knelt with me before the throne of Grace…”  My prayer for those reading this article is that like Colonel Moody, each of us may leave a lasting impact not only in the physical but also the spiritual.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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My Fair Lady

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Recently I decided to watch one of the great classics ‘My Fair Lady’.  As I entered into the world of 19th century England, I found myself alternately laughing and weeping.  ‘My Fair Lady’ refreshed my soul.

There are so many great lessons to be learnt from the historic classics, including the loverliest motion picture of them all!  ‘My Fair Lady’ in some ways feels like a movie written for the 21st century, because it so accurately names the angst of contemporary gender confusion and role ambiguity.  There is a fascinating dichotomy between the two songs: ‘Why can’t a woman be more like a man?’ and ‘Just you wait, ‘Enry ‘Iggins, just you wait…’  ‘My Fair Lady’ accurately names the ‘flight from woman’ so vividly described by Leanne Payne in her classic book ‘Crisis in Masculinity’.

More than ever, like Liza’s father Alfred Doolittle, many men are afraid to commit to a lasting relationship.  Marriage has become the new four-letter word.

“The gentle sex was made for man to marry but, with a little bit o’ luck, With a little bit o’ luck, You can have it all and not get hooked!”

‘My Fair Lady’ (1964) was honored with twelve Academy Award nominations and eight wins, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Rex Harrison), Best Director (Cukor’s only Best Director award in his career), Best Color Cinematography (in widescreen 70 mm), Best Color Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Sound, Best Score (Andre Previn), and Best Color Costume Design (Cecil Beaton).

My Fair Lady was director George Cukor’s film musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s 1912 play Pygmalion with 2,717 performances on Broadway from 1956 to 1962. ‘My Fair Lady’ became the longest-running production in Broadway history, outdistancing the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical play, Oklahoma!, which had held that record up to then.

Roger Herbert the film critic noted that Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe struggled with turning George Bernard Shaw’s PYGMALION into a musical off and on from 1952.  Prior to that, Rodgers and Hammerstein had worked on it for a year before giving up, defeated.  In 1954, Lerner hit upon the idea of setting to music the things that in Shaw’s play happened off stage between acts.

It is hard to think of a movie that has had so many memorable songs, including: “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Oh, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “The Street Where You Live,” “I’m Getting Married in the Morning,” and “With a Little Bit of Luck.”  The ‘proof of the pudding’ is that for the last two weeks I keep spontaneously breaking into song or whistling hits from ‘My Fair Lady’.

George Bernard Shaw chose the original play’s name ‘Pygmalion’.  Pygmalion was a king of Cyprus and a great sculptor. He, like Henry Higgins, was a confirmed bachelor and lived exclusively for his art.  But one day he fell in love with the statue of a beautiful woman he had made and he prayed that the statue would come alive.  His prayer was heard.  When Pygmalion embraced the statue, it came alive and he married the woman, Galatea, he had himself created.

The show was for a while called LIZA and then LADY LIZA.  Fritz Loewe wanted to call it FANFAROON, an obscure English term for someone who blows his own fanfare.  MY FAIR LADY was picked as the title everyone detested the least!

‘My Fair Lady’ reminded me that many women don’t feel good about being women.  They certainly don’t feel like ‘My Fair Lady’.  Many of them secretly feel like Eliza Doolittle the ‘guttersnipe’ flower girl.  ‘My Fair Lady’ reminds us that God wants to affirm women in their femininity, their beauty, intelligence and worth.

Henri Higgins said to Liza, “Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech, that your native language is the language of Shakespeare and Milton and The Bible.”.  So too Jesus Christ says to each of us: “Remember that you are a human being with a soul”.  Jesus the bridegroom calls all of us spiritually (both men and women!) to be his bride, his beautiful princess beautifully dressed for her husband, washed clean of any stains and wrinkles (Ephesians 5:26, Revelation 21:2).  Just as Liza was received by the King of Transylvania as a princess, so Jesus the King wants to call us ‘My Fair Lady’.  No matter what moral or spiritual gutter that you may fallen into in your life, your truest identity in King Jesus is as ‘My Fair Lady’.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-previously published in the North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Sunny Deep Cove Days

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

I love sunny Deep Cove days!  One sunny day in Deep Cove is worth a hundred rainy ones.  The brilliant green trees, the sun on the water, the sense of being at home, all beckon us back to Deep Cove again and again.  Within five minutes in either direction, there is an abundance of beaches, mountains, forests, and parks.  There is something about Deep Cove that allows one to feel totally freed from the stress of urban madness, while only being just across the bridge from Vancouver, the third largest city in Canada.  Described by one California mountain biker as the ‘sleepy sea side village of Deep Cove’, it was birthed in the early 20th century as a summer vacation resort, only accessible by water.  Despite easy road access, the Cove still carries that ‘genetic code’ of ‘letting go of one’s work-a-day world’.  Unlike many suburbs, Deep Cove has such a deep sense of roots that it even has a thriving Deep Cove Heritage Society , a Deep Cove Cultural Centre, two Deep Cove history books, and even our well-known annual Deep Cove Daze.

There is something about the Cove that calls forth the artist, the painter, and poet deep within us. Michael Hayward, an SFU Computer expert and Deep Cove resident, reminds us in his striking Quicktime VR Panorama of Deep Cove of the fascination that so many of us experience in the midst of such beauty and peace.

Maurice Jasaak in his beautiful photographic website of Deep Cove comments that “Deep Cove is as much a concept as it is a location.” “There is no community in the lower Mainland”, says Jasaak, ” with more of a mystique. Deep Cove is that place that seems forever shrouded in clouds and mists, getting the highest rainfall totals in the region. It is where two bodies of water meet, Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm. It has more recreational opportunities within reach than most other communities. Residents are very possessive of this image. All things considered it is one of my favourite destinations when getting away for a short while is the goal.”

At the visual heart of Deep Cove is the striking Deep Cove Yacht Club which has been in existence since July 31st 1936. During World War II, the clubhouse was requisitioned as an elementary school and it also served as a meeting place for the local Red Cross and Air Raid Precaution organizations.  During its early years, the clubhouse was the focal point for most of the Cove’s social and recreational activities and present Cultural Centre.

Deep Cove is the starting point for hikes along the Baden-Powell Trail that cross the North Shore to Horseshoe Bay, as well as canoe and kayak excursions on Indian Arm. Its waterfront location, only 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, makes the Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre defined. a favorite departure spot for people wishing to enjoy the relatively still waters of the Indian Arm.  Everything about Deep Cove is laid back and yet pushing the boundaries.

As I wrote in the Deep Cove Crier 19 years ago, “Everywhere I look from Panorama Park, my eyes are pierced by trees, a ring of unending trees like a green cocoon that encircles and protects Deep Cove from the intrusions of that other world. There is a stillness about Deep Cove that grips me and will not let go.”  I have been privileged to baptize two groups of people at Panorama Park in Deep Cove.  What a beautiful place to worship God.  How the heavens declare the glory of God at Deep Cove. (Psalm 19).  I thank you, Father, for ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ in this irreplacable setting.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Father of the Fatherless

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Imagine a world in which all dads were suddenly removed from the face of the earth.  What would be missing?  In a nutshell, we would be missing a lot of ‘player coaches’.  Dads at their best love to root for their kids, to cheer them on, to give them tips.  Dads are natural coaches.  But dads are also player coaches.  Dads at their best love to play.  Most dads at heart are over-grown kids who wish that they were back on their childhood baseball diamond, soccer field or hockey rink.  Having kids of one’s own is the perfect excuse to cut loose from adult pressures and reconnect with what really matters.  I want to say to dads: ‘We need you, we appreciate you, and we value your contribution to making our lives a better place’.

I am deeply grateful that family matters so much to my own father.  He invested in me in countless ways that I am just discovering fifty-five years later.  While I loved my father, I took so much of his generosity for granted.  It is only as I invest in my three boys with my time, talent, and treasure, that I understand what an enormous commitment it is to be a caring father.  Commitment is a scary thing.  Family and marriage require from us Dads 110% and more.  I am so grateful that my father never ran from my family.  One of the greatest gifts that my Dad could ever give me is that he is still in love with my Mom.

The longer I live, the more grateful I am for my father.  He has always cheered for me when I have faced life’s obstacles.  As I look at my father, I see confidence, competence, and creativity.  My father never lets anything stop him in his tracks.

Whether he works on his computer or in his workshop, he never lets failure discourage him.  He just tries and tries again, always experimenting with a slightly different technique.  My Dad’s willingness to keep on learning has kept him young at heart.  I pray that in the years ahead that I too may remain teachable, flexible, and willing to take risks.

When a prison chaplain once offered free Mother’s Day cards to inmates, they were all snapped up in minutes.  But when he offered free Father’s Day cards, there were few takers.  Sadly many young men and women today have grown up with little or no experience of a father’s love.  There is often no ‘player coach’ in their lives.  More than ever before, our youth are a fatherless generation.  So much crime, violence, drug usage, and promiscuity flows directly out of the pain of fatherlessness.

One counselor said that fathers are meant to be the ‘halfway house’ between childhood and adulthood.  As Dads bless their teenage sons and daughters, they empower them to be courageous and yet wise, bold and yet discerning.  Without the father’s blessing, many teens feel unwanted, uncared for, and unaffirmed.  This can be equally true for single parent families and workaholic two-parent families.  The tragedy is that fatherlessness so often carries on generation after generation.

Our hearts need to go wide open towards the fatherless.  As the good book tells us, God is the father of the fatherless, the defender of widows and orphans (Psalm 68).  God is turning the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the children back to their fathers (Malachi 4:6).  My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us would experience the Father’s heart of love for his lost sons and daughters.  The Father loves you more than your wildest imagination.  The Father is cheering for you to make the best of your life.  The Father wants to wrap you in his loving arms.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Ten Years Later at the Gym

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Researchers have found that 115 million North Americans made health resolutions on  January 1 – promising themselves to quit smoking, eat better, lose weight, or start a serious exercise program. But within 2 months, only about 63% were still keeping their number one New Year’s resolution.  When one checks a year later, health resolution ‘survivors’ are a greatly diminished remnant.

What is it that gives us the motivation to hang in there when we are seeking to become healthy?   I will now have ‘survived’ ten years of consistently going to the gym, at least two times a week.  I have often been tempted to give up and crawl back on my couch.

One of my best motivators has been my dear wife to whom I have been married for 33 years.  She went to the gym many years before I went and often gently encouraged me to come along with her.  My initial impression was that I felt sorry for people who went to weight rooms.  They seemed rather masochistic to me.  Why would they inflict so much pain upon themselves?  I also felt intimidated by the endless variety of equipment with different levers ‘going in a thousand different directions’.  My fear was that if I pressed the wrong lever in the wrong direction, I might end up at the physiotherapist for the next year!

One of my most fun activities now is to work out at the weight room with my wife.  Every time I see her there, I am filled with admiration that she is taking such good care of herself.  I am looking forward to enjoying with my dear wife a healthy, active future fostered by the very weight training that we are both doing right now.

A second motivation for lasting ten years at the gym has been the ‘personal trainer called pain.  Since my being ‘rear-ended’ in a November ’99 car accident, my neck and shoulder muscles have become very fine-tuned to reminding me when I need to work out.  As long as I exercise at least two times a week, my neck is relatively pain-free, my headaches are down by 90%, and my hips and back are remarkably stable.  As a result, my medical costs for physiotherapy, chiropractic, and massage therapy are down by more than 80%!

But if I slack off and get too busy, I can feel the area of my former injury tightening up again.  The resulting pain and spasms once again will interfere with my work life, family life, and prayer life.  Chastened and reminded, I trundle back off to the gym, to my new friends who have been wondering what has happened to me.  My personal trainer ‘Pain’ can be a remarkable motivator if I will only listen to it and not just medicate it away.

A third motivator for lasting ten years at the gym has been the spiritual benefits.  Modern day life has all kinds of stresses built right into it.  I have found that the consistent discipline of weight training has deepened my sense of inner peace.  Not only has my pain level dropped; my worry level has dropped as well.  Working out actually helps me ‘let go and let God’.

The YMCA and YWCA were birthed out of the realization that all three parts of us need exercising body, mind, and spirit.  There is anonymity at the gym that lets one silently pray without any one else really noticing.  I have found that there is no better equipment than the stationary bike for truly integrating the merits of physical and spiritual fitness.  Over the last two years, the stationary bike and the Book of Common Prayer have become inseparable for me.

The term ‘exercise’ comes from the Greek word ‘gumnazo’ from which we derive the terms ‘gymnastics’ and ‘gym(nasium)’.  Exercise is helping me become more disciplined, a better disciple of my Lord Jesus Christ.  My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us may become more disciplined in our desires to be healthier in body, mind, and spirit.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Nothing Can Separate Us…

 

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

My family and I watched ‘Tagged’, a Canadian movie on CTV about  Jonathan Wamback, a 16 year old boy who was mercilessly bullied,  beaten and left for dead. Repeatedly kicked in the head with steel-toe  boots, Jonathan’s skull was shattered, and he almost died three times on  the way to surgery. After spending his 16th summer in a coma, he  miraculously gradually recovered. When Jonathan was well enough, he had  this overwhelming desire to go back to the very high school where he had  been so badly bullied and rejected. This gripping movie ends with  Jonathan courageously walking back into school like a wounded bird that  would not go away. Nothing could separate Jonathan from his school.

Watching the re-enactment of Jonathan being kicked in the head brought  back vivid memories of myself being kicked in the head at the same age  while surrounded by a frenzied gang. Fortunately for me, I was able to  jump on my 10-speed Pugeot and escape before it was too late. But my  ears ached and rang for days after that. Ashamed, separated, and slimed  by that bullying, I never told my parents until years later.

Years later I now realize that I had nothing to be ashamed of, and in  fact could just as easily have ended up in hospital like Jonathan  Wamback. Bullying kills. Bullying shames. Bullying steals life and joy  from others.

I thank God for Jonathan Wamback who would not let bullies separate him  from his school and his friends. Bullying can so easily fill us with  fear and bitterness. It can so easily separate us from the most  important things in our life.

Until I could forgive my attacker, I was actually in bondage to him  spiritually and emotionally. Once I could begin to forgive him, I began  to be free. I learnt that unforgiveness and bitterness is like a wall  that separates people from our life. My desire for revenge created a  spiritual apartheid that left me cut off and shut down. When I met Jesus  Christ in Grade 12, I experienced such forgiveness and joy that my  family initially worried about me. Later they came to see that this new  inner peace was more than one more passing fad. The wall of emotional  apartheid, created by bullying, was gone.

This amazing inner peace has taught me that nothing can separate me from  those I love. Nothing can separate me from those who care for me.  Nothing can separate me from the things that really matter in life.  Nothing can separate me from my faith and deepest values. I am convinced  that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the  present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor  anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God that  is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38). No bully, no bitterness, no  bigotry can rob me of love, can rob me of faith, can rob me of  forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

My prayer for those reading this article  is that nothing will separate us from the amazing love of God found in  Jesus Christ.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s  Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

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