Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


4 Comments

Lessons from Gandhi

By The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

My wife, being a prolific reader of novels, is always going with me to return books to the local library.  At the very front of libraries is a section for recommended new books.  While there, I was pleased to find a brand new book Gandhi Before India.  It was news to me that Gandhi was excommunicated by his own Bania caste from daring to go to England to become a lawyer: “For his transgression, the boy would be treated as an outcaste; anyone who spoke to him or went to see him off would be fined.”[1]  Gandhi’s family sacrificed greatly to send him to England, even pawning the family jewels.    While in England, Gandhi for the first time read the Bible, finding the New Testament compelling, especially the Sermon on the Mount. [2]  As Gandhi commented,  it ‘went straight to my heart’.   The lines about offering one’s cloak to the man who had taken away one’s coat touched him greatly.[3]  Gandhi demonstrated that the  Sermon  on the Mount will radically change one’s life and one’s society if put into practice.

After completing his law degree in England, Gandhi returned to India for a short while before moving to South Africa.  While there are numerous books on Gandhi, many skip over Gandhi’s foundational twenty-one years in South Africa.  Even the excellent Gandhi movie by Richard Attenborough doesn’t do justice to the prolonged complexity to Gandhi’s time in South Africa.  Dr. E Stanley Jones commented that South Africa provided the rehearsal for the real drama of India: “He might have floundered had he tried India straight off.”[4]  Sadly in South Africa when Gandhi was most interested in the Gospel, he encountered the greatest restrictions: “To allow Gandhi to sit along white worshippers was impossible.  The vicar’s wife, out of solidarity and sympathy, offered to sit with him in the vestibule, from where they heard the service.”[5]  One of the people who had the greatest impact on Gandhi was Leo Tolstoy, especially his book The Kingdom of God is within You: “he was ‘overwhelmed by the independent thinking, profound morality, and the truthfulness of this book.”[6]  Gandhi purchased and gave out even to his jailers countless copies of Tolstoy’s ground-breaking book on peacemaking in the Sermon on the Mount.[7]

Upon returning to India, Gandhi was initially rejected by other Indians who feared that they might become ritually polluted by even offering a cup of water to someone of the wrong caste.[8]  When Gandhi successfully stood up for their rights, he became hailed as a hero and liberator.  Gandhi campaigned nonviolently for the independence of India for numerous decades, spending 2,089 days in Indian jails (almost six years).[9]

Dr. E Stanley Jones described Gandhi as the architect of the new India.[10] In many ways, Gandhi was like an Abraham Lincoln bringing freedom to hundreds of millions of his fellow citizens.  Louis Fischer compared Gandhi to David standing up to the Goliath of racial discrimination.[11]  Gandhi went from being an initial supporter of caste discrimination to being a campaigner against its divisiveness. Jones commented:

…in his life, (Gandhi) breaks all the rules of caste, transcends them, adopts an outcaste as his daughter, and in the end does more to break down the system of caste than any other man, living or dead.”[12]

Jones held that “in Gandhi the word of freedom became flesh. When he spoke, freedom spoke. Gandhi was India.”[13]  Most people believe in democratic freedom.  Not many are willing to sacrifice over many decades to obtain such goals.  Before Gandhi, it was mostly the Indian intelligentsia campaigning for democracy.  Because Gandhi humbled himself and unselfishly served the poor and untouchables, both rich and poor awoke to the vision of an independent India.[14]  Gandhi made room for all regardless of race, religion and wealth.  Albert Einstein said regarding Gandhi: “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”[15]  In reading Jones’ book Gandhi: Portrayal of a Friend, Martin Luther King Jr. was inspired to launch the nonviolent Civil Rights Movement.[16]

Jones described the complexity of Gandhi’s personality as like Mount Everest:

Gandhi was simple and yet very complex amid that simplicity. You thought that you knew him and then you didn’t.  It was intriguing. There was always something there that eluded your grasp, that baffled you. And yet out of that many-sidedness which amounted to complexity, there arose simplicity, a unified character, simple and compelling.[17]

In an India full of racial, religious and economic division, Gandhi brought people together, giving them a vision for an independent democratic India.  Gandhi , whose favorite hymn was ‘When I survey the Wondrous Cross’, chose the costly way of the cross, of sacrificial love even for his enemies.[18]  On the wall of his mud hut was a black and white picture of Jesus Christ under which was written ‘He is our peace’.[19]  Gandhi was a peace-maker who chose to forgive those who despised him and rejected him.   Every day he would read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, motivating Gandhi to peacefully love his adversaries.   Jones, who had been a friend of Gandhi in India for many years, said once to him: ‘You understand the principles. Do you know the person?’  Gandhi was very drawn to the person of Jesus Christ.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we may embrace both the principles and person of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. 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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

[1] Ramachanadra Guha, Gandhi Before India (Random House Canada, Toronto, 2014), p. 34-35.

[2] Guha, p. 45.

[3] Guha, p. 45.

[4] E Stanley Jones, Gandhi: Portrait of a Friend (Abingdon, Nashville, 1948), p. 18.

[5] Guha, p. 83.

[6] Guha, p. 85.

[7] Guha, p.308: “Before he left Volksrust Prison (in 1908), he presented a kindly warder with an inscribed copy of Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God is within You.”

[8] Guha, p. 225 “Raj Kumar Shukla took Gandhi to Champaran and Patna the capital of Bihar. …since no one knew their caste, even the servants shunned them. The maids refused to draw from the garden well when Gandhi used it, for fear that even a drop of water from Gandhi’s bucket might pollute them.”

[9] Guha, p. P.160.

[10] E Stanley Jones, Gandhi: Portrait of a Friend (Abingdon, Nashville, 1948), p. 1.

[11] Louis Fischer, Gandhi: his life & message for the world (Signet Classics, New York, NY, 1954, 1982), p. 20.

[12] Jones, p. 6; Arthur Herman, Gandhi and Churchill (Bantam Dell, New York, NY, 2008), p. 120-121 The early Gandhi in 1921 supported caste discrimination: “Prohibition against intermarriage and interdining (between Hindu castes) is essential for the rapid evolution of the soul.” By 1932, he rejected such prohibitions. By 1946, he only permitted inter caste weddings on his premise.

[13] Jones, p. 32.

[14] Jones, p. 22 “…it was Gandhi who aroused (the rural people), made them shed their fears, and made them conscious of their destiny. Before the advent of Gandhi, the nationalist movement was among the intellectuals.”

[15] The Words of Gandhi, selected by Richard Attenborough (Newmarket Press, New York, NY, 1982), p.9.

[16] http://www.estanleyjonesfoundation.com/about-esj/esj-biography  King: “…it was his (Jones’) book that triggered my use of Gandi’s method of nonviolence as a weapon for my own people’s freedom in the United States.” (accessed May 4th 2015)

[17] Jones, p. 5.

[18] Guha, p. 582 “(At the end of his final fast) the girls sang his favorite hymn When I survey the Wondrous Cross.”; Jones, p. 39, p. 141.

[19] Fischer, p. 141.


Leave a comment

Preface to my sequel “Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit’

by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

 

Preface

We have all been painfully stuck.  Being at a key transition-point in our lives, we do not know how to move forward, finding ourselves immobilized.[i] I have been there many times.  My perfectionism makes it worse.   A key turning point for me was when as I attended a Leadership Conference at the University of Kent in England.[ii]  Walking into a seminar, God ‘whispered’ to me that I would be receiving a message. The Rev Freda Meadows suddenly called me out of the crowd and gave me a specific prophetic message, saying:

You don’t need to run in keeping up with others.  Enter into God’s rest.  Keep your eye on the finishing line which is Him.  You will be moving into new things, having words of knowledge. You will be gifted in this area.  You are in an apprenticeship time at present.  You will disciple others.  You are a man of God’s Word, things of the Kingdom. You are a person of vision, a long-range visionary.  God is going to put you in a key place and you will find yourself training and discipling others.[iii]

I had no idea how powerfully God was going to use the 1998 Pre-Lambeth Leadership Conference.  Most of us as North American Anglicans were still stuck in the ‘inside strategy’ mindset.  Being conflict-avoiders, we were going to ‘fix’ the North American Anglican churches while still inside the old institution.  This virus of institutionalism can slip inside the mind of even the most sincere believer, turning us toxic.  It is so easy to become the hollow, stuffed men of TS Eliot’s poem: “We are the hollow men. We are the stuffed men Leaning together…”[iv]  We Canadians were still quite ‘gung-ho’ at the Canterbury Leadership Conference, but the Americans were unusually quiet. They lacked their usual American ‘get-up-and-go’ attitude.  When Americans go quiet, you can tell that something is up.

At the official Canadian night, Bishop Eddie Marsh of Central   Newfoundland invited the Americans to come up and share.  I will never forget how our American colleagues Bishop Alex Dickson and Dr. (now Bishop) John Rodgers stood up and repented to our African colleagues for the shame that the USA had brought on the Anglican Church, and for Bishop John Spong’s castigating African Anglicans as just one step out of animism and witchcraft.[v]

“(Bishop Spong) has insulted you.  We are ashamed for him; we are ashamed for ourselves.  We ask your forgiveness and we assure you that he does not speak for us.”[vi]

Hundreds of African bishops and clergy spontaneously flocked forward and hugged the Americans, weeping and declaring God’s forgiveness.  Todd Wetzel of Anglicans United said that ‘this was one of the American Church’s finest moments in decades.’  This prophetic action of repentance and forgiveness was a new beginning for Anglican Christians around the world.

I am convinced that we are not to despise prophecy, and that the prophetic gift is still in operation today.  Prophecy does not just address the global picture.  It can also address our personal situations, even regarding writing a book.  Through prayer, I have received very clear direction about the topic of this current book.[vii]   Pushing through our toxic stuckness is key to restoring health, and key to strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders.

The purpose of prophecy is to encourage, build, and strengthen.[viii]  Yes, all prophecies have to be tested.  As children of the New Covenant, we only prophesy in part.[ix]  Prophecies help me push through my ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’.  In the 21stcentury, a sensitive use of the gifts of prophecy and exhortation will be essential to getting unstuck, to becoming a healthier and more Christlike leader.  As Paul said to Timothy, by following prophecies made about us, we leaders more effectively ‘fight the good fight’ and live out our daily lives.[x]  Out of these prophetic encounters, I have become convinced that North America desperately needs to recover from its toxicity, and that the key to restoring its health is found in strengthening  a new generation of holistically healthy leaders, as illustrated in the person of Titus.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. 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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

[i] Terry B Walling, Stuck!, (ChurchSmart Resources, 2008),  p. XIII “Without transitions, and the paradigm shifts that occur, Christ followers would stay stuck!”,

[ii] This Pre-Lambeth Leadership Conference was jointly sponsored by Anglican Renewal Ministries/ARM and SOMA/Sharing of Ministries Abroad.  I was serving as the Chair of ARM Canada.

[iii] Freda Meadows ministers with the International New Wine Director Rev Bruce Collins http://www.new-wine.org; Ten years later, the Rev Freda gave further insight into the 1998 Canterbury prophecy, saying:

“…the underlying thrust was to trust God for the outcome of the plans He had in using you.  While you were to do all that was necessary, it was not for you to try and make anything happen.  But you were to follow the Lord’s leading using the gifts and skills He gave in the best way you knew and through what you had learned as your experience grew.”

[iv] http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/784/

[v]  “African Christians? They’re just a step up from witchcraft: What Bishop Spong had to say about his fellow Christians, John Spong interviewed by Andrew Carey, Church of England Newspaper, July 10th 1998.  Newspaper & Andrew Carey. “They’ve moved out of animism into a very superstitious kind of Christianity. They’ve yet to face the intellectual revolution of Copernicus and Einstein that we’ve had to face in the developing world. That’s just not on their radar screen.”

[vi] Doug LeBlanc, Lambeth, 1998, “Episcopal Dissidenta, African Allies”, Dr Miranda Hassett,University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill,  http://anglicanhistory.org/academic/hassett2004.pdf

[vii] On October 17th Wednesday 2008 while at the Anglican Coalition Clergy Retreat at Cedar Springs, I received a distinct impression from the Lord while in deep quiet group prayer: “Yes, it is Titus.”  While attending the Henry Wright ‘Be in Health’ conference, I heard a still small voice saying: “Write 3rd book on Titus for North American Audience.”

[viii] 1 Corinthians 14:3

[ix]  1st Thessalonians 5: 19-21: Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.; 1 Corinthians 13:9.

[x] 1 Timothy 1:18, 4:14

Posted by Ed Hird+ at 12:29 No comments: Links to this post   

Labels: 1998AfricaAmericansAnglicanBishop Eddie MarshBishop John RodgersBishop John Spong,CanadianshealthyleadersleadershipNewfoundlandperfectionismPre-Lambethprophecyreststuck,TS Eliot


2 Comments

WordPress now tells me which countries my visitors are coming from…

2012-02-09 to Today (350,744 visitors so far)

Country

Views

United States FlagUnited States

3,774

Canada FlagCanada

1,551

United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom

1,253

Australia FlagAustralia

246

Philippines FlagPhilippines

225

India FlagIndia

174

Brazil FlagBrazil

147

Mexico FlagMexico

115

Turkey FlagTurkey

108

Netherlands FlagNetherlands

106

Germany FlagGermany

104

Poland FlagPoland

97

France FlagFrance

91

Italy FlagItaly

90

Malaysia FlagMalaysia

70

Sweden FlagSweden

60

Indonesia FlagIndonesia

60

South Africa FlagSouth Africa

57

Ireland FlagIreland

57

New Zealand FlagNew Zealand

55

Portugal FlagPortugal

55

Singapore FlagSingapore

51

Spain FlagSpain

51

Czech Republic FlagCzech Republic

49

Norway FlagNorway

48

Switzerland FlagSwitzerland

44

Denmark FlagDenmark

44

United Arab Emirates FlagUnited Arab Emirates

41

Croatia FlagCroatia

41

Hungary FlagHungary

40

Hong Kong FlagHong Kong

39

Thailand FlagThailand

35

Romania FlagRomania

34

Russian Federation FlagRussian Federation

33

Austria FlagAustria

31

Pakistan FlagPakistan

29

Greece FlagGreece

29

Belgium FlagBelgium

28

Slovakia FlagSlovakia

26

Jamaica FlagJamaica

23

Peru FlagPeru

23

Korea, Republic of FlagRepublic of Korea

23

Japan FlagJapan

22

Viet Nam FlagViet Nam

20

Cyprus FlagCyprus

20

Israel FlagIsrael

18

Sri Lanka FlagSri Lanka

18

Bulgaria FlagBulgaria

17

Finland FlagFinland

16

Jordan FlagJordan

15

Guatemala FlagGuatemala

15

Dominican Republic FlagDominican Republic

15

Chile FlagChile

14

Saudi Arabia FlagSaudi Arabia

14

Slovenia FlagSlovenia

14

Ukraine FlagUkraine

14

Venezuela FlagVenezuela

13

Georgia FlagGeorgia

13

Egypt FlagEgypt

13

Lebanon FlagLebanon

12

Serbia FlagSerbia

11

Colombia FlagColombia

11

Taiwan, Province of China FlagTaiwan

11

Iceland FlagIceland

11

Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of FlagMacedonia

10

Malta FlagMalta

10

Puerto Rico FlagPuerto Rico

10

Rwanda FlagRwanda

10

Lithuania FlagLithuania

10

Bosnia and Herzegovina FlagBosnia and Herzegovina

10

Honduras FlagHonduras

9

Nepal FlagNepal

8

Qatar FlagQatar

8

Kenya FlagKenya

7

Moldova, Republic of FlagMaldova

7

Trinidad and Tobago FlagTrinidad and Tobago

6

Ghana FlagGhana

6

Nigeria FlagNigeria

6

Argentina FlagArgentina

6

Panama FlagPanama

6

Bahrain FlagBahrain

6

Costa Rica FlagCosta Rica

5

Cambodia FlagCambodia

5

Bangladesh FlagBangladesh

5

Bahamas FlagBahamas

4

Estonia FlagEstonia

4

Latvia FlagLatvia

4

El Salvador FlagEl Salvador

4

Montenegro FlagMontenegro

4

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines FlagSaint Vincent and the Grenadines

4

Bhutan FlagBhutan

4

Guyana FlagGuyana

3

Belarus FlagBelarus

3

Armenia FlagArmenia

3

Iraq FlagIraq

3

Namibia FlagNamibia

3

Nicaragua FlagNicaragua

2

Luxembourg FlagLuxembourg

2

Côte d'Ivoire FlagCôte d’Ivoire

2

China FlagChina

2

Bolivia FlagBolivia

2

Benin FlagBenin

2

Ethiopia FlagEthiopia

2

Barbados FlagBarbados

2

Myanmar FlagMyanmar

2

Aruba FlagAruba

2

Ecuador FlagEcuador

2

Djibouti FlagDjibouti

2

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya FlagLibyan Arab Jamahiriya

2

Belize FlagBelize

2

Mongolia FlagMongolia

2

Mauritius FlagMauritius

1

Grenada FlagGrenada

1

Algeria FlagAlgeria

1

Paraguay FlagParaguay

1

Saint Kitts and Nevis FlagSaint Kitts and Nevis

1

American Samoa FlagAmerican Samoa

1

Albania FlagAlbania

1

Guam FlagGuam

1

Yemen FlagYemen

1

Botswana FlagBotswana

1

Jersey FlagJersey

1

Maldives FlagMaldives

1

Macao FlagMacao

1

Morocco FlagMorocco

1

Cayman Islands FlagCayman Islands

1

Zambia FlagZambia


1 Comment

Forgetting Valentine’s Day…

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Valentine’s Day rolls around every year without fail.  Husbands forget Feb 14th at their peril.  Somehow our wives interpret our forgetting Valentine’s Day as a sign that we don’t care, that we may be putting other priorities like work and sports above them.  So, husbands, be warned.  Flowers are much cheaper than lawyers.

 

After forty-one years of marriage, I love my wife more now than I have ever loved her.  To celebrate our 30th Anniversary, we flew to England to visit with our youngest son, serving then as a youth missionary in Newcastle.  It is an amazing gift to be married to someone whom you really like to be with.  My wife has been that gift to me.  She has been so loyal in supporting our 31-year ministry at St. Simon’s North Vancouver from 1987 to 2018.  That is why I dedicated my book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’ “with gratitude to my dear wife who has been married to me for almost thirty years, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”  You can imagine that it is not easy to be married to a clergyman, especially with the challenges that faithful Anglicans have been facing in North America.

 

My wife served as our St. Simon’s NV Music Director, co-ordinating several different choirs and contemporary worship bands.  Archbishop David Somerville, who first ordained me, once said that if the devil ever gets into the church, he will come in through the choir.  Because music is so closely connected to worship, it makes sense why music can easily be contentious.  Sometimes people have worship wars over contemporary songs vs. traditional hymns.  At St. Simon’s NV, we decided in 1996 to honour both expressions by offering both a traditional 9am BCP service and a contemporary 10:30am service.  Because my dear wife is musically bilingual, she is able to encourage both expressions with integrity.  Unlike many church choir directors who are always quitting and creating havoc, my dear wife has been a source of musical stability for the past two decades.  Dynamic music is a key to a vibrant, healthy Church.

 

My wife and  I went to Winston Churchill High School in Vancouver, both graduating thirty-nine years ago in 1972.  But we only really noticed each other from a distance.  We became friends while taking the bus home from the University of British Columbia.  She was in Music naturally, and I was in Social Work, dreaming about becoming an Anglican priest.  For around a year, we were only good friends.  But eventually the penny dropped and I saw the light.  My wife really impressed me with her great listening skills, her good sense of humour, and her hard work.

Finally one day in 1975, I invited her to go bike-riding to Little Mountain in Vancouver.  The rest is history.  Coming back from our second bike ride, I said to her, “Don’t take me too seriously, but relative to two days, I would like to spend the rest of my life with you.”  For some reason, this shocked her.  But she got over it, and we quickly moved to become engaged.  When I introduced her to my mother, my mom said something that she had never said before: “The woman who marries Ed will need to have quarters for the bus”.  What she meant is that while I have strong leadership giftings, I work best when I am complimented by someone with strong administrative giftings, who pays attention to the details.

 

In my first Valentine’s Day article for the Deep Cove Crier thirty years ago, I wrote: “Why do I still enjoy Valentines Day?  It’s because all of us have a need to feel loved, even when you’re married.  So often romantic love can fade imperceptibly from a marriage.  In the busyness of children, work, school and sports, our marriage can easily get lost in the shuffle.  Marriage Counselors tell us that romantic love is one of the greatest lacks in modern marriages.  The bible reminds each husband to love his wife as his own body, to love his wife as he loves himself, to love his wife just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5).

 

Husbands, let’s surprise our wives on February 14th and make our family homes the most romantic spot on Planet Earth!”

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. 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 $4.99 CDN/USD.


2 Comments

Louis Riel and Nicholas Flood Davin

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

            Davin and Riel were perhaps our most famous Western Canadian pioneers.  Louis Riel called for the creation of a new Canadian province. Nicholas Flood Davin called for the hanging of Louis Riel.  “Riel is not a hero,”[1] said Davin. “…If Riel is not hanged, then capital punishment should be abolished.”[2] Both died tragically, Riel on the end of a noose, Davin by his own hands.

            Born in Kilfinane, Ireland, Davin served as a journalist in the Franco-Prussian war, seeing bodies piled six-deep.[3] Reporters in those days were often arrested as spies, being required by the governments to print false information in order to throw off the enemy. This is one of the reasons why reporters in England were not given bylines, so as to protect the freedom of the press.[4]  Davin then became the editor of the new Belfast Times, but was dismissed after being so drunk that he reused his previous article from the Sheffield Times. Davin was so offended that he sued them for wrongful dismissal, demanding 5,000 pounds and being awarded only 50 pounds by the courts.[5]

            Being a keen observer of social interactions, Davin surprisingly commented that ‘the pulpit occupied almost the whole ground occupied by the newspaper today…The Editor has superseded the preacher.”[6]  After being commissioned by Prime Minister John A MacDonald to study the American residential schools, Davin the future federal MP wrote the infamous confidential Davin Report which resulted in our First Nations being subjected to the Residential School tragedy.[7]  The indigenous people already went to day-schools run by various churches, but Davin was not satisfied, racistly saying “The child, again, who goes to a day school learns little, and what little he learns is soon forgotten, while his tastes are fashioned at home, and his inherited aversion to toil is in no way combated.”[8]  Sadly both the Canadian government and the Canadian churches uncritically accepted the Davin Report claim that “it was found that the day-school did not work, because the influence of the wigwam was stronger than the influence of the school. (p. 1)”

By hastily imitating the apparent success of the American native residential schools, great and lasting harm was done. The Davin Report patronizingly said: “The experience of the United States is the same as our own as far as the adult Indian is concerned. Little can be done with him. He can be taught to do a little at farming, and at stock-raising, and to dress in a more civilized manner, but that is all.”[9] The Davin Report is ground zero to the deep wound that we inflicted on the First Nations.  With Prime Minister Harper’s apology two years ago, our First Nations have only begun to recover from decades of residential school-inflicted trauma.[10] The impressive new ‘People of the Inlet’ film by the local Tsleil Waututh First Nation shows what great courage people like the late Chief Dan George showed in rebuilding his devastated people.

           After serving as a reporter in Toronto, Davin became editor in 1883 of the brand-new Regina Leader newspaper.[11] My great-grandmother Mary Anderton McLean, after taking journalism at a  women’s college in Kirkland Ontario, served as one of Davin’s reporters covering the Louis Riel crisis.  My late Uncle Don Allen, who was passionate about history, often told us about this period, noting how sympathetic his grandmother was to Riel’s plight. Davin carried on the British tradition of not listing as a byline the names of the reporters who wrote for the Regina Leader.  This was helpful for my great-grandmother Mary in protecting her from arrest by the RCMP when she snuck in disguised as a Roman Catholic priest confessor to obtain an interview with Louis Riel. Mary McLean quotes Davin “the officer in command of the LEADER (saying) ‘An interview must be had with Riel if you have to outwit the whole police force of the North-West’.”[12]  Because Davin protected her anonymity, some writers like CB Koester and his fellow playwright Ken Mitchell have popularized the myth that Davin himself disguised himself as that priest.[13]  While waiting for my throat operation in May 1982, I spent a week with my late Uncle Don Allen who carefully explained to me about his grandmother’s interview with Louis Riel.  “When I first saw you on the trial, I loved you” was said by Riel to Mary McLean, not to the man Davin who was calling for his hanging.[14]

           The November 19th 1885 edition of the Regina Leader could not be clearer  that Davin himself was not the reporter who was disguised as a Roman Catholic priest. Instead Davin is described several times by the reporter as the proprietor and the editor in chief, both terms prominently displayed by Davin’s name in editions of the Regina Leader.[15]  Mary McLean also writes in the article about another female reporter (code-named Saphronica) who earlier failed to get entrance, most likely referring to Kate Simpson-Hayes, Davin’s mistress.[16]

           This confusing of Mary McLean’s Riel interview with Davin forced CB Koester to ‘contort himself into knots’ suggesting that for Davin, there was two Riels, one the rebel who Davin wanted to hang, and another Riel to whom Davin was compassionate.[17]  Such verbal gymnastics were entirely unnecessary if one simply acknowledge that it was the female reporter, not the male editor-in-chief/proprietor, who did Riel’s final interview.

           After having two children with Davin, his mistress Kate Simpson-Hayes gave the children away and became a reporter in Winnipeg.[18]  When Davin then married Eliza Reid, he brought his six-year-old son Henry to live with him as a ‘nephew’, but was unable to locate his daughter.[19]  In Davin and Kate’s final argument over the daughter, Kate said to him: “You go your way. I’ll go mine”, symbolically pointing to the Winnipeg Free Press building.[20]  Davin was so crushed that he bought a gun and shot himself on Oct 18th 1901 at the Winnipeg Clarendon Hotel.[21]

           The tragic ending to the lives of both Riel and Davin reminds us that our Canadian history has much pain and trauma which can only be resolved through reconciliation and forgiveness.  May the Prince of Peace bring deep restoration to the painful wounds left by Canada’s residential school tragedy.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-Award-winning author of Battle for the Soul of Canada (which includes five pages on Louis Riel and Mary MacFadyen McLean).

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. 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 $4.99 CDN/USD.


[1] CB Koester, Mr Davin, M.P.: a Biography of Nicholas Flood Davin, Western Producer Prairie Books, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 1980, p. 64

[2] Koester, p. 65, quoting the Daily Regina Leader, “Riel Agitation”, August 15th 1885

[3] Koester, p. 2, p.13

[4] Koester, p.11 “Neither of these appointments (by Davin to the Irish Times and the London Standard) can be substantiated by external evidence…it was the accepted practice for the newspapers to preserve their correspondents in dignified anonymity.”

[5] Koester, p. 16, Davin sued them for wrongful dismissal and settled for six weeks salary…He vented his anger in a letter to the News-Letter editor.  Clarke, Davin’s former boss, brought a libel suit against Henderson of the News-Letter for 5000 pounds, given 50 pounds by court. Davin left unemployed at almost age 33, with his pride severely wounded.

[6] Koester, p. 31 Davin comments “No one can read the sermons of Chrysostom or Hugh Latimer, or follow the life and times of John Knox, without seeing that each of these divines was the journalist of his day.  The pulpit occupied, in addition to its legitmate sphere, almost the whole ground occupied by the newspaper today…All business of life was the preacher’s domain.”

[7] http://www.canadianshakespeares.ca/a_grit.cfm “Davin also authored the invidious (and confidential) Davin Report of 1879, a study of the way in which Americans socialized young Natives in residential schools ( see http://www.turtleisland.org/resources/resources001.htm and http://www.irsr-rqpi.gc.ca/english/) . The study paved the way for Canada’s scandalously racist policies towards Native youth and their mistreatment in the Canadian Residential School system, which effectively destroyed familial relations by virtually kidnapping children to be socialized into so-called civil society, a policy that led to generations of cultural damage to First Nations peoples throughout Canada.” To read first-hand the tragic Davin Report, click on The Davin Report .

[8] http://www.canadianshakespeares.ca/a_grit.cfm “The report, archived in its entirety in the CASP Essays and Documents section, takes note of the American policy of “aggressive civilization” towards its indigenous populations, a policy implemented by the hypocritically named “Peace Commission” (after a law passed by Congress in 1869), which sought to abolish “tribal relation[s]” and to do away with communal lands while consolidating Native populations “on few reservations.”

[9] In rushing into starting native residential schools, Davin disregarded advice not only from the local Catholic hierarchy, but also from the Anglican Bishops and Metis elders. They also said ‘no’.  Davin’s exploration in the USA of the allegedly successful American Carlisle School with Carl Shurz and Pratt lasted less than 72 hours before he went back by train to Winnipeg.  http://www.turtleisland.org/resources/resources001.htm

[10] 39th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 110, CONTENTS, Wednesday, June 11, 2008  http://bit.ly/hK0C4T ; http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ai/rqpi/apo/pmsh-eng.asp (video of apology)

[11] Koester, p. 55; p. 58 “On  September 24th 1885, he was appointed a Justice of the Peace, and on January 11th 1886, he became an advocate of the North-West Territories.”

[12] Mary MacFadyen McLean, Louis Riel’s Parting Messages to Humanity, “INTERVIEW WITH RIEL” Regina Leader Newspaper, Saskatchewan, Nov 19th 1885 ), http://bit.ly/eitTWy ; Rev. Ed Hird, Battle for the Soul of Canada, 2006, p. 106; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regina_Leader-Post

“(…)The Leader merged with another paper, the Regina Evening Post, and continued to publish daily editions of both before consolidating them under the title The Leader-Post. Other newspapers absorbed in due course by the L-P include the Regina Daily Star and The Province.” (note from Ed: Mary appeared to have also worked for the Regina Star before it was absorbed by the Regina Leader-Post); The interview published in the Nov 19th 1885 Regina Leader took place some time during the week preceding Riel’s execution on Monday, Nov 16th 1885.  In ‘Execution of Riel’, Saskatchewan Herald (Battleford), Nov 23rd 1885, it is reported that the Nov 19th Regina Leader interview was held two days before the execution. (This corresponds with Louis Riel’s death on Nov 14th 1885)

[13] Koester, p. 65, p. 215; Davin the Politician, a play by Ken Mitchell, NeWest Press, Edmonton,1979, p. 7 “After smuggling himself into the condemned man’s cell dressed as a priest – a most enterprising journalistic exercise – Davin wrote of Riel as a man of ‘genius manque’ who, had he been gifted with a finer sense of judgement, might have done much for his people and for the West.  On the other hand, Davin had no sympathy whatsoever with those who advocated the commutation of Riel’s sentence…” (note: CB Koester wrote this foreword to the play); Mitchell, p. 37 (excerpt from the play) “Davin puts on a dark black coat and a cross. He holds up a Bible to Saunders. Davin: Je suis Pere Andrew. L’ancien confesseur. Oui?  “If I do return, we will have the interview of the century.”; Mitchell, p. 38-39 (another excerpt from the play): “Davin appears in the robe and hat, but with the addition of a false beard and a large silver crucifix…Riel: (clasping his hand): Your name is Davin!”;  Mitchell, p. 42 (excerpt from the play: the final imaginary conversation as if Davin the proprietor/editor-in-chief had been the disguised ‘priest’) “Kate (to Davin): ‘The whole town can talk of nothing but your interview. The Mounties are probably on their way to arrest you.’  Davin: Let ‘em come!”

[14] Regina Leader, Nov 19th 1885, http://bit.ly/eitTWy

[15] Regina Leader, Nov 19th 1885, http://bit.ly/eitTWy ; In the March 31st 1885 Regina Leader Newspaper, the heading is ‘The Leader, then below it NICHOLAS FLOOD DAVIN, Editor-in-Chief’. http://bit.ly/eUhMU3  In the heading of the Thursday August 6th 1885 Leader newspaper (and every other date of which I have a zeroxed copy), it says “Nicholas Flood Davin, Proprietor and Editor”.  http://bit.ly/gZvuBp The evidence is clear that Nicholas Flood Davin, being the proprietor, editor, and Editor-in-Chief, could not be the very reporter whom he commissioned to get the interview.

[16] Regina Leader, Nov 19th 1885, http://bit.ly/eitTWy ; As to why Kate Simpson-Hayes (a.k.a Mary Markwell) was code-named as Saphronica, it is quite likely a reflection of both Kate and Davin’s common involvement in plays like those by Shakespeare.

[17] Koester, p. 66 “Yet for Davin there were two Riels: the one, the rebel, the cause of death and anguish to white and Metis alike, he had condemned in the strongest language; for the other, the strange man who was the victim of his own undisciplined imagination, he felt compassion.”  (quoting the Nov 18th interview as if it was done by Davin).

[18] Koester, p.122 “Davin was now in his fifties, and Kate was some fifteen years younger….Consequently the daughter (born Jan 11th 1892) was placed with a private nurse and when this proved unsatisfactory, given over to the care of nuns in a Roman Catholic orphanage at Saint Boniface, Manitoba.

[19] Koester, p. 129 “On July 25th 1895, he married Eliza Jane Reid of Ottawa…shortly after the marriage, Mr Davin’s six-year old ‘nephew’ Henry Arthur entered the Davin household.  …Davin’s daughter could not be found.”

[20] Koester, p. 207

[21] Davin the Politician, a play by Ken Mitchell, NeWest Press, Edmonton, 1979, p. 11


1 Comment

A Deep Cove Love Story

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

On May 19th 1987 at 2:15 in the afternoon, I met a dear couple who changed my life.  I had no idea that I would spend the next twenty-one years getting to know them better. As long-term Deep Cove residents, Mr and Mrs Ashley and Rita Carr helped a rather naïve, well-meaning 32-year-old Anglican clergyman learn more about the meaning of life.

As some of the longest members of St. Simon’s North Vancouver, Rita and Ashley taught me much about the people and life of our congregation back in the early pioneering 1950s.  Some of their stories, especially about going fishing with Bud the local Anglican priest, were hilarious and full of fun.  Rita and Ashley had a way of making a person feel deeply loved and welcomed.  They truly lived out the Golden Rule and the Good Book’s call to love one’s neighbour as themselves.

I will always remember that first home visit with Rita and Ashley on Dollarton Highway.  As she always did in each succeeding visit, Rita fed me with juice and cookies, and then asked about my family and the congregation.  She said to me “It’s about time to get back into the fold”, commenting that when children get older, it’s easy to become inactive.

Some people say nice things to clergy to make them feel better, hoping that they will go away.  Rita and Ashley were people of their word.  First Rita came back to church, dropped off by Ashley. But gradually Ashley returned as well. They had their favorite seat in the congregation.  Even though the Carrs were older, they loved the liveliness of the younger people in our contemporary 10:30am service.

Rita and Ashley aged well.  They were one of the most loving and good-natured older couples that I have known. Their deep love for each other ‘for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part’ was an inspiration to many younger couples. Rita was part of the Sweet Adelines singers for many years.  She really was one of the sweetest Deep Cove residents that I have had the privilege of meeting.  Rita and Ashley were always so good-tempered and kind to others.  Even in the worst of times, they always left me feeling better after visiting them.

At the end of every home visit, I would offer to read the bible and pray with them.  Rita was a deep woman of prayer.  She always prayed with me for each member of her family that they would know Jesus’ love for them.  Even after her health made her a shut-in, Rita kept in touch with her church family and friends.  It was hard for her to not be able to attend her regular Thursday morning St. Simon’s NV home group.  But she was always there in spirit.

On July 4th 2008, Rita went home to be with the Lord.  Her husband Ashley deeply misses her. As a World War II ‘war bride’, Rita had three homes: England, Deep Cove and Heaven.  Rita was ready to go Home.  She had a deep confidence in what Jesus had accomplished for her on the cross, and a quiet assurance of the reality of life after death.  Like many in the Deep Cove/Seymour community, I deeply miss Rita, and look forward to having ‘English tea’ with her some day in heaven.

One summer I was privileged to take the wedding of Ashley and Rita Carr’s granddaughter right in the Carr condominion.  During the marriage service, I reminded their granddaughter of the great example that Rita had set, of Rita’s love and faithfulness: “Be like Rita.  The love of Jesus shone through her.”

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

– previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


Leave a comment

Catharine Parr Traill: Pioneer Canadian Mother

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

Catharine Parr Traill was a pioneer Canadian mother who made a phenomenal impact on the life of our nation.

England in the early 1830s was caught in a Canada-mania.  In the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars, England was thrown into an economic depression.  Thomas Strickland, the father of Catherine Parr Traill, was caught in the economic downturn, resulting in near-bankruptcy and his premature death.  He left behind an impoverished widow and six unmarried daughters whose chances of marriage were seriously limited.

Both Catherine Parr Traill and her sister Susanna married economically-challenged Scottish soldiers who were offered land grants in the colonies.  Canada began to be seen as the land of milk and honey!  Altogether 655,747 people sailed away from British shores between 1831 and 1841 (almost three times as many as had moved abroad during the previous ten years).

The two key Canada-promoters William Cattermole and Captain Charles Stuart were being paid so much per head for every Brit that they could recruit for Canada.  In their glowing description of Canada, Cattermole and Stuart forgot to mention the backbreaking work required to clear the forests, the total absence of household comforts, the aching loneliness, and the grinding poverty of most early Canadian pioneers.  Catharine Parr Traill and her sister Susanna, being gifted writers, were able to record a vital part of our Canadian pioneering history.  In Catherine Parr Traill’s book ‘The Canadian Settler’s Guide’, she insightfully wrote:

“In cases of emergency, it is folly to fold up one’s hands and sit down to bewail in abject terror: it is better to be up and doing.”

Catharine’s book “The ‘Backwoods of Canada quickly sold its first printing of eleven thousand copies, being translated into German in 1838 and French in 1843.

Of the six Strickland daughters including Catherine, five of them became published authors!  Catharine’s older sister Agnes in England was the leading royal biographer of the 19th century.  Sister Agnes caustically commented: “Who in England thinks anything of Canada?” and “Nothing that is first published in Canada will sell well in England”.

 In Charlotte Grey’s book ‘Sisters in the Wilderness’, Catharine Parr Traill and her sister Susanna are described as laying “the foundation of a literary tradition that still endures in Canada: the pioneer woman who displays extraordinary courage, resourcefulness and humour.  This ‘Canadian character type’, as critic Elizabeth Thompson calls her, is a pragmatist who discovers her own strength as she overcomes adversity.”  Sir Sandford Fleming, inventor of one-hour time zones, and the engineering genius behind the Canadian Pacific Railway, said of Catharine: “She has rendered service of no ordinary kind in making known the advantages offered by Canada as a field for settlement, and by her very widely read writings she has been instrumental in inducing very many emigrants from the United Kingdom to find homes in the Dominion.”

Catharine Parr Trail had a remarkable ability to rise above adversity and make the best of every situation.  Charlotte Grey: writes in her book about ‘the stamina, talent and determination that allowed two English ladies to overcome the hardships of pioneer life and leave a powerful legacy to Canadian culture.’  It is hard for us almost two hundred years later to fully imagine the miseries of hunger, disease, cold, and disappointment faced by our early Canadian pioneers.  I was shocked to discover that both Catharine and her sister’s families came down with malaria, a widespread problem in Canada as pioneers were struggling to drain mosquito-infested swamps.

Catharine Parr Traill commented in the early days: “I have not seen a woman except those in our company for over five months….”  As Charlotte Grey put it, “Being wrenched from one’s homeland leaves deep scars in the psyche of every emigrant in any era:  Susanna and Catharine bore these scars for the rest of their lives.”

Catharine’s motto was ‘Hope! Resolution! And Perseverance!’.  She would assure her relatives back home that Canada is the ‘land of hope.’ Her sister Sarah spoke of Catherine/Kate: “Her blue eyes always sparkled with happiness and curiosity about the world.  She had a warm smile and an air of stolid contentment, and even as a baby, Catharine ‘never cried like other children –indeed we used to say that Katie never saw a sorrowful day – for if anything went wrong, she just shut her eyes and the tears fell from under the long lashes and rolled down her cheeks like pearls into her lap.  We all adored her.”

 Charlotte Grey commented how Catharine loved “the wild and picturesque rocks, trees, hill and valley, wild-flowers, ferns, shrubs and moss and the pure, sweet scent of pines over all, breathing health and strength.”  Nature, for Catharine, was saturated with divine meaning – its splendor and concord displayed the authority and goodness of its Creator.  That is why Catharine wrote many “books that reflected sheer love of nature’s bounty and admiration in God’s handiwork.”  The flowers of the field, for her, were good reminders of the teachings of Christ.  Catherine often illustrated her dried specimens with biblical quotes, particularly from the Psalms or the book of Revelation.

Charlotte Grey commented that in future years, Catharine would rely on her love of nature, the beauties of which she saw as the expression of God’s will, to carry her through one disaster after another:
“Strength was always given to me when it was needed.” As she dug and weeded in the kitchen garden, or lifted heavy cast-iron pans of porridge from the stove, she would pause briefly, straighten her aching back, close her eyes and utter silent prayers.  She noted at the end of her life: “In great troubles and losses, God is very Good.”

In the midst of her very busy writing and pioneering, Catharine never neglected her family.  As Charlotte Grey put it, “Motherhood came as naturally to Catharine as breathing.  It was the most meaningful activity in her life.  She was always prepared to give more love than she took, and she saw no conflict between her family and her impulse to write.”

My prayer is that every mother reading this article would receive that same strength as Catharine Parr Traill in the challenges of life.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca