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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Like Father, Like Son?

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

One of my favorite times of year is Father’s Day. I am so grateful that my father is still here on earth. When a person deeply admires their father, it is easy to feel that one can never fill their shoes.  When I lost my voice for eighteen months in December 1980, I remember feeling that I must be disappointing my father.  What I have discovered over the years is that my father has been one of my greatest supporters, and has never stopped cheering for me.

Recently I read the book Rebel with A Cause, which described the fascinating relationship between the late Billy Graham and his son Franklin.  Growing up is rarely easy, especially for those with highly successful, famous parents.  During his time of rebellion, Franklin learned that he could truly be himself rather than have to be another Billy Graham.  Franklin commented: “Almost every child who has a famous parent struggles with finding his own way and wondering if he is being viewed as an individual, not just an extension of his father or mother.”  Finding out whom we really are takes time, self-reflection, and willingness to grow.

Franklin’s deep love for his now ninety-seven year old father shines through every page of this book. You can also see how the family sacrificed because Billy Graham, being in such demand, was away for long stretches of time.  Successful parents are often forced to travel a lot, often at great cost to their families.  Franklin’s mom Ruth was a rock of stability and caring in the midst of the whirlwind of Billy Graham’s global travels.

A major part of Franklin working through his rebellious phase was through his participation in the early days of Samaritan’s Purse, a relief agency perhaps best known nowadays for Operation Christmas Child.  Franklin commented: “…I didn’t like seeing people getting hurt when they couldn’t do much to help themselves.”  The Graham family has a deep spirit of adventure which causes them to sometimes hang over the edge.  Out of compassion for workers at a Jordanian medical clinic, Franklin and a companion drove a much needed land rover from England to Jordan, travelling thousands of often precarious miles through nine countries, including Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon.  When international or North American tragedy strikes, Franklin through Samaritan’s Purse is often one of the first to be there helping.  The book tells gripping stories of risking life and limb as lives are helped in the tumultuous Middle East and in war-torn countries like Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.  Through Samaritan’s Purse, many doctors and nurses like Dr. Kent Brantley have served in places like Liberia during the Ebola epidemic, even sometimes contracting and surviving the virus themselves. Samaritan’s Purse reminds us that the love of God and love of neighbour go together.  Jesus not only shared good news with people.  He also practically fed the poor and healed the sick.  May we too on this Father’s Day be people who love both God and neighbour.

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

-an article expanded from the April 2016 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 


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Celebrating the Gift of Family

By the Rev. Dr. Ed and Janice Hird137

We fell in love forty three years ago, and have never looked back.  With three adult sons and two grandchildren, we are so grateful for the gift of family.  This past summer has been a time of family reunions for many of us.   We deeply appreciated the opportunities to hang out with our family members, particularly those who live far away.

Most families are complicated and messy.  Reconnecting with our family members during the summer can be challenging for many people.  Setting boundaries with people that we love is never easy.  Saying no to our family members, even when necessary, can sometimes be really hard. Even Jesus, who was never unloving, had problems at times with his family.  He said that sometimes there would be painful division even within our families.  Jesus said that family cannot be the ultimate, but rather a penultimate very high priority.  He said that if we sought first God’s kingdom, then everything would go better, including our relationships with our family.

40ae4-thegoodshepherdicon2One time Jesus was so involved with helping people that he did not have time to eat.  This so upset his family and friends that they decided that he must be out of his mind.  In some cultures, skipping a family meal is almost unforgivable.  Eating three square meals a day is on the same level for some families as following the Ten Commandments or the Golden Rule.  Because there was such a large crowd, his mother and brothers could not even reach Jesus.  You can imagine how their anxiety level would have been spiking.

In the midst of family anxiety, Jesus had a very clear idea of who he was and what he was called to do.  This gave him the courage to say no to his family, when they were trying to stop his important work.  He said the shocking phrase: “Who is my mother?  And who are my brothers?”  If we said that with our families, they would not likely be pleased.   They might say back to us, “What are you talking about, Ed and Janice?  We are your family.  We were there at your wedding thirty-eight years ago.”  Jesus went on to memorably say “ My family, my mother , brothers and sisters are those who do the Father’s will”.  Family for Jesus is bigger than just the physical 042nuclear family.  Jesus dearly loved his nuclear family, but he had to remind them that even our family cannot come first in our lives.   This is not an easy lesson to learn, because we love our families so dearly.   Our prayer for those reading this article is that we may learn to celebrate the gift of family in a way that still allows us the freedom to say no, to set healthy boundaries.

The Rev. Dr. Ed and Janice Hird, BMus. (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 


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Remembering my dear Dad with Gratitude

 

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird  

Since my dad passed on June 25th 2019, many people have expressed their sincere condolences by email, snail mail, and in person. The sharing by so many at my dad’s funeral reception was deeply touching.

Dad was greatly loved and appreciated by many.  I thank God for my wonderful father, Ted Hird. As I was visiting my father near the end, I heard the words “This is the generation that defeated Hitler.” My dad and his compatriots became the Builder Generation that saved the world from totalitarian fascism, and then ushered in a new season of freedom and democracy.

It fills me with gratitude to have had a loving father that believed in me.  My dad was such an encourager. He listened deeply to people, no matter what their station in life. Many people, in their condolences, told me how much they appreciated my father’s sincere interest in their lives and work. Over the years, he often sent me e-mails and notes telling me how pleased he is with my work, my family and my life.  I want to be like my late father in his remarkable gift of encouragement.   It is so easy to be someone who sees what is wrong with other people. My dad looked for that which was working and built on it.

One of my dad’s greatest gifts to me was his almost sixty-seven year marriage to my late mom Lorna Hird. Dad illustrated the truth of Song of Songs when it said that love is stronger than death. Part of my passion for renewing marriage came from watching the deep lasting love of my mom and dad for each other. Dad the engineer and Mom the artist were very different personalities who were like iron sharpening iron. My dad liked things accomplished yesterday, and never wanted to be late for dinner. His most famous expressions were always food-related: “Call me anything, don’t call me late for dinner.”

When my dad became an electrical engineer in 1950, they were still using test-tubes for radio communication. Many years later, my dad was still growing and learning.  I too want to be the kind of father who never stops learning, never stops changing, never stops expanding my horizons.  Technology is always changing, but my dad was never left behind.  Even at age 95, my father was a passionate reader who consumed books in a way that kept his mind active and fresh.  My dad often ran out of books to read, and had to switch to another library. At age 95, Dad read the draft of our upcoming novel, and then apologized for taking two days to finish it.  I want to be a father that always keeps reading, and inspires my own children and grandchildren to read for the very pleasure of reading.

My father was a born leader.  He rose from very humble circumstances to become the President of Lenkurt Electric, at that time the largest secondary industry in BC.  I saw my father make wise decisions again and again in very difficult leadership situations.  I want to lead like my father did, with wisdom and patience. My father has raised up many younger leaders who have made a lasting difference in the world.  Like my father, I have a passion for raising up a new generation of healthy leaders, what I call the Timothys and Tituses.

Great leaders pass on the torch to others. Through my father, God passed on to me my gift and passion for writing.  Writing for me is like breathing. That is why I invested thirty years communicating as a Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News columnist. When my father wrote, he was sharp, crisp and clear.  I loved to receive from him new chapters every couple of months about his massive autobiography. My dad often told me about how he wished that when he was younger, he had asked his older aunts about family history. By the time he became curious about his own history, his aunts had passed on with their family stories unrecorded.

I often wish that I had my father’s carpentry skills.  It is remarkable how many gifts that he built through love for various members of our family, including my book shelves and my wife’s dining room cabinet.  My dad was always willing to help whenever he could. My dad was so gifted at fixing things that I often felt inadequate in comparison.  Later in Dad’s life, I watched him closely and noticed that he didn’t always fix things on the first try. Sometimes, it was on the seventh or eighth try. He never gave up. Observing my dad’s perseverance inspired me to give myself more grace in mechanical things.

My father developed a strong faith over the years that has been a great encouragement to me.  The late Rev Ernie Eldridge, Rector of St. Matthias Anglican Church, in his own quiet way, had a huge impact on my dad’s spiritual development. Ernie wisely appointed my dad as the Property Chairman for St. Matthias, helping my dad feel like he belonged as he fixed things at the church.  Ernie persuaded my dad to become publicly confirmed at age 48. Looking back, I believe that my dad’s Anglican confirmation was a major spiritual breakthrough that resulted in my coming to personal faith in Christ a month later.

As a former agnostic, my father became very interested in understanding the bible for himself.  It is great that I was able to openly chat with my father about our common faith in Jesus Christ.  I will never forget when my Dad discussed with me about Rev. Ernie’s invitation for Dad to be a lay administrant serving communion. Dad deeply respected my mother’s spirituality, and sometimes didn’t feel like he was as spiritual as mom. After dad told me clearly that he had received Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour, I encouraged my dad to take this step.  This was another major breakthrough in my dad’s Christian journey.  My dad was simultaneously a very public and a very private person. Near the end of Dad’s life, we celebrated Communion together many times in his apartment. Taking the Alpha Course four times was a major step in my father’s spiritual pilgrimage.

Near the end, my father’s deafness became more severe. Fortunately Dad could still read messages that I wrote for him on his IPad. One of my final IPad messages to him was “I love you, Dad”, to which he whispered to me “I love you too, son.” I deeply miss my Dad, give thanks for his life well-lived, and look forward to his future embrace in heaven.

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

-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News for Father’s Day.


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Pastor Bob Birch on Father’s Day

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

Each Father’s Day we remember and give thanks for the fathers that have impacted our lives. Pastor Bob Birch is one of those fathers that has made me a stronger person, a more prayerful person, and a more hopeful person.

I still vividly remember Bob Birch in his mid-eighties leading a Good Friday Cross Walk procession down Lonsdale, carrying a huge cross on his shoulders. I had the privilege of interviewing Bob four years ago right before his death.   He passed away just three weeks short of his 100th birthday.  Perhaps his longevity comes in part from his passion for prayer-walking.  Bob loved to prayerfully hike up the North Shore mountains. Fittingly for Pastor Bob’s retirement, he was given a pair of walking boots.

As a father of spiritual renewal throughout BC and Canada, Pastor Bob has raised up many spiritual sons and daughters.  In 1966, he went down to hear the Rev Dennis Bennett, an Anglican priest in Seattle, Washington.  Pastor Bob was deeply transformed by an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  He described this new experience of praying in the Spirit as ‘this very sacred gift, of intimate spiritual communion with God’. His life story is loving recounted by Bev Carson in the biography ‘Pastor Bob’. 

One of the unexpected consequences of the spiritual encounter was that hundreds of hippies began to be attracted to Pastor Bob at St Margaret’s Church near the PNE.  They knew that he could help them in getting off drugs and putting their lives back together. His wife Margaret noted that Bob was ‘kind but firm’ in establishing healthy boundaries.  As a result, said Margaret, there are now ‘outstanding young people all over the world, proclaiming the Lord’.

Without healthy father figures, it is easy to default to cynicism and detachment. Bob Birch lived his life in a way that motivated others to strive for excellence.  Bob motivated me to seek first God’s Kingdom in every area of my life.  Bob showed me that prayer is not an optional extra, but rather is at the heart of a healthy, vibrant life.

Bob was someone who deeply cared. He was willing to get involved even when it was messy or awkward.  Healthy fathers are willing to be there in good times and in tough times.  Healthy fathers are willing to go the distance when others disappear.

Fatherhood is costly. Fatherhood is time-consuming. Fatherhood is worth it.  I thank God for all the fathers who sacrificially make a difference in the lives of their families. I thank God for Pastor Bob Birch who was willing to pay the price of being a father for many. Happy Father’s Day!

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 and the Light Magazine

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 


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Joy to the World!

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

“Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat”  Who can think of Christmas without the joy of Christmas carols?  Everyone wants joy at Christmas.  Everyone wants to be loved, to be cared for, to be remembered.  There is no lonelier time of the year than Christmas spent alone.  Sometimes we try too hard to be joyful at Christmas.  I usually find that the harder I try to be happy, the more self-obsessed and miserable I become.

‘Joy to the World!’  Why is Christmas often the high holiday for alcoholics and the chemically dependent?  Perhaps because people feel this ‘moral burden’ at Christmas to be joyful at all cost.  Joy for many is like the elusive butterfly that is just out of reach.  They can almost grab it and suddenly it is gone again.  All the Christmas presents, all the eggnog, all the tinsel, and all the Christmas lights just don’t seem to be able to produce that strange phenomenon of joy.

‘Joy to the World!’  Joy is like being tickled.  In the same way that you can’t tickle yourself, you can’t ‘pull up your bootstraps’ and conjure up joy.  Joy can’t be forced, manipulated, controlled, psyched up, or packaged.  Joy is a gift, a free gift, an overwhelming gift from the most generous giver in the Universe.  Joy is the true heart of Christmas because Christmas is both about the joy of giving and the giving of joy.

‘Joy to the World!’  Have you ever noticed how you can’t fake laughter?  Laughter too is a gift, a gift of joy, a gift of freedom.  Can you imagine how sad a Christmas Dinner would be without laughter?  Many of us have such a stern view of Jesus that we can’t imagine him laughing or joyful.  Yet Jesus was at his best when he hung out at parties with some of the most unexpected people.  We forget that Jesus, being Jewish, made use of Jewish humour and hyperbole to shock people into thinking.  Can you imagine how racy Jesus’ story was about the prodigal Jewish son who ended up working for a pig farmer?  And yet he used that now famous story in Luke Chapter 15 to remind us that no matter how messed up we become, we can always come home to the Father’s arms.  That’s the true joy of Christmas.

‘Joy to the World!’  Joy and sorrow are neurologically linked in a way that few of us expect.  How true it is that ‘those who sow with tears shall reap with songs of joy’.  Unless we grieve the losses of life, true joy never comes.  Alcohol and drugs merely postpone our doing the hard grief-work that awaits each of us.  Is it a coincidence that the symbol of drama is the twin masks of Greek comedy and tragedy?  How true it is that ‘weeping may last for a night but joy comes in the morning’.  The price of really enjoying this Christmas may be paying the price of grieving the loss of our parents in death, our ex-spouse in divorce, or our children in heartbreak.

‘Joy to the World!’  Shakespeare in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ said: ‘frame your mind to mirth and merriment, which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life’.  The ancient Proverbs said ‘A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones’.  More and more scientists are discovering that joy and laughter are scientifically good for you.  Joy and laughter strengthen our immunity systems, reduce our stress levels, and alleviate chronic pain.

‘Joy to the World!’  Isaac Watts back in 1719 wrote the unforgettable Christmas Carol ‘Joy to the World! The Lord is come: Let earth receive our King’.  This Christmas, let joy fill our hearts, let the King fill our lives, let the baby Jesus fill our homes.  This Christmas ‘let every heart prepare him room’.  Joy to you and your families this Christmas!

 

 

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.  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 


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Walking the Line with Johnny Cash

By the Rev.  Dr. Ed Hird

During Johnny Cash’s nearly fifty years of music, he sold over ninety million albums.  He learned to sing while picking cotton as an impoverished sharecropper’s son in Kingsland, Arkansas. His mother Carrie said to Johnny at age 15: “You’ve got a gift, JR.  You’re going to sing.  God’s got his hand on you.  You’re going to carry the message of Jesus Christ.”[i]

 

Cash recorded more than 1,500 songs including well-known hits like ‘A Boy named Sue’, ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and ‘Ring of Fire.’  Johnny Cash is the only musician who has ever been threefold-inducted into the Songwriter’s, Country Music, and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.”

 

More than 100 other recording artists and groups have recorded Cash’s song “I Walk the Line.”  Cash commented: “I wrote ‘I walk the Line’ when I was on the road in Texas in 1956, having a hard time resisting the temptation to be unfaithful to my wife back in Memphis”: ‘I keep a close watch on this heart of mine.  I keep my eyes wide open all the time.  I keep the ends out for the tie that binds. Because you’re mine, I walk the line.’  Cash saw ‘I walk the Line’ as his first Gospel hit, because he sang it not just to his wife, but also to God.[ii]  Cash’s life was often fraught with tragedy and heartbreak. “After my brother Jack’s death”, said Johnny, “I felt like I’d died too. I just didn’t feel alive.  I was terribly lonely without him.  I had no other friend.” His father unfairly blamed Johnny for his brother’s death, saying “Too bad it wasn’t you instead of Jack.”[iii] Like his father before him, Johnny struggled for many years with addiction issues.  His father was never able to tell his children that he loved them.

 

Johnny Cash’s first marriage ran aground in the midst of workaholism and pill-popping.  In Cash’ autobiography, he comments: “Touring and drugs were what I did, with the effort involved in drugs mounting steadily as time went by.” Amphetamines keep him going without sleep, and barbiturates and alcohol knocked him out.  Cash comments: “I was in and out of jails, hospitals, and car wrecks.  I was a walking vision of death, and that’s exactly how I felt.  I was scraping the filthy bottom of the barrel of life.”

He knew that he had wasted his life and drifted far from God.  In desperation, Cash decided to end his life in 1967 by crawling deep into the inner recesses of Nickajack Cave on the Tennessee River.  There in pitch darkness he met God and then miraculously was able to crawl to the opening of the cave. There waiting for him was his future wife June Carter and his mother.  That was one of Cash’s turning points, along with the birth of John Carter Cash, in getting serious about battling his addiction.

 

Cash had relative freedom from drugs until attacked in 1981 by an ostrich that ripped his stomach open and broke several ribs. While in hospital, he became heavily re-addicted to painkillers.  In 1983, his family and friends did an intervention, which included Cash’s going to the Betty Ford Clinic. Cash comments: “I’m still absolutely convinced that the intervention was the hand of God working in my life, telling me that I still had a long way to go, a lot left to do.  But first I had to humble myself before God.”  Because of the enormous pain from sixteen failed jaw operations, Cash well understood the cunning, baffling, and powerful pull of self-medication.

In the midst of great trauma, Cash found that spiritual music helped bring him back from the despair of his addictions.  “Wherever I go, I can start singing one of them and immediately begin to feel peace settle over me as God’s grace flows in. They’re powerful, those songs.  At times they’ve been my only way back, the only door out of the dark, bad places the black dog calls home.” Cash began to find great strength in reading the bible and in prayer.  He learned to stop hating himself, and to forgive himself and  others.

During this time, the late Billy Graham became a personal friend and mentor.  Billy Graham “was interested, but never judgmental…I’ve always been able to share my secrets and problems with Billy, and I’ve benefited greatly from his support and advice. He’s never pressed me when I’ve been in trouble; he’s waited for me to reveal myself, and then he’s helped me as much as he can.”  Johnny and June would eventually sing and share at almost three dozen Billy Graham Crusades in front of around two million people.

I thank God for the late Johnny Cash’s recovery from serious addiction, and pray that all of us will have the courage to change the things that can be changed.

 

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 

[i] Robert Hilburn, Johnny Cash: The Life (Little, Brown, & Company, New York, NY, 2013), p. 23.

[ii] Hilburn, p. 104.

[iii] Hilburn, p. 20.


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Golfing with my Undertaker

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Golf is now over 510 years old, having been played officially throughout Scotland since 1502. Most of the earliest references to golf were about attempts to ban it or to condemn the golfers.  On 6th March 1457 in Edinburgh, King James II banned ‘ye golf’ because it was more popular than archery.

As a teenager, I golfed religiously three times a week at Langara Golf Course in Vancouver.  To prove my dedication, I even sometimes golfed in the snow.  I also used to caddy for my father, which was a great way to spend quality time with him.

Years later, my golf game has its moments of glory, as well as many reminders of how far I have fallen.  I took part in a golfing tournament a while ago with forty undertakers and one hundred and ten clergy.  On the second hole of the tournament, I sunk a forty-five-foot putt.  Delusions of being the next PGA superstar filled my mind until I missed a four-foot  putt on the very next hole.  Golf can be very humbling, and is therefore good for the soul, or so they tell me.

 

In the twenty-eight years since I was ordained, I have taken many funerals.  Virtually every funeral involves a funeral director, sometimes called a family services counselor.  I have found them to be very personal, decent individuals.  It was not until I started golfing with funeral directors that I really came to know them personally.  Over the eighteen holes, the pastors and undertakers shared the inevitable victories and defeats.  It really helped us realize how much we had in common, though the funeral directors are usually better golfers.

Both funeral directors and clergy are usually called upon in times of sorrow and death.  While some people try to do their own services, most Canadians still look to professionals to help them through this most difficult of times.  Both pastors and undertakers are often misunderstood.  People sometimes don’t realize that undertakers and clergy are ordinary human beings much like themselves.  I remember once when a Deep Cove resident was shocked to see me shopping at Safeway, because they didn’t think that clergy actually shopped.

One of the privileges of having served for the past 31 years has been to walk with North Shore families and individuals through the key transitions of life: birth, marriage, and death.  With one local family, I had the privilege of burying four members.  Families during funerals will open up and share their hearts in ways that you rarely otherwise see.

Death is the great leveler.  No matter how we try to avoid it and deny it, death catches up with every family.  We can put it off for a while through healthy eating and exercising, but sooner or later we all face the grim reaper.

Both funeral directors and clergy can make a big difference in helping families navigate these painful waters.  I am grateful that I can remind grieving people that there is a bridge over troubled waters, that Jesus made a way and prepared a resting place for them.  I am  grateful that death does not have the final say.

 

My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us will find that bridge over troubled waters.

 

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