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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Say No to the Status Quo

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Our family worked for the Woodwards Department Store for many years.  My mother met my father through a Woodwards dance put on for the Air Force servicemen. My sister worked for Woodwards. For one month, I worked for Woodwards at age 17 in Women’s Shoes.  I had no idea how complicated it was to find all those hundreds of shoes hidden on massive shelves in the back of the store.

For many years, Woodwards in Oakridge was our favorite walking destination.  My mother and grandmother loved Woodwards’ famous $1.49 Day sales to which massive crowds would always flock. Woodwards to me was an unshakable permanent institution that had always been there, and would always be there. It was as Canadian as hockey and maple syrup.  Woodwards had been there for one hundred years since Charles Woodwards founded it in 1892.  Then suddenly one day it was gone.  It had been swallowed by its conforming to the status quo.

In Seth Godin’s bestselling book Tribes, he comments that the organizations that need innovation the most are the ones that do the most to stop it from happening.  It is very easy to get stuck, to embrace the status quo, and hunker down. Godin says that this will result in our implosion.  Organizations with a future must be willing to be risk-takers, to embrace creativity and innovation.

Godin says that it is not fear of failure that cripples leaders. It is the fear of criticism.  No one likes to be publicly criticized.  21st-century leaders need to be willing to get out of the boat and pay the price of going first.  In my thirty years as an Anglican clergy, I have sometimes wondered whether I acted too early. At other times, I have been concerned that I was not moving fast enough.   Leaders have to be very sensitive to the still small voice.  Timing is everything in leadership.  We don’t want to rush ahead of God, nor do we want to lag behind.

Godin says that “the largest enemy of change and leadership isn’t a ‘no’. It’s a ‘not yet’. ‘Not yet’ is the safest, easiest way to forestall change. ‘Not yet’ gives the status quo a chance to regroup and put off the inevitable for just a little while longer. Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late….There’s a small price for being too early, but a huge penalty for being too late.”  There have been times in my life when the boat almost left and I was not on it.  There was a time in North Vancouver when I had to make a tough decision that I personally hoped would just go away. I was stuck in the ‘not yets’.  One of my friends sensed this and challenged me to not be a ‘maybe Ed’.  When the time came eight and a half years ago, God gave me the courage to push through my ‘not yets’ and my ‘maybes’.  The rest is history.

Seth Godin teaches that every tribe needs leaders. Managers make widgets and create bureaucracies and factories.  Leaders have followers and make change.  The secret of leadership according to Godin is simple: “Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there.”  One of my most palpable fears as a teenager is that I would end up stuck in a job that I would hate and have no way out of. In my thirty years as a clergyperson, I have often felt overwhelmed and inadequate for the task, but I have never regretted devoting my life to serving others as an Anglican priest.

As the leader of St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver, I have seen many changes and challenges over the past 23 years.  One of the reasons I am still at St. Simon’s NV is because of the climate of innovation built into its DNA.  Our lay leaders are passionate, committed, and sold out to Jesus Christ.  I admire deeply their willingness to risk all in order to be faithful to their mission and calling.  Seth Godin says that ‘The safer you are with your plans for the future, the riskier it actually is.”  Leadership is a choice: a choice to risk all to be faithful to the vision of a better future. The very nature of leadership, says Godin, is that you’re not doing what’s been done before.

We live in a culture that worships size, buildings and money.  Many of the Woodwards of yesterday have become the dinosaurs of today.  No organization is immune, no matter what its numbers, facilities or financial resources.  If we refuse to innovate, we choose to die.  Remarkable visions and genuine insights, says Godin, are always met with resistance. And when you start to make progress, your efforts are met with even more resistance.  The forces for mediocrity will align to stop you.  Never give up.

Criticizing hope, says Godin, is easy. Fearful bureaucrats can always say that they’ve done it before and it didn’t work.  But cynicism is a dead-end strategy.  Without hope, there is no future to work for.  Godin observes that without passion and commitment, nothing happens. So often no one in an organization really cares; no one deeply believes in the bigger vision.  No one is willing to sacrifice so that breakthroughs can happen.  Real leaders are willing to pay the price. Real leaders are willing to risk all for the greater good.  Real leaders care.  I challenge each of us reading this article to come up to the plate and choose to be a real leader. Say no to the status quo.

 

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

-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-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 

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Father of the Fatherless

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

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

I am deeply grateful that family matters so much to my own father.  He invested in me in countless ways that I am just discovering fifty-five years later.  While I loved my father, I took so much of his generosity for granted.  It is only as I invest in my three boys with my time, talent, and treasure, that I understand what an enormous commitment it is to be a caring father.  Commitment is a scary thing.  Family and marriage require from us Dads 110% and more.  I am so grateful that my father never ran from my family.  One of the greatest gifts that my Dad could ever give me is that he showed much love to my late Mom, whom he was married to for 66 years.

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

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

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

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

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

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-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 Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada 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 Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada 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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‘Been Like a Mother to Me’

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

My late mother never forgot the time that she opened up her Mother’s Day card and read the words: ‘You’ve Been Like a Mother To Me’.  “But I am your real mother!”, she said.  “Exactly”, I responded.  “That’s why I chose the card.  It’s wonderful that you were not only my birth-mother but also have been so genuinely motherly to me’.

I have been so blessed to have a mother who has been so full of care and compassion through the good times and the bad.  But not everyone has been so fortunate.  Some people have been raised by their birth-mothers who were so wounded that they were unable to express love and nurture during the formative years.  This can leave people with a big hole in their hearts and a sense of loneliness that is hard to express.

Drs. Dennis Cloud & John Townsend, best-selling authors of ‘Boundaries’ and ‘The Mother Factor’, believe that ‘mothering is the most significant, demanding and underpaid profession around.’  When they interviewed people about their definitions of true mothering, certain words came up again and again:  nurture, care, bondedness, cookies, and trust.  Drs. Cloud and Townsend were able to name five basic needs that must be met by a mother, in order for us to be healthy and secure:

Safety

Nurture

Basic Trust

Belonging and Invitation

Someone to Love.

 

Safety, says Cloud & Townsend, comes in the form of a person who is predictable, stable, and danger-free.  Without this person, the child remains in a state of panic or anxiety, unable to love or learn.  I give thanks for my mother who gave me this gift of personal safety.  I always knew intuitively that whether I was a success or a failure, obedient or rebellious, my mother would always be there for me.

The second need that mothers meet is ‘to nurture’.  Webster’s Dictionary says that to nurture is to ‘feed or nourish’.  When I was troubled at school by bullies or exams, my mother was always there to feed me, with cookies, milk, and a listening ear.  I remember going through deep struggles as a teenager about the meaning of life and career choices.  Mom was always there to listen.  True, I often rejected her advice and was closed to her deep spirituality.  But most important, her nurturing and food were always there when I was struggling.

The third need that mothers meet is ‘basic trust’.  Drs. Cloud & Townsend teach that basic trust is the ability to invest oneself in a relationship.  Healthy people let themselves need and depend on others without fear.  We live in a high-tech disposable age where everything is up for grabs.

There is an enormous fear of commitment and long-term intimacy.  Yet simultaneously many of us ache from the absence of such relational rootedness.  My wife and I have been happily married for 41 years.  I believe that a big part of why I have not self-destructed my own marriage is because of how healthy my mother was.  My mother modeled for me the value of hanging in there through the thick and the thin.  My mother demonstrated a deep faith and trust that good would always come out of even the most tragic situations.  With the help of her favorite comic writer Erma Bombeck, my mother could always find something to smile about, even when life was not ‘a bowl of cherries’.

The fourth need that mothers meet is ‘belonging and invitation’.  All of us, say Drs. Cloud & Townsend, have the need to belong to someone and to something bigger than ourselves.  Belonging and love are at the root of our humanness.  My mother, as a gifted chauffeur, was forever driving me to endless soccer, baseball, hockey, chess, swimming, & skiing lessons.  She knew that I had a deep need to belong and to grow.  My mom also did her best to involve me in Sunday school, confirmation classes, youth groups, and summer camps.  I had no idea how much I really needed the church family to be my ‘spiritual mother’.  Like many in our individualistic age, I figured that I could do any spirituality better on my own.  My mother never forced religion down my throat, but the door was always wide open.  Thank God for my mother introducing me to God’s family.

The fifth need that mothers meet is ‘someone to love’.  There is perhaps no greater wound in a child than having a mother who just can’t love you.  We know intuitively that everything about true motherhood is about love and caring.  Yet some moms have been so damaged that they are what Drs. Cloud & Townsend would call ‘Phantom Moms’: moms who are not really there in any tangible sense.  Others have moms who Drs. Cloud & Townsend call ‘China Doll Moms’: moms who are so fragile and stressed out that no one can get too close for fear of shattering them.  Without a mom who can show us real love, we end up feeling unwanted at a deep level and estranged from our true identity.  Thank you, Mom, that once again you came through for me in a very practical way.  For 62 years, my mom showed me time and time again that I mattered to her, and that she really care.  The love of Christ that I saw in my mom allows me to show that same love to others.

The best news of all is that even if our mothers couldn’t fully meet these five basic needs, God can make up for any love deficit.  As the Good Book puts it, ‘though your father and mother forsake you, I the Lord will receive you.’  My prayer for for those reading this article is that each of us may discover afresh the amazing love of God, especially as seen in the loving arms of our mothers.

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-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 Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada 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 Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada 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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Pain: Useless intrusion or gift of God?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdDr Paul Brand

One of the most significant books that I have read  is Pain: the Gift Nobody Wants by Dr. Paul Brand & Philip Yancey.  Dr. Paul Brand was a world-famous leprosy surgeon who has spent most of his life caring for the forsaken lepers in India.  He performed countless medical miracles, enabling people with leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) to live healthy and productive lives.

 

Dr. Brand’s  book was endorsed by Dr. C. Everett Koop, a former Surgeon General of the United States, who bestowed on Dr. Brand the Surgeon General’s Medallion.  Dr. Koop said that when he wonders who he would like to have been if he had not been born C. Everett Koop, the person who comes to mind most frequently is Paul Brand.

Dr Paul Brand2One of Dr. Brand’s greatest breakthroughs was the discovery that people with leprosy do not have ‘bad flesh’ that just rots away by itself.  In fact, their flesh is just as healthy as yours or mine.  They are usually not even contagious.  What they lack is the ability to feel pain.  As the blood flow is cut off from key parts of their body, their nerve endings die.  With the death of their nerve endings comes the death of their ability to sense danger to their bodies.  Leprous people live a virtually pain-free existence.  Many of us would do anything to live a pain-free life.  Yet in fact, the absence of pain is the greatest enemy of the leper.  Again and again they wound and impale themselves.  Yet they don’t feel a thing.

Dr. Brand spoke movingly about little Tanya, a four-year-old patient with dark, flashing eyes, curly hair, and an impish smile.  She seemed fine as an infant.  Then when she was a year and a half, her mother came into her room.  She noticed her daughter finger-painting red pictures on the floor of her playpen.  Suddenly her mother realized that her daughter had bitten off the tip of her finger and was drawing with her own blood.  Because of her leprosy, Tanya felt no pain even when she damaged herself.  I wonder how many of us as parents have ever thanked God that our own children can feel pain?

We in the west live in a culture that has a Dr Paul Brand 3remarkable ability to shut down pain in our lives.  People in North America consume over thirty thousand tons of aspirin a year.  North Americans, who only represent 5 percent of the world’s population, consume over 50% of all manufactured drugs, one-third of which work on the central nervous system.  We are the most advanced society in the world in terms of suppressing pain.  Yet the more we try to shut down pain, the more pain strikes back.

 

When we refuse to listen to the pain in our bodies, we invariably begin to destroy ourselves.  Just think of the number of famous football, basketball, and hockey stars who have damaged themselves for life by going out on the field, still injured, with the help of painkiller injections.  If leprosy is the inability to feel pain, then alcohol and drug addiction, which deaden our pain, are forms of modern day leprosy.  The greatest damage that pain-dead alcoholics and drug addicts do is the damage they do to their spouses and children.  That is why I am so grateful for the gift of AA and related 12-Step groups.  I wonder how many of us as parents have thanked God for the ability to feel our family’s pain?

Dr Paul Brand 4As you are reading this article, you have probably blinked your eyes hundreds of times.  Have you ever wondered why we blink?  Dr. Brand discovered that leprous people go blind, because they don’t blink.  Blinking functions like our car’s windshield wipers, washing away the impurities.  It is pain that causes us to blink.

 

Try not blinking for the next 60 seconds, if you need proof of this.  Because leprous people feel no pain, they don’t blink.  The absence of pain actually makes them go blind.  Dr. Brand solved their blinking problem surgically by attaching the chewing muscle to their eyelid.  Every time they chew gum, their eyelid blinks.  As we lovingly look at the faces of our children,  how many of us as parents have ever thanked God for the ability to feel pain in our eyes?

One of the greatest mysteries that Dr. Brand faced was why leprous people kept losing their fingers and toes overnight.  He knew that they didn’t just shrivel up and fall off.  but no one could ever find what happened to the lost fingers and toes.  Finally Dr. Brand decided to have people stay awake all night watching the leprosy patients sleep.  To their surprise, they discovered that rats were coming in and nibbling off their fingers.  Because the patients felt no pain, they never woke up and brushed away the rats.

 

To save their extremities, leprosy patients are Leprosy_hand_affected_fourth_digitnow required to take cats with them, wherever they plan to sleep.  I encourage you as you are reading this article to look down at your 10 fingers.  How many of us as parents have ever thanked God for our hands that reach out to touch our children, and for the gift of pain that keeps them healthy?

 

Over 2,000 years ago, a Jewish peasant loved us so much that he allowed people to drive spikes into his hands.  I thank God that Jesus chose to bear our pain that he might give us the gift of life.

 

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

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

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 Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada 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 Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada 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