Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


2 Comments

The Heart of Valentine’s Day

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

My wife Janice and I  celebrated our 41st Wedding Anniversary.  Over four decades later, I can say without reservation that I love her more deeply with each passing year.  It is too easy to take one’s marriage partner for granted in our extremely busy world.  Yet each of us want to feel special and appreciated.  Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to go to the very heart of what marriage is really all about.  Valentine’s Day was birthed in a time much like nowadays when people were encouraged to look down on marriage as an interference with their personal freedoms and careers.

Through attending a Marriage Encounter weekend, I have learned that one of the most romantic things that one can do on Valentine’s Day (and every day) is to write a personal letter to one’s sweetheart.

Despite Napoleon Bonaparte’s extreme busyness in leading France, he took time to write as many as 75,000 letters in his lifetime, many of them to his beautiful wife, Josephine, both before and during their marriage. This letter, written just prior to their 1796 wedding, shows surprising tenderness and emotion from the future emperor.

“I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil. Sweet, incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart! Are you angry? Do I see you looking sad? Are you worried?  My soul aches with sorrow, and there can be no rest for you lover; but is there still more in store for me when, yielding to the profound feelings which overwhelm me, I draw from your lips, from your heart a love which consumes me with fire? Ah! it was last night that I fully realized how false an image of you your portrait gives!

You are leaving at noon; I shall see you in three hours.

Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire.”

Each Valentine’s Day, approximately 1 billion letters and cards are sent each year to loved ones.  So where does this remarkably popular Saint Valentine’s Day come from anyway? In the city of Rome around 270AD, there lived an Emperor known as Claudius the Cruel.  Claudius was having problems recruiting men to serve in his armies, because the men selfishly wanted to stay home with their wives and children. Angry that his men were more loyal to their wives than to himself, Claudius decided to outlaw marriage!

Couples who were in love searched for someone who would help them get married, even in secret.  A priest named Valentine performed wedding ceremonies for these desperate young lovers. When a young couple came to the temple, he secretly united them in marriage in front of the sacred altar. Another pair sought his aid and in secret he wed them. Others came and quietly were married. Valentine quickly became the friend of lovers in every district of Rome.

But, such secrets could not be kept for long in Rome. At last word of Valentine’s acts reached the palace and Claudius the Cruel was angry, exceedingly angry.  On the orders of Claudius, Valentine was dragged from the temple, away from the altar where a young maiden and a Roman youth stood, ready to be married, and taken off to jail.

Valentine’s jailer had a daughter, Augustine. She was so kind to Valentine during his brutal imprisonment, that Valentine sent a ‘Valentine’s Card’ with a grateful “thank you” message for all that she had done.

Many asked Claudius to release Valentine but Claudius refused to do so.  As a punishment for supporting marriage, Valentine was beaten to death with clubs and then beheaded.  Valentine laid down his life for others because he passionately believed in the sanctity of marriage.  His devoted friends buried him in the church of St. Praxedes.   The date of his tragic murder was February 14th AD 270. .

History tells us the first modern valentines’ ‘card’ date from the early years of the fifteenth century. The young French Duke of Orleans, captured at the battle of Agincourt, was kept a prisoner in the Tower of London for many years. He wrote poem after poem to his wife, real valentines, of which about sixty of them remain. These can be seen among the royal papers in the British Museum.

All of my Valentine’s Day Cards to my wife over the past 34 years have been marked with a string of “X”s to represent kisses.  The practice of using an “X” for a kiss grew out of the medieval practice of letting illiterate people sign documents with an “X” to represent their name. This was done in the presence of witnesses and a kiss was given upon the “X” to show sincerity. The “X” then became synonymous with a kiss in the minds of most people.  Why did they sign with an “X”?  One reason was because the “X” shape represented St. Andrew’s cross which is also used in the Scottish and British flags.  But most importantly for our ancestors, the “X” represented the first Greek letter (Chi) in the name ‘Christ’.  (That’s why Xmas stands for the ‘Christ’ in CHRIST-mas.)

For our forebears, “X” = Kisses=Love=the Cross=Christ.

As my wife and I will be celebrating thirty-four years of a loving committed marriage, I am reminded that ‘X’ marks the spot in our grateful marriage.  ‘X’ has been the open secret to our perseverance through good times and bad times.  ‘X’ has been the key to our hanging in there through sickness and health.  ‘X’ will be the key to our having and holding till death do us part.  My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us, like Saint Valentine, may be open to a personal encounter with the eternal ‘X’, Jesus Christ.

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.


3 Comments

Why does it sometimes feel like men and women are from different planets?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Is it okay to suggest in this post-modern culture that  we as men and women are equal but often different?  Too often equality becomes reduced to a sterile sameness.  True equality between the sexes involves a joyous celebrating of our very real differences.  Men and women are so wonderfully different that many authors have been writing books exploring this unique key to marital and relational satisfaction.  We really do come from different ‘worlds’ as men and women.

Gary Smalley, the best-selling author on relationships, has put enormous research in exploring just how male/female differences actually affect us.  Smalley comments that “most marital difficulties center around one fact – men and women are TOTALLY different…virtually every cell in a man’s body has a chromosome makeup entirely different from those in a woman’s body.”  Dr. James Dobson says that there is strong evidence indicating that the ‘seat’ of the emotions in a man’s brain is wired differently than in a woman’s.

Greater understanding of our differences can bring greater acceptance and love between men and women.  Dr. Paul Popenoe, founder of the American Institute of Family Relations in Los Angeles, dedicated most of his working life to the research of biological differences between the sexes.  He found that females outlive males by four to eight years because of their greater constitutional vitality and perhaps because of their unique chromosome makeup.  Women’s thyroid is larger and more active than that of men, giving them a greater resistance to cold.  Women’s blood contains more water and 20 percent fewer red cells.  Since the red cells supply oxygen to the body cells, women in general tire more easily.  An illustration of this is that when the working day in British factories was increased from ten to twelve hours during wartime conditions, accidents increased 150 percent among women but not at all among men.  Women can withstand high temperatures better than men because their metabolism slows down less.

Another important difference is in the area of women’s intuitive gifting.  Smalley holds that each woman has a built-in marriage manual within her.  She intuitively knows  what she needs, what the relationship needs, and what, if anything, is wrong with the marriage.  All she needs is a husband who is courageous enough to ask her to share her marriage manual with him.

Neuropsychologists McGuinness and Tribran led a Stanford University research team investigating this unique intuitive capacity.  They discovered  that women do in fact catch subliminal messages faster and more accurately than men.  Someone has observed that women often use logic more as a tool, while men tend to treat logic as the bottom line.  In my own life, I have had to retrain myself over the years to stop shutting down my intuitive impressions, in favour of what seemed to be the obvious logical course of action.  I have found that when I close down and ignore my intuitive perceptions, they become weaker and much fainter.

Gary Smalley admits that generalizations about gender differences are probably only true 70 or 80 percent of the time.  Every individual is indeed an individual.  Even so it is amazing how many couples are finding a new lease on their marriage through learning to rejoice in gender differences.  Smalley noted how often men tend to be focused on gathering and sharing facts.  Facts can far too easily swallow up feelings in marriage.  This can lead us as men to be “Mr. Fix-it’s” in our intimate relationships.  Yet there is no better way to destroy a healthy marriage than to attempt to fix our wives and solve their problems.  Smalley and others remind us that our addiction to fixing our wives must be replaced by a radical commitment to just being there and listening, no matter how helpless and painful that makes us feel.  When our wives keep talking about their problems,  we often fall into the trap of defensiveness, somehow feeling that we’re to blame.  Yet in fact the most healing thing that we can do is to not run, and not defend ourselves, but rather hang in there with our total attention on our wives.

John Gray observes that when a woman gives advice to another woman, it is most often seen as an act of kindness and generosity.  Women firmly believe that when something is working, it can always work better.  Their nature is to want to improve things.  Gray observes however that this “Home Improvement” tendency often backfires when applied across the gender divide.  Offering help and advice to a man can make him feel incompetent, weak, and even unloved.  Advice in the male world is usually only received well when asked for in the first place.  Gray holds that one of the best gifts a wife can give her husband is to abstain from giving him advice, and instead give him acceptance and approval.  A man’s deepest fear, says Gray, is that he is not good enough or that he is incompetent.  Accordingly one of the best gifts a woman can give her man is to believe in him, and to stand with him, when he begins to doubts his own abilities.

The Good Book calls men to love their wives as themselves and for wives to honour their husbands.  Why does it say this?  Because as men we are often crippled in expressing romantic love.  Why do romance novels sell by the hundreds of millions?  Primarily because we men are missing out on this very deep need of our wives to be cared for and romantically loved.  Too often our marriages become predictable and stale as a result.  Why then does the Good Book call wives to honour their husbands?  Because in this dog-eat-dog competitive world, if our wives won’t honour us and believe in us, then no one likely will.  When my wife honours me, I feel like a million dollars.  My prayer is that many husbands and wives reading this message may learn to rejoice in their glorious God-given gender differences.

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.

-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 Comment

Happy Valentine’s Day

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

I will always remember Valentine’s Day back in Grade 7. My best friends celebrated Valentine’s Day by having each of us name the 10 girls we liked best in order (1-10). Having only recently recovered from the “girl avoiding” phase, I felt rather hard pressed to name 10 girls I liked best, (especially as there were only 15 girls in our class). So by the time I’d named the 10th girl, I was really scraping the barrel. I figured that the girl that got No. 1 position really deserved something special on Valentines Day. So I bought her a big heart shaped box of chocolates. She was in shock, also delighted. I also invited her to our June Grade 7 graduation dance, which she accepted. Love however can be fickle, so by the time of our dance, one of my “best friends” had taken my girlfriend and squeezed me out of the picture. It was a disappointing end to Valentine’s day!

Where does Valentine’s Day come from anyway? Its official title is Saint Valentine’s Day. The celebration of February 14th appears to refer not to one but two Valentines. The first Saint called Valentine was a Roman Priest martyred on the Flaminian Way under the Emperor Claudius around 269 A.D. The second St. Valentine was a Bishop of Terni in Interamna, who was taken to Rome and martyred, and whose remains were later conveyed back to Terni.

Why do I still enjoy Valentines Day many years later? 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 counsellors 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

-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 


Leave a comment

My Beloved on Valentine’s Day

 by the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

Valentine’s Day’s full title is St. Valentine’s Day, because it was named after two St Valentines. They were both Italian clergy martyred in the 3rd century AD for their Christian faith.  Because of their sacrificial love, it has become one of the most popular annual events celebrated by hundred of millions around the world. It has become a traditional date night where a wise husband remembers to take his wife out for dinner, followed perhaps by a movie or theatre production. (Husbands, please note that such dates are much less expensive than divorce lawyer’s fee; so put Feb 14th in your IPhone or Blackberry).

Many years ago in a Deep Cove Crier article about marriage, I wrote the following words: “Inside the heart of each and every one of us there is a longing to be understood by someone who really cares. When a person is understood, he or she can put up with almost anything in the world.”  After being posted (unbeknown to me) on hundreds of Romance websites, I was approached to write a chapter for the upcoming Canadian anthology “Hot Apple Cider 2’  about this romantic quote.  In Hot Apple Cider 2, I commented that my beloved wife “Janice and I are learning afresh the joy of ordinary pleasures: taking regular time together for peaceful walks, chatting over a cup of tea, listening to each other’s daily experiences, watching a video together, going out for dinner, and even reading together.”

One day I picked up the North Shore News, read Martin Millerchip’s article about Presentation House, and on a whim said to Janice: “Let’s go out on a date night to see Antony Holland’s St Mark’s Gospel.”  Being remarkably adaptable, Janice agreed.  What a wonderful evening. Unplanned, unexpected, and totally memorable.  Happy marriages need to have that sense of adventure, of the unexpected.  Boredom in marriage is the devil’s best tool.

 

Sadly many husbands stop dating their wives after they marry them.  “What happened to the man I married?”, many wives wonder.  Why was he so attentive before marriage, and now he would rather hang out on the golf course or stay late at work?  Our wives deeply need to be romanced, pursued, won over every week.  That is one reason why the romance novels are a Billionaire dollar industry, because we husbands are not always putting our wives first.  My wife Janice needs to know that she is more important than my work, my hobbies, my writing, my sports.  She needs to be Number One under God in my life.

I love to hold my beloved Janice’s hand when we are out on a date.  Sitting there in Presentation House, watching Antony Holland perform St Mark’s Gospel, I often reached out to her and gently squeezed her hand when something was really moving. Many people don’t know that Mark’s Gospel is high drama, and when done by a gifted artist, can bring you to tears.  Antony Holland, at age 91, is literally North America’s oldest leading actor.  If I have half as much energy when I am in my nineties, I will be deeply grateful.  As Martin Millerchip of the North Shore News put it, Holland’s ‘hard to resist, perhaps like Jesus’.  Holland directed plays throughout the Middle East for the WWII Allied forces, and founded Studio 58 at Langara College where my parents attended his plays for many years. (My late mother once told me that Studio 58 initially rehearsed its play in our St. Matthias Oakridge church basement.)

I first became aware of Antony Holland from watching his phenomenal acting in ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’. No one dances quite like Holland in the final ‘Morrie’ scene. Antony Holland is the quintessential actor. He loves what he does. At age 91, he has just started.  Love is what motivates him. Love of acting and love of people.  In both St Mark’s Gospel and Tuesdays with Morrie, the love of God overflows through Holland.

 

This Valentine’s Day, may I love my wife even more deeply than Holland loves acting and loves his audience.  May my beloved wife know that she means everything to me, that she must never come second, that my heart is still aflame with tenderness for her, thirty-three years after I said ‘I do’. May this gift of tender romance be real and life-changing this Feb 14th for your marriage, for your family, for your community.

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.

-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 Comment

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.


Leave a comment

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 


1 Comment

Only Five Problems in any Marriage

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Marriage can often be overwhelming for many.  That is why I so much appreciate the initiative being taken by Dr. Gil Stieglitz in bringing new hope to marriages.  Through his years of study and practical interaction with many couples, Gil has discovered that there are only five problems in any marriage.  This insight is helpful, especially for men.  It helps us get a handle on the challenges that we face in developing intimacy, that there are only five problems in any marriage.

 

 Dr. Gil summarizes the five problems of marriage as

1) Needs or Roles

2) SSSAAADDD Behaviours (when our needs are not being met)

3) Temperament Differences

4) Relational Drainage

5) Past Baggage

 He has seen phenomenal breakthroughs when couples begin to address and work on these five key areas.  To assist marriages, he has developed a six-part DVD series  , with accompanying books, which walk couples through each of these five areas.

Dr. Gil, who pastored a congregation for many years, believes that churches can make a big difference in helping strengthen marriages.  After all, God both invented and is deeply committed to the ‘institution’ of marriage.  During the twenty-three years that I have been pastoring St. Simon’s North Vancouver, I have seen many outwardly successful people on the North Shore whose inner lives were crumbling because of relational challenges.  Sometimes it takes a major crisis, like a marriage struggle, before we are willing to cry out to God and admit how much we need him.  Many men that I have known are totally baffled when their wife finally packs up and leaves.

Dr. Gil believes in being very practical in the help that he offers to men and women.  So he has developed two acrostics that assist us to build marriages of great joy.  For men, he has developed the acrostic: H.U.S.B.A.N.D. which identifies the fourteen top needs of our wives. (Honour, Understanding, Security, Building Unity, Agreement, Nurture, Defender).  Love, says Dr. Gil, is meeting needs.  The first letter “H” (Honour) has been most helpful for me personally.  Dr. Gil teaches that women do something every day that many men don’t.  They give an informal ‘computer test’ to their spouse to see where they are in the structure of his priorities: “Are they above his work or below his work, above the children or below his children, above his hobbies or below his hobbies?”  If the wife does not win that computer test, guess who loses.  The husband does, because the wife cannot blossom and respond to him from the depth of her being.  Every day, the husband needs to honour or add value to his wife in practical, specific ways.

Many men know how to be men, but not husbands.  The word ‘Husband’ actually comes from the term ‘Husbandman’, which means ‘gardener’.  We as husbands are called to ‘garden’ our wife, to nurture her, care for her, and put her first under God.  You can find out more about the ‘H.U.S.B.A.N.D.’ acrostic by checking out Dr. Gil’s book ‘How to Be a Godly Husband’ .

For Wives, Dr. Gil and Dana Stieglitz have developed the acrostic ‘R.A.D.I.C.A.L.’ which identify the top fourteen needs of one’s husband (Respect, Adaptability, Domestic Leadership, Intimacy, Companionship, Attractiveness, and Listening).  Along with the Marriage DVDs, Gil and Dana Stieglitz have co-written a book “Building a Marriage of Great Joy” which explains how to be a ‘RADICAL’ wife

Gil and Dana teach that respecting or acknowledging the strengths of one’s husband meets a deep need, but is not always easy for women to do.  In the same way that wives want their husbands to give them unconditional love, husbands need their wives to give them unconditional respect.  As the Good Book puts it in Ephesians 5:23, “Husbands, love your wives and, Wives, respect your husband.”

 

I am so pleased about Dr Gil’s  book Marital Intelligence that brings together all of this material into one helpful book.  My prayer is that those hearing about these resources will not just be hearers of the word but doers of the word who put this into practice in their own marriages.

 

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