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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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As Sick as our Secrets

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

There’s an oft-heard saying in the recovery community: “We’re as sick as our secrets.”  Over the years, I have met many people in abusive situations who have paid a great price to eventually extricate themselves from the vicious cycle of manipulation and recrimination. Sexual and physical abuse, in particular, scars the victim deeply.  Often the victims falsely blame themselves. Recovery from abuse involves breaking the conspiracy of silence and deception perpetrated by abusers. Only the truth, however painful, can really set us free. Secrecy keeps us chained to our abusers.

At the heart of the ‘twelve steps’, in Step Four and Five, is the willingness to break the power of secrecy by admitting to God, yourself, and another person the exact nature of how you have wronged other people.  I have done many ‘Fifth Steps’ for others over the past twenty-eight years.  It is always such a privilege.  I feel like I grow so much through this opportunity.  I notice, however, that ‘Fifth Steps’ are very difficult in our secretive, victim-based culture.  Many people want to come to me and admit the exact nature of how they have been wronged, but not how they have wronged other people.  Until we can open up and get such things off our chest, we are still stuck with guilt, recrimination, and self-doubt.  We really are as sick as our secrets.

The Good Book tells us to cast our cares upon the Lord, for He cares for us.  I have found that sharing deeply my heart with another caring, listening person can be profoundly liberating.  That is why we are encouraged by James, Jesus’ brother, to ‘confess our sins to each other and pray for each other that we may be healed.’  I have a number of friends who have had the courage to go see Bonnie Chatwin, a North Shore Pastoral & Clinical Counselor.  It was not at all easy for them to do this, but I was amazed by the breakthroughs that they have achieved.  How much do we want to be well?  Often the price of being well is giving up our obsessive need for independence and secrecy, and beginning to trust another person with our life story.

We as Canadians live in a culture that has become more secretive and private.  The vast majority of Canadians still believe in God, prayer, and Jesus’ resurrection, but such faith concerns have largely gone into the closet.  There is a widespread perception that faith is so personal and private that it cannot be mentioned publicly.

The  fast-rising and falling Da Vinci Code fad fit totally into that way of thinking.  It implicitly taught that true spirituality is about dark hidden secrets that only the elite may know about: secrets allegedly hidden in Da Vinci’s paintings, secrets covered by an alleged secret society named the Priory of Sion, secrets about Mary Magdalene and Mother Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Over one hundred million North Americans have either read the Da Vinci Code book or seen the movie.  There is something in us that is drawn to secret knowledge and secret passageways.  But is secrecy really the way to health and life?  Is secrecy really the key to genuine spirituality?

The most famous person in the world once said: “I have spoken openly to the world…I said nothing in secret.” (John 18:20)  Jesus also said that “whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed or secret is meant to be brought out into the open.” (Matthew 4:22)  Rabbi Saul/Paul, who was Jesus’ most famous disciple, commented: “we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.  On the contrary, we set forth the truth plainly…” (2 Corinthians 4:2)

Contrary to the claims of the Da Vinci Code, Christianity has no secret codes, no secret initiation rites, no secret vows.  Jesus said nothing in secret.  Jesus brought everything out in the open.  We really are as sick as our secrets.

 

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

-previously published in the 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 


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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/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 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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Don’t Worry, Be Happy!?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdDean Inge

Dean Inge once said that worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due. Another person said that “worry, like a rocking chair, will give you something to do, but it won’t get you there.” In Canada today, there are all kinds of things to worry about if we let ourselves: the economy, the health crisis, the epidemic of broken marriages. But the truth is that worry is completely worthless, Worry drains away our energy for living, and makes us far less efficient and productive. Research shows that 95% of the things we worry about never actually happen. From a cost/benefit analysis, worrying is not worth the bother. That is why the most famous person on earth said, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

 

Jesus Asleep at the switchMany of you reading this article will be thinking: “Yes, I agree that worry is a waste of energy, but how can I stop worrying?” One helpful solution is to view worry as an addiction, just like an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Addictions are broken, by admitting our powerlessness over our addiction (worry) and turning to a power higher than ourselves. Jesus said that the solution to worry is to “seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness . . .” We worry most about things over which we have the least control. We feel most secure and in control when we think that we have our life figured out. Yet often our very desire to be in control causes us to alienate the ones we care for most, whether at home or at work. When we feel in control, others tend to feel controlled by us, and will often distance themselves from us. As we give over our need for control to our Higher Power, then we stop pushing others away from us.

 

Alcoholics Anonymous is famous for popularizing the phrase “One Day at a Time.” Very few alcoholics can imagine being sober for the rest of their lives, or even for one year. But they can imagine being sober for one day. Similarly the solution to worry is found in focusing our energy on today’s concerns, rather than tomorrow’s

That is why Jesus said:jesus3

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” It is the future that we worry the most about. The future scares us more than our past or present, because we can’t control it. As one person said, “Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday!” Yet worry is broken when we realize that Jesus is the Lord (in control) of our future, as well of our past and present.

That is why Hebrews 13:8 says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Viewed from that perspective, worry is essentially a failure to trust God with our problems. If we can really trust that God is in control and will never desert us, worry ceases to paralyze us.

 

My prayer for those reading this article is that we all will learn to break our worry addictions, and leave them “in the hand of the Man who stilled the Waters.”

 

 

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/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. 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