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Home2017-04-17T07:03:24-04:00

What if pain and suffering are also nourishment?

By |May 5th, 2018|

A bus hits a semi on a highway. A van drives along a busy walkway. Death arrives as casually as one day following another. And all the pain with it. Humboldt. Toronto. And the next one? Healing will come. But much of it will come later. First it’s been time to cry with those who cry.

Honouring Bryan Wylie: A life of teaching and giving

By |April 21st, 2018|

It’s the painters and the writers, the sculptors and the musicians, who tell us, the rest of us, to stop and look and listen. To pay attention. To see the holiness in the ordinary. This is the heart of the matter, the nub of it, the core of life. The times when we manage to get ourselves off of

Letting go of fear, finding life’s sweet symmetry

By |April 7th, 2018|

Today’s rumination is about the flags of the world and the hope of the world and the fears of the world, (or at least some fears in Canada), even as it’s about how the children’s mother helped me get over some of my own fears. We live in a world that’s somehow naturally saddled with fear

A stitch in time

By |March 10th, 2018|

I don’t know about this business tonight of moving to Daylight Saving Time. It doesn’t feel entirely right. Not complete. Not really. I’m with the Walrus from Alice in Wonderland. “If you knew time as well as I do, you wouldn’t be talking about wasting it,” is what the Walrus said.  And if you can't waste time, it seems

The demonization of touching in our times

By |February 10th, 2018|

Today we’ll talk about touch. And the California girl. The California girl was a beautiful girl – you can imagine her California hair and skin and eyes and all that – but she might as well have been a dog. She’d be better off as a dog. This is what she said. Then she’d get affection and

Breathing clean air in a pit-latrine nation

By |February 3rd, 2018|

It’s Saturday morning and we’re in the newsroom of The Standard, talking – well, laughing – about Donald Trump’s most recent step into a cow patty. African nations, home to more than one billion of the world’s people, are in Trump’s alleged words, “shithole countries.” The president

In celebration of Flying Dad Dudes

By |January 13th, 2018|

I love my work. In fact, at the airport this morning a stranger approached me and said, “Excuse me. Are you the guy who writes about fatherhood stuff? I appreciate that so much. But really, how do you do it? Your kids, so well adjusted. Your wife, so remarkably hot. You, always on the mark. You’re one lucky dude!”

Christmas is a time to look at the light in the darkness

By |December 22nd, 2017|

It’s only December but my thin bones already long for summer. For light. For warmth. Where’s Africa? It’s over the ocean. And I’m on this side, often chilled when I stand at the large window behind my bedroom desk. I look into the darkness, so deep and wide and without form.

The power and the truth in literary fiction

By |December 13th, 2017|

My own view is that winter fathers and their kids should get free movie tickets on weekends. For Sunday matinees, free popcorn should be added. Yes, free movies for the winter fathers of the world. Someone should start a petition. Winter fathers are fathers who are separated or divorced

For the love of a handwritten letter

By |December 2nd, 2017|

Today’s rumination is about the art of writing. Cursive. For the children out there, you’ll want to ask your parents or grandparents what this is, and how it all works, and why on God’s good earth anyone would involve themselves in it. I feel like a Neanderthal for even mentioning it, but since I’m older than I look I’ll tell you that when I

Unanswered prayers and the unexpected things in life

By |November 11th, 2017|

The young lady was my heart’s desire. She was my long-time prayer. This, when I was a much younger version of myself. It was on the 11th day of the 11th month when her letter arrived. She wrote briefly and dispassionately. Her words drained the room of colour.

Hey, let’s talk about sex!

By |March 23rd, 2019|

In a few days the children’s mother and I are at a marriage retreat. It’s our first since I can’t remember when. The invitation, by fluke, came a day after I was propositioned to have an affair. Now, in this space, I don’t talk much about it, sex and all. This is because Mennonites didn’t even know what sex was until 1985,

Now I lay me down to sleep …

By |March 9th, 2019|

The beauty of sleep is that you don’t need to think about it. Thinking just gummies it all up. No, you simply relax. You let go. You lay it down, all the cares of the day and all the cares of the world.You lay yourself down and surrender to what’s larger than yourself: the night. Even a child can do it.

The strange charm of Captain Amon and Hockey Uganda

By |March 2nd, 2019|

The charm, the absolute charm, of Captain Amon is that he’ll appear at your doorstep in East Africa at the most inopportune times.You’ll be having a bite to eat, or a nap, or a shower, and there it is, the knock on your guesthouse door. “Mr. Thom? Hello, Mr. Thom? Mr. Thom. Are you there?

The fragrance of (my) life

By |February 9th, 2019|

So I'm in the middle of Africa dining with a colleague and he declares, "That's great news about Jean. Congratulations!" Out comes his phone and all the details and I'm in the dark and feeling rather sheepish about it. My bride, the children's mother, in her natural humility, hadn't told me of her recent recognition as a Canadian