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

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.

Happy Death Day: here’s to getting clarity in life

By |October 31st, 2017|

I walked through the cemetery today. I often do. It was me and the cold and the wet and my old umbrella. The umbrella is covered in deco of old newspaper headlines: the Jays won the World Series; Gorbachev was dismantling the USSR. My umbrella and I blew around like the news

Is God simply a figment of our imagination?

By |October 7th, 2017|

It was a recent evening at the University of Toronto when I was reminded of it all, that hope is better than skepticism, that faith is better than doubt, that love (in the abiding sense of charitable love) is better than fear. I was reminded, too, how I’ve always felt more kinship

Facing death and seeing the heroic nature of life

By |September 23rd, 2017|

I don’t believe in war. In name and in family heritage, I’m Mennonite. In spirit, I’m pacifist. But children, it seems to me, should have a working knowledge of war. Because in war there’s not only darkness and fear, there’s light and courage. There’s humanity. There’s humility.

End of summer, back to school, time for JFKs

By |September 2nd, 2017|

So, my children, like children everywhere, are about to return to school. This brings some uncertainties. It’s my children’s first-ever September back-to-school in Canada. More so, I’ll need to work at having more JFKs again. Before I explain what a JFK is, let me say that in

Don’t tell the kids, but we bought a new house

By |August 11th, 2017|

So, the children’s mother and I bought a house. “Let’s not tell the children,” she said. “Okay,” I replied. So we didn’t. Now before I share why, let me say that we all have a relationship with our houses, and in my family I’m the one with a sort of longsuffering in this union. This is the story.

There’s bound to be some blood along the way

By |July 24th, 2017|

Today we’re going to talk about the boy. Child #2. My son. You may have a boy also. And if he hasn’t yet put his head inside the open mouth of an alligator, then, well, congratulations. My boy announced recently that he’s going to jump from a plane.

Wherever we are, we all need grace in our lives

By |June 30th, 2017|

I’m a white Canadian. But I easily imagine myself as a dark Arabian. A Muslim. There, on the streets with a kufiya on my head. Or there, I’m a Muslim woman with a beautiful, but hidden, face, walking along the beach. I’m just telling you. I mean, what if I was born in, say, Yemen.

For Gloria, the fatherless girl we left behind

By |June 17th, 2017|

She's the Ugandan girl who we left behind in a part of the world where, this weekend, there is no Father's Day. And even if there was, this girl, our friend, has no father to honour on it. So while it's only suitable that so many fathers and children

Many Ontario doctors caught in euthanasia dilemma

By |June 2nd, 2017|

He’s a friend. A doctor. His name is Stuart. I stood at the front door of his home, my son beside me. Stuart is the keeper of the children’s bicycles while we’re abroad. We swung by to make arrangements to get them. That’s all it was, an ordinary May evening. But the world was somehow different. Its axis had shifted. At least for Stuart. He’d just returned from Queen’s Park, he informed me, with other doctors lobbying for a

Saving mothers, one modest step at a time

By |May 12th, 2017|

In sub-Saharan Africa they call childbirth “war.” If you’re a woman about to deliver a child in that part of the world, this is your fate. Imagine it. You’re young. (Younger than most Canadians can imagine.) You're poor. You're alone.

The sacredness of the moment

By |October 6th, 2018|

She was a friend and it was her funeral and we were reminded how life is little more than a fleeting mist. Moments of her life were shown. Photos. There she is — her name is Wendy — as a young girl. Later, a graduate. Then Wendy the writer and editor, the years I knew her. I found her to be a thinking person who laughed easily

On dreams, flying and Aslan’s country

By |September 15th, 2018|

I had a dream the other night, an outrageous foray into the sublimely bizarre. I was fighting a gorilla. He wore glasses, which, funny enough, looked like mine. I stood in the cleft of a rockface, and had a motorcycle in my shoulder bag. I was going to ride away, fly, somehow. Crazy for sure. Our dreams are such a mystery.

I am Dards, the lost rock star

By |September 1st, 2018|

So I was recently getting my passport renewed when I was mistaken for a lost rock star.  “Are you the long lost Beatle?” I was asked by a passport attendant who noticed my Beatles T-shirt. “No,” I said. “But I can see why you’d think so, because even when I appear lost I still carry myself like a cool and laid-back rocker.

Bread and wine with the neighbours

By |August 11th, 2018|

It was a long time ago and a ridiculous day. I went for a sleepover. “Chris has invited you,” I was told by the grownups around me. So with my pyjamas and such, I walked some distance to my friend’s house. Chris wasn’t home, so I sat and waited. His sister looked at me like I was from Mars. I waited.