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

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.

The summer my family made the news

By |July 14th, 2018|

So, it's my 50th, that time to remember. And celebrate. No, not that 50th. Not my 50th birthday. That day came and went three years ago today. It was something else. On that day, the children – God bless them – decided to crack open their savings, walk to a local party store

Take your shoes off. Read a book.

By |June 23rd, 2018|

My children get a kick out of it, my barefooted ways. I just don’t like to wear shoes. Even when I drive. Too many years in Africa, I suppose. Now that it’s summer, all the more. It reminds me of our relationship with books. There’s a holiness there. Or there should be. But are we losing the sense of it? I think we are.

Democracy? Meh.

By |June 2nd, 2018|

It was the other day, an ordinary day, a Saturday, when I voted. It was something. Really something. From my front door I walked to my advance polling station. Nobody harassed me on the way. I was met with kind greetings and smiles. Nobody had a gun. I didn’t even have my voter’s card, but a single piece of ID showed

What if I had married the Queen?

By |May 19th, 2018|

Long before the children’s mother came along, I wanted to marry Queen Elizabeth. Or Mrs. Clark. Or Dianne Blouin. Dianne was an angelic presence and the sister of my classmate Michael. She was 12, older by two full years and clearly out of reach. The best I could do was get a photo of Dianne.

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

On funny ideas, stewardship, and the bambino’s Sweet 16th

By |June 8th, 2019|

It was a gift from Oma and Opa, an outfit for the little bambino, the newborn, and this is what it said: “Property of Mommy and Daddy.” The photo landed in this space. Sixteen years ago. It’s like clothing announcing that you’re “Property of the Toronto Raptors.” Everyone knows you’re not, just like everyone knows that parents don’t own their

Musing (and moodling) from the world of words

By |May 25th, 2019|

Today let’s talk about the liberal arts, and, in particular, words. This, because the Conference Board of Canada recently affirmed that the liberal arts are vital when it comes to preparing for the work world, if not life itself. Universities tracking these things are saying the same. It’s refreshing news because to have a degree in say, literature

The holiness of motherhood

By |May 11th, 2019|

There’s something holy about motherhood. My father’s tears remind me. My wife’s steadiness reminds me. Even my mother, in her long absence, reminds me.There we are sitting in a meadow in Berlin. A large book is on my lap. My mother is teaching me to read. We’re enjoying each other. She tickles me.My pant suspenders – I always laugh when

Life’s rich comedy and God in unexpected places

By |April 20th, 2019|

The comedy of life, the absolute comedy, is that the God of this weekend, the one who walked and slept and bled and cried and, sure, laughed among us, is still found in the most unexpected places. This comedy is different than the comedy of, say, Saturday Night Live.