July 21, 2010
I share my father’s fascination with history. My father loves to read, research, and learn. ‘Like Father, like Son’ is true in so many unexpected ways. Like my father, I want to keep learning and growing until I leave this planet earth. I believe that we either grow or shrink. You can’t remain static.
Like my dad, I have become involved in the area of writing and journalism. My father was a writer and then the editor of the Telecom Advisor for over 15 years. Since 1988, I have been privileged over the past 22 years to write over 270 articles for the Deep Cove Crier, and for the past ten years co-ordinated the ‘Spiritually Speaking’ column for the North Shore News.
It is wonderful to have a father who models helpful skills. Whether it was helping my father to cut wood with his skillsaw or to cut the grass, my dad has always been a coach, a mentor, and an equipper who loves to help me discover new abilities. If my dad is excited about a new book or a new movie, he eagerly shares his enthusiasm and invites our participation. I also find myself being that way with my own three sons!
One of my father’s trademarks is that whenever the family gathered for holidays or birthdays, out comes his video camera! In the early days, video cameras required painfully bright backdrop lights. We would all groan when the bright lights came out, but later be thrilled by the immortalized visual memories.
My family and my father are wonderful gifts that I appreciate more and more as I become older. Family for me is inextricably connected with thousands of unforgettable and often hilarious memories. It is also connected with times of great sorrow and loss, great joy and celebration. Family is birthdays, weddings, funerals, baptisms, anniversaries, graduations, Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, and yes, Father’s Day. My life would be much less rich without the gift of my family and my father.
One of my father’s most memorable projects has been his family memoirs. The term ‘memoir’ comes from the French ‘memoire’ for memory. We as Canadians are a nation that often suffers from cultural and spiritual amnesia. We so quickly forget the wonderful stories of our pioneering ancestors who helped make Canada what it is today. My dad often comments how he wished that he had listened more closely as a teenager when his now deceased aunts and uncles would talk about family history.
Just like the famous Afro-American ‘Roots’ Book & TV –mini-series, my father’s memoirs are helping me understand better who I am and where I have come from. My Dad, as an electrical engineer, loves anything to do with computers and telecommunications.
Through the use of a scanner and PhotoShop, my Dad has incorporated in his memoirs over a hundred pictures that capture the essence of our family life.
So much family history functions as oral tradition that can easily be lost or muddled within one generation. Much of Canada’s rich Christian heritage is being lost precisely that way. Psalm 102 says: ‘Let this be written for a future generation…’. By my father’s writing down his memoirs, I will be able to pass this gift of history onto my children and future grandchildren. They too will be able to learn the exploits of their grandfather being raised in a coal-mining town outside of Edmonton, helping his blacksmith father shoe horses, serving as an Air Force WWII wireless radio mechanic in the Queen Charlotte Islands, becoming an electrical Engineer at UBC, becoming President of Lenkurt Electric, before becoming a hi-tech communications consultant. The inspiring thing about my father is that he has always been able to ‘re-invent’ himself. When one door closed in his life, he would always find another door that would open. Like my hero Winston Churchill, my father never, never, ever gives up! He also hasn’t given up on writing his memoirs.
The Good Book says: ‘What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us, we will not hide them from our children; we will tell the next generation…’ (Psalm 78). My Father Day prayer for fathers reading this article is that each of us will have the courage to never give up, and the wisdom to transmit the cultural and spiritual gifts of our family history to the emerging generation.
The Reverend Ed Hird, Rector
St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver
Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)
-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier
-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’
p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.
-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide : Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada
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July 21, 2010
Many people around us have given up on a search for truth. It just seems too costly, too frustrating, too ethereal. Many fear that the truth, if we can ever find it, will trap us with rules and regulations, turning us into slaves. Many years ago, the world’s most famous human being said: ‘You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.’ A radical claim indeed.
The Roman governor Pontius Pilate replied to this claim by cynically saying: ‘What is truth?’ He was probably so used as a politician to lying and being lied to, that truth had become a meaningless commodity. All of us crave for politicians that will tell us the truth and stop lying to us. It is so easy to dismiss such yearnings as naïve fantasies. Yet if no one can be trusted in our society, then the foundations of our democratic culture are indeed fragile.
True democracy is based on the gift of freedom, and the gift of freedom comes from the knowledge of truth. “You shall know the truth” means that truth is attainable, truth is knowledge, truth matters. “The truth shall set you free” means that truth is not abstract and irrelevant, but powerful and liberating. Truth changes everything. Lies kill everything.
The ‘Big Book’ in Alcoholics Anonymous says that anyone can get well if they are willing to be totally honest and truthful with themselves, God, and others. I deeply admire the radical honesty and vulnerability of AA folk. They have a lot to teach many people in church. One of my relatives, who is a professional counsellor, has a poster at his office that says: ‘The truth will set you free but first it will make you miserable’. The truth really does hurt, but when the truth is spoken in love rather than in judgement, there is amazing healing that can take place.
Jesus said; ‘I am the Way and the Truth and the Life’. He claimed to embody the essence of truth and meaning in his very person. To Pontius Pilate, he provocatively said: ‘Everyone on the side of truth listens to me’. Many people want to patronize Jesus and say nice things about him. But how many of us really want to listen deeply to him and let his words impact the core of our personalities?
The problem with the truth is that it is most often deeply inconvenient, morally inconvenient, socially inconvenient, financially inconvenient, politically inconvenient. I remember how Mark Twain once said that it is not the parts of the Bible which he doesn’t understand that trouble him, but rather the parts that he does understand. The truth will set us free, if we are willing to pay the price. But the cost can be very high indeed. The gift of democracy has been won again and again because many of our ancestors laid down their lives so that we might be free.
All dictators hate the truth. Mussolini did, Hitler did, and Stalin did. But the truly great leaders love truth, because they know that only the truth sets people free. Only the truth brings growth. Only the truth brings life, abundant and overflowing. As Canadians, we need to rediscover our forebears’ passionate commitment to truth and freedom. Democracy cannot survive without it. Families cannot survive without it.
Our society desperately needs a fresh infusion of the Spirit of Truth to stir up our consciences, soften our hearts, and enlighten our minds. As the Good Book puts it, our hearts are deceitful above all things and beyond cure. We have an amazing ability to fool ourselves and hurt ourselves, yet the Spirit of Truth promises to lead us into all truth. My prayer for those reading this article is that Jesus the Truth may give to each of us a renewed hunger for truth, truth lived, truth felt, truth embraced. May each of us know the truth in a deep intimate way, and may the truth radically set each of us free. May each of us be able to say like Martin Luther King: ‘Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’