January 15, 2011
Valentine’s Day’s full title is St. Valentine’s Day, because it was named after two St Valentines. They were both Italian clergy martyred in the 3rd century AD for their Christian faith. Because of their sacrificial love, it has become one of the most popular annual events celebrated by hundred of millions around the world. It has become a traditional date night where a wise husband remembers to take his wife out for dinner, followed perhaps by a movie or theatre production. (Husbands, please note that such dates are much less expensive than divorce lawyer’s fee; so put Feb 14th in your IPhone or Blackberry).
Nineteen years ago in a Deep Cove Crier article about marriage, I wrote the following words: “Inside the heart of each and every one of us there is a longing to be understood by someone who really cares. When a person is understood, he or she can put up with almost anything in the world.” After being posted (unbeknown to me) on hundreds of Romance websites, I was approached to write a chapter for the upcoming Canadian anthology “Hot Apple Cider 2’ about this romantic quote. In Hot Apple Cider 2, I commented that my beloved wife “Janice and I are learning afresh the joy of ordinary pleasures: taking regular time together for peaceful walks, chatting over a cup of tea, listening to each other’s daily experiences, watching a video together, going out for dinner, and even reading together.”
Recently I picked up the North Shore News, read Martin Millerchip’s article about Presentation House, and on a whim said to Janice: “Let’s go out on a date night to see Antony Holland’s St Mark’s Gospel.” Being remarkably adaptable, Janice agreed. What a wonderful evening. Unplanned, unexpected, and totally memorable. Happy marriages need to have that sense of adventure, of the unexpected. Boredom in marriage is the devil’s best tool.
Sadly many husbands stop dating their wives after they marry them. “What happened to the man I married?”, many wives wonder. Why was he so attentive before marriage, and now he would rather hang out on the golf course or stay late at work? Our wives deeply need to be romanced, pursued, won over every week. That is one reason why the romance novels are a Billionaire dollar industry, because we husbands are not always putting our wives first. My wife Janice needs to know that she is more important than my work, my hobbies, my writing, my sports. She needs to be Number One under God in my life.
I love to hold my beloved Janice’s hand when we are out on a date. Sitting there in Presentation House, watching Antony Holland perform St Mark’s Gospel, I often reached out to her and gently squeezed her hand when something was really moving. Many people don’t know that Mark’s Gospel is high drama, and when done by a gifted artist, can bring you to tears. Antony Holland, at age 91, is literally North America’s oldest leading actor. If I have half as much energy when I am in my nineties, I will be deeply grateful. As Martin Millerchip of the North Shore News put it, Holland’s ‘hard to resist, perhaps like Jesus’. Holland directed plays throughout the Middle East for the WWII Allied forces, and founded Studio 58 at Langara College where my parents attended his plays for many years. (My mother tells me that Studio 58 initially rehearsed its play in our St. Matthias Oakridge church basement.)
I first became aware of Antony Holland from watching his phenomenal acting in ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’. No one dances quite like Holland in the final ‘Morrie’ scene. Antony Holland is the quintessential actor. He loves what he does. At age 91, he has just started. Love is what motivates him. Love of acting and love of people. In both St Mark’s Gospel and Tuesdays with Morrie, the love of God overflows through Holland.
This Valentine’s Day, may I love my wife even more deeply than Holland loves acting and loves his audience. May my beloved wife know that she means everything to me, that she must never come second, that my heart is still aflame with tenderness for her, thirty-three years after I said ‘I do’. May this gift of tender romance be real and life-changing this Feb 14th for your marriage, for your family, for your community.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector, BSW, MDiv, DMin
St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver
Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)
-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’
-published in the February 2011 Deep Cove Crier
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 $9.99CDN/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
You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide
August 9, 2010
A very intense business man went to the local doctor suffering from stress. His GP said to him: “I have a simple solution for stress. If you don’t golf, start. If you do golf, stop.”
Our Lead Bishop Chuck Murphy comes from Pawley Island, South Carolina, an area which has dozens of world-class golf courses. So naturally he loves to tell golf stories. While in Vancouver BC at an Anglican Celebration of Orthodoxy, he gave us one of his favorites: “Moses, Jesus, and an old man are golfing. Moses steps up to the tee and hits the ball. It goes sailing over the fairway and lands in the water trap . Moses parts the water and chips the ball onto the green.
Jesus steps to the tee and hits the ball. It goes sailing over the fairway and lands in the water trap. Jesus walks on the water and chips the ball onto the green.
The old man steps up to the tee and hits the ball. It goes sailing over the fairway and heads for the water trap, a fish jumps up and grabs the ball in its mouth. As the fish is falling back down into the water, an eagle swoops down and grabs the fish in its claws. The eagle flies off over the green, where a lightning bolt shoots from the sky and barely misses it. Startled, the eagle drops the fish When the fish hits the ground, the ball pops out of its mouth and rolls into the hole for a hole-in-one.
Jesus then turns to the old man and says “Good shot, Dad!”
Our local Seymour/Deep Cove area is a bit of a golf haven, with two golf courses: Seymour Golf & Country Club , Northlands Golf Course and two driving ranges: Takaya Golf Centre and Seymour Creek Golf Centre.
With three active sons in their twenties, I have had the pleasure of giving them golfing tips. I have many happy memories of caddying for my father at the UBC Golf Course. As a teenager, I had a membership at Langara Golf course and used to golf religiously three times a week. I even golfed in the snow which was quite a feat. Because my parents had paid for my membership, I remember feeling guilty if I wasn’t golfing enough!
My eldest son, who has worked over seven years at Safeway, wanted to be ready for a Safeway Golf tournament. After teaching my son everything I knew about golfing, I decided that it was time to go to the Parkgate Library and listen to the pros. Fortunately the library had dozens of golf books and videos. There is even a ‘Golf Rules & Etiquette for DUMMIES’ book! Every book and video had literally hundreds of helpful tips about one’s grip, a proper backswing, a proper stance, getting out of bunkers, and secrets of putting. From Jack Nicklaus to Arnold Palmer, all of them seemed eager to turn my sons and I into the next golfing superstar. You may be happy to know that after looking at many videos and books, I have decided not to quit my day-job. As professional golfers are away on tournaments for well over half the year, my wife would miss me too much. And then there is that little problem of getting it on the green.
One of the most fascinating golf books that I found at the library was The Way of An Eagle by Robert Darden and PJ Richardson. It features the stories of more than forty top golfers who shared the secrets of their success on and off the golf course. Common to all the golfers was a realization that golfing itself was not enough, that there was more to life, and that life could be discovered through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. All of these golfers had found a greater inner peace and serenity that carried them through the ups and downs of intense tournament life.
As a teenage golfer, no matter how well I did, it didn’t feel good enough. I struggled with perfectionism and performance-orientation. But now like the pro golfers in the Way of the Eagle book, I have found that my identity doesn’t come from how well I do. It comes from God himself who loves me no matter how well or poorly I play. God has given me an inner peace through Jesus Christ that nothing can steal away from me. As I help my sons learn how to golf, I pray that they may carry this message of inner peace with them wherever they go.