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Transformations

We stopped for lunch at the Athabasca Glacier, our food spread out on the tailgate of a pickup alongside Highway 93, right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. On the crest of the range, the imposing and yet rapidly disappearing remnant of a previous ice age spreads out across the sky, a stark reminder of how small and finite we humans really are, but also of how even these comparatively frail frames of ours can have a disproportionate effect on the environment in which we live and move and have our being. When we pulled into the parking lot, we were greeted by zero degree temperatures and six-foot high snowbanks, both of which seemed strangely out of place given the mild weather and complete lack of snow in Calgary, where this road trip of ours began. In fact, though, it would be more accurate to say that this road trip began several years ago, when my longtime friend and mentor, Tom, first encouraged me to come and see what he was up to. There was a stretch of more than a decade whe
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Wherever I Go, I Bring Myself

Everything around me is different. The tall, coniferous trees at the edge of the conservation area marking the western boundary of our rental property belie the truth that I am nowhere near home. At a glance, they could pass for a species native to Ontario, which is the first thing my son pointed out when he saw them towering over the yard. Their slender, skyward-stretching trunks mimic the palm trees that thrive here in Central Florida, but instead of the iconic spreading leaves that show up on most every postcard sent from this sunkissed state, the branches on these trees are covered in unusually long needles with small pockets of seed cones mostly hidden from sight. There’s a small lawn sprawled out between the house and the trees, but again, it only looks like the kind of lawns that I’ve walked barefoot across since I took my first steps. In truth, the turf here is thick and coarse and crunches underfoot, more straw than grass. In a cardboard box in my parents’ home, there’s a ph

Thirty Years Ago

He had tried this move once before. It worked out well enough then, but he wasn’t sure he’d get the same result the second time around, and that made him nervous.  He stood there motionless while the floodlight in her parents’ carport cast dark shadows over her shoulders and down the length of the snow-covered driveway. It must have been those same shadows that made him question the look on her face, that made him doubt what he was feeling, that caused him to second guess the subtle hints he sensed that she was trying to send his way. He stood there awkwardly, as only a 15-year-old boy in love can stand, wondering if it would be better if he just took a small step backward and brought the whole uncertain moment to an end. That first step could be followed by another while he glanced at her ever-so-briefly to say goodnight— yes, this was definitely a better idea —at which point he would then turn and casually make his way down the street, playing it cool around the corner until he was o

A Brush With Death

“I nearly killed a man tonight.” And just like that, the slightest of lulls in our dinner table conversation was shattered like a paper-thin sheet of ice flying off the roof of a car and colliding with a cold burst of wind. I was probably being more dramatic than I needed to be about what had happened, but it was also the truth.  Half an hour earlier, for what felt like the hundredth time, I set out to drive the well-worn route between our home and the restaurant where my sixteen year old son has been working for the past few months. Last week, I reminded him that if he would finish his driver’s training course, he could do this drive and the drive home four hours later all on his own. Imagine the freedom! (And I wasn’t even talking about him!) We’re heading into the darkest depths of winter in Southwestern Ontario, so even though it was only five o’clock, it might as well have been midnight. The street lights were on, creating a glow on the roads in the half-melted snow, and even thou

Even When You Don't Feel Like It

I was wrong; this is my final entry. It’s December 17, 2018, and while I suppose this could go on indefinitely as our story continues to unfold, yesterday was a significant day in the life of our church and it feels like sharing some reflections would be a more fitting way to wrap things up.  It was the next to last Sunday before Christmas, so the morning’s service was anything but typical. It’s the third week of Advent, so for starters, there was the weekly lighting of a candle to mark our ongoing journey toward the celebration of Christ’s birth. Then, as you might have guessed if you’ve ever stepped foot in a church around this time of year, a gaggle of twenty-some children took their places on a small riser at the front of the sanctuary waiting to perform a seasonal song, replete with adorable actions and wide, stretching smiles. And because you can never have too much Christmas—a sentiment shared by just about every church in town during these high holiday seasons—once the younger

Four Days Late

This is it—my final entry. One day last week, I took a look at the calendar and had a thought that it was probably around this same time last year when I gave up trying to sleep, stumbled down the stairs to the dining room table, and typed the first words into this Google Doc. As it turns out, my first entry was on December 8, which is only a few days from now, so I hatched a plan to set aside some time on that same date to write one final chapter on the precise anniversary of when I began. It was a Saturday, so I figured I would have time, and truthfully I did have time—but as it turns out, I didn’t write anything that day, and then I didn’t write anything for the next couple of days either, so here I am on December 12, four days late. (Note: This post is part of an ongoing series called  The View From Here . Please follow  this link  and start reading at the oldest post,  Fear and Trembling .) The fact that I’m late speaks volumes to where I’ve come over the course of the past year.

What Voice Will I Have?

 It’s November 29, which means it has now been more than a month since I last sat down to write. The length of time that is passing between these entries is growing, and in truth, I think I’m getting close to putting down the proverbial pen for good on this project. While my inability to sleep tonight is resulting in another middle-of-the-night entry, I have a growing sense that I’m almost ready to bring this chapter of my life’s story to a close.  (Note: This post is part of an ongoing series called  The View From Here . Please follow  this link  and start reading at the oldest post,  Fear and Trembling .) I just spent a few minutes looking back at some of my early entries and realized that it has been a little over a year since Eric first sat down in my office and told me that he was gay and that he was ready to ‘come out’—a year and six days to be exact. It’s funny how some years pass by and I honestly think I’d be hard pressed to fill more than a page or two with meaningful reflect