Sunday, January 8, 2012

And that’s all I have to say about that...

A hat-tip of gratitude to all who have visited my little corner of greater blogdom.
It’s been my privilege.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Crisis? What Crisis?

While I’ve never actually listened to Supertramp’s Crisis? What Crisis?, I do remember seeing it in record stores back in the day. (Yes, I said records; they’re big flat frisbees with a hole in the middle.)

Mainly, I thought it was an appropriate image and title when writing about my impending 50th birthday.

When you get to my age — or more precisely, the milestone I’m about to hit — you’re supposed to be in mid-life crisis mode. Traditionally, this means buying an overloaded sports car that you can’t afford and don’t need. Paging through old yearbooks and wondering where the time went. Gathering a few college friends and going on some kind of epic buddy-movie journey, searching in vain for your lost youth. Crying in your beer over all the missed woulda-coulda-shoulda moments that you can’t get back.

Seriously? That’s how I’m supposed to invest my waking hours? Is hitting the Big Five-Oh supposed to guarantee a catastrophic existential melt-down, leaving behind a drooling and glassy-eyed automaton, clad in a vintage Dark Side of the Moon t-shirt and a pair of ragged old Levi’s? Just because I recognize that, to quote Jean-Luc Picard, “there are more days behind than there are ahead”?

Certainly, many things have changed during my time here on planet Earth (car styles, for example). The Apollo 11 moon landing. Gilligan’s Island. Martial law in Canada during the October Crisis. Star Wars. The tragic cultural fiasco known as Disco. The fall of the Berlin Wall. Miami Vice. Canada surviving a separatist referendum by 50.5%. Seinfeld. The world-wide sigh of relief when Y2K turned out to be just another New Year’s Eve. The September 11 attacks. Doctor Who.

But really...Crisis? Why should this season of self-reflection, goal-setting (or tweaking), and evaluation/planning be called a crisis?
Of course, if you decided to deal with turning 50 by pursuing some of the pointlessly juvenile things I mentioned earlier, well, that could be called a crisis (of stupidity).
I’m choosing to look at it through a different paradigm:

Instead of focusing on me Me ME and my goals, my wants, and my accomplishments (or lack of), I’m looking through the lens of “how can I be a blessing to others, and what do I need to do to reach that goal?”
  • Three out of four parents are still with us, all in their mid-70’s. How can I bless them and enjoy our relationships, especially when they live anywhere from 1900-4000 kilometres east?
  • Our children are becoming young adults, all with dreams of post-secondary education, marriage, buying their first homes. What needs to be done so that I can bless them? (I guess I should also start thinking outlandishly foreign thoughts like “grandchildren”, but let’s just leave that for another day.)
  • Wendy and I are just a few short years away from becoming empty-nesters. How do I want to bless my incredible wife?
I have no idea what the future holds, of course. I am neither a prophet, nor the son of a prophet. But I want my focus to be on being a blessing. And while I don’t know what it will look like, it won’t be done in crisis mode.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Few things describe the impact of time more eloquently than the look of weathered wood. Weathering showcases a story about the passage of years, of many seasons under the sun, in ways that mere words are often incapable of capturing.

And when the original letters on this sign were removed, everyone could see just how much weathering had happened over the years. With very little difficulty, you can still read (most of) what this sign originally said.

I remember when this sign was brand new (and had letters). Heck, I remember the sod-turning ceremony before construction even started. And at 16 years of age, I worked on the roof many weekends, driving in four-inch spikes with a sledgehammer. I was there when the original cornerstone from the old church downtown was split in two and re-installed at the new location, one half reading “1928” and the other “1978”.

Fast forward to 2012:

A church merger has resulted in the congregation relocating elsewhere in the city, the building has been sold, and soon the name Brant Bible Church will only be meaningful to a certain generation.

When I look at these two pictures of the church’s interior, I am astonished by the multitude of memories and emotions that come flooding back. It feels like it was just yesterday. And it also feels like it was a million years ago.

I was baptized in this sanctuary when I was 17.

Five years later, I met George Mercado here.

The carpet-on-concrete foyer would be the site of many life-changing encounters with God through the youth ministry.

When I was 27, Wendy & I stood together on the platform with our daughter Jordan in our arms, experiencing our very first child dedication as parents.

And no matter where we lived after that (Victoria, Winnipeg, Los Angeles, Kelowna, Tijuana), whenever we came back to visit family, this was the church we’d go to.
When all is said and done, of course, it’s just a building. Seriously. The Kingdom of God goes on quite well with or without it. But looking back at these images as I write, I am amazed at the storehouse of memories that they awake.
It’s the goodness of God and the memories of many people that are the true treasure, but never underestimate the power of a weathered 34-year-old sign to remind you of it.