Prov 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Friday, October 29, 2021

A Whole New Level of "Speedy"

Two months ago, I became the delighted owner of a new-to-me car. Last weekend, I climbed into the passenger side and noticed a chip in the windshield. When did that happen? I’d been down my son’s gravel road, but I hadn’t heard anything. Hubby climbed in behind the wheel and had to lean to see what I was pointing at since the rear view mirror blocked it from his view. He’d driven the car a few times, too, but neither of us had heard anything hit the window.

Best to get it dealt with quickly. I called Speedy Glass and booked the car in for nine a.m. the next day. Walked in, did the paperwork, handed the nice man my car key, and settled into their waiting area with a book, expecting a half hour wait. Not five minutes later, the man returned.

“Is there another chip somewhere?” He asked. “Were you concerned about the one on the right?”

I didn’t understand his question. Were they already done?

“Follow me, I’ll show you what I mean,” he said.

I did. Another man was carefully cleaning my windshield and I was glad to see he’d removed a large splotch of stubborn bird poop. My stone chip, however, remained.

“See, this is an old one,” the first guy told me. “It’s already been repaired. By the lines around it, you can tell how big it was to begin with.”

Oh. How silly of me. How had we taken so long to notice?

I assured them the windshield had no other chips, and they assured me the repair was as good as it gets. I took comfort in my clean windshield and in knowing Hubby hadn’t realized the chip was repaired, either. I was home by ten after nine, feeling a bit ridiculous.

But not as ridiculous as I felt when I glanced in the mirror and saw that I was wearing two pairs of glasses—one on my eyes and one on the top of my head.

I’d worn my driving glasses to the shop and pushed them up to sign the form. When I sat down to wait, I pulled a different pair from my purse for reading.

Too many ironies to process. Like the fact that the glasses covering my eyes were bifocals, designed for reading on the bottom and driving on the top. They’d have served me just fine, all morning, all by themselves.

Or the fact that my last two eye check-ups confirmed I no longer need glasses for driving and MPI had removed that condition from my license. When I do wear glasses behind the wheel, it’s merely a security blanket for myself.

Or the fact that I wouldn’t have needed to leave my house at all that day, given the stone chip in my windshield had been repaired years ago.

No wonder those Speedy guys were so smiley. They probably found humor in the fact that I’m a tad… well … not so speedy. I cling to Proverbs 11:2. “…with humility comes wisdom.”

Naturally, I took a selfie modelling both pairs of glasses and shared it with my Facebook world who quickly responded with numerous comments and likes. We all appreciate knowing others do dumb things, right? My friend Gloria wrote, “Good on you for being able to laugh at yourself. We all do crazy things but then don’t want anyone to know! You help us to relax!”

To which I quite honestly replied, “Somehow I have the feeling I’m only getting warmed up.”


Friday, October 22, 2021

In Praise of the Sunday Afternoon Nap

As kids, my four older siblings and I could never figure out how Mom and Dad could possibly prefer a nap to the beach on a gorgeous summer Sunday afternoon. We’d beg and plead with them to take us to the lake, which, now that I think about it, was only four miles down the road. Why didn’t we walk? I suppose because we needed supervision.

On one such Sunday, we thought we could charm our parents into taking us to the beach with a clever performance. We divvied up seven words among the five of us, stood in a row at the foot of Mom and Dad’s bed in order of age, and delivered the sentence that would go down in family history: “We want. To go. To. The. Lake!”

Everybody got their part correct and on cue. I’m sure it was brilliant. Probably the best display of unity we ever exhibited. To the best of my mother’s recollection, it worked. We did get to go to the lake later that day and other days, but never soon enough to suit us.

When I reached adulthood, I understood completely. I’ve been a Sunday afternoon napper for all my adult years, except maybe that brief window when our kids were too big for naps but too young to be left to their own devices. While on staff at my church, Sunday mornings often meant putting in several hours of intense energy. During those years, I’d go home from church like a toddler: too tired to eat but to hungry to sleep.

For the last decade, I’ve been living with a chronic lung condition which has made daily naps mandatory. While this somewhat diminishes the novelty of the Sunday nap, there’s still something delicious about crawling into my bed on a Sunday afternoon, any time of year.

When God created the world in six days, he took a day to rest—not because he needed rest, but because he knew we would. He also knew we’d be bad at it. We’d fill it with work. We’d use it to catch up on undone tasks from the week. We’d spend it doing things that did not restore our physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual tanks the way they needed. He deemed sabbath important enough to make it one of his ten rules for us: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” I’m no Hebrew scholar, but the word comes from shabbath, meaning rest, and is also where our word “sabbatical” comes from. The Jews formed an entire set of extra rules (or “sabbatical laws”) around it, including giving the land a rest every seventh year. Jews and some Christians, like Seventh-Day Adventists, still observe sabbath on the seventh day, Saturday.

Sunday became “The Lord’s Day” for Christians after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

During the reign of Charles I in in the 17th century, England passed “The Lord’s Day” Act, which made it an offense to transact business on Sunday. Canada adopted its own Lord’s Day Act in 1908. In the 1980s, the Supreme Court of Canada declared the Act an infringement on the freedom of religion and conscience. For many, Sunday has become just another day of business. By contrast, I know people whose childhood Sundays were limited to church, followed by long hours of complete boredom in the name of keeping the Sabbath—resulting in abandoning their faith altogether.

I won’t pretend to understand precisely what God had in mind for us by resting one day a week or dictate what that means for you. But I believe with all my heart that He gave ALL of his commands in our best interest, because the one who created us knows what we need for optimal health. We do well to pay attention.

Time for my nap.

Photo from Canva


Friday, October 15, 2021

When Your Back Doc Retires

The first time I walked into the chiropractic office of Dr. Bruce Narvey, I was pregnant with my third baby. That “baby” is now 34 years old. Not only did Dr. Narvey keep me in the best possible shape for a healthy delivery, but he has kept Hubby and me well-adjusted through all the years since then. A glance at the diploma on his wall tells patients Dr. Narvey’s been practicing since 1981. Forty years is a long time to practice something, but now that he’s finally getting the hang of it, he’s giving it up for golf and grandchildren. The nerve!

Through the nineties, when I cleaned houses for a living and took care of a large garden, my spine occasionally became so misaligned it left me nearly immobile, and I’d go hobbling into Dr. Narvey’s office hunched over in pain. He’d give me an attitude adjustment and encourage me to proactively come in regularly instead of waiting until I was in trouble. Once I finally settled into an every-three-weeks schedule, I got along much better. I’ve benefited from his ultrasound therapy, too.

Allowing someone to manipulate your spine every three weeks involves a level of trust, but Dr. Narvey has become a friend, too. He knows, for example, that I’m going to start coughing as soon as I lie on my back. I don’t need to explain over and over that it’s a chronic lung condition and not Covid-19. I’ve listened to his jokes and his stories about the aforementioned golf and grandchildren. He’s purchased my books and read my columns. He teases. I give it right back. We occasionally talk politics, but I think that might be his way of figuring out which way I lean on any given day. I tried to convince him to rename his practice “This Joint’s Poppin’” but he refused to crack. (By the way, don’t ever let a chiropractor tell you a joke while he’s giving you an adjustment. It could really mess up your funny bone.)

When my husband underwent an amputation of his right arm, Dr. Narvey went above and beyond. He came to visit Jon at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg and gave him an adjustment right there, helping to alleviate some of the damage done elsewhere by the accident. He and his wife Cheri also blessed us with a care package at that time. Guess you could say they’ve always had our backs.

Photo by Violet Hay

Dr. Narvey deserves a long and happy retirement. Few people return to the town they grew up in and serve it and the surrounding community for 40 years. Although they’ve recently moved to Winnipeg to be closer to grandchildren, I imagine Portage will always feel like “home” to the Narveys. This is where they raised their family and where they donated untold volunteer hours with Rotary Club, Portage Golf Club, coaching, mentoring, fund-raising, and generally behaving like all-around top-notch citizens.

So, to the man who turned heads every time he went to work: I salute you, I thank you, and I wish you God’s richest blessings. Portage will miss the Narveys. You could say it’ll be an adjustment.


Friday, October 8, 2021

Strange Place for a Song of Thanks

When my father passed away in 1986, we knew it was coming. Dad had been struggling with the pain of pancreatic cancer far too long. The initial sense of relief, knowing he was finally free from his suffering and home with Jesus, was probably what enabled my sister Shanon and me to sing a duet at his funeral. He and Mom had chosen the song ahead of time, and Sis and I had begun practicing even before Dad left us. We deeply wanted to honor him in this way, and we reached the end of the hymn without tears.

Friends and relatives remarked about the strength we displayed that day. I can’t speak for my sister, but in the weeks that followed, I could not have repeated it for the world. I couldn’t even sing from the congregation on Sunday morning, too deep in grief, anger, and disappointment. I’d sit at my piano and try to sing through the song we’d shared with such confidence, only to choke before the second verse.

One line mocked me every time: “Thanks for what thou dost deny.” 

That’s old English for “thanks for nothing.” Or at least that’s how it felt in my loss. We’d prayed and begged God to heal Dad, but our pleas had been denied. How could I carry on without my daddy? I wanted our children to know him the way I had—healthy and fun. Now another little one was on the way who wouldn’t get to meet him at all.

I don’t believe time heals all wounds. If it did, we’d see a lot fewer wounded people walking around. I think God heals all wounds…over time…when we take them to him. Countless joys and sorrows have passed through my life in the 35 years my father’s been gone. And certainly, these past two years have left us all reeling, haven’t they? Another Thanksgiving season is upon us. Are you finding it hard to feel grateful?

I’ve matured enough to know it’s possible to give thanks, “even when.” Even when I don’t feel like it, even when I’m afraid or angry or disappointed, even when circumstances look grim.

The old hymn Shanon and I shared that day is called simply, Thanks to God, written by August Ludvig Storm (1862-1914) and translated from Swedish by Carl E. Backstrom. Stricken with a serious back disorder, Storm nevertheless penned these words of thanks. I’m so glad the song has been around long enough to be in public domain because that frees me to share the lyrics with you here. I hope they bless you. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks to God for my Redeemer,

Thanks for all Thou dost provide.
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall.
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny.
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply.
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair.
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!

Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain.
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain.
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for tears that bring release.

Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks for everlasting peace.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.)

Friday, October 1, 2021

Who Needs Sapphires, Anyway?

Hubby and I reach another wedding anniversary this week, number forty-four. (And could someone kindly explain to me why four has a ‘u’ in it but forty does not?)

I thought it might be fun to look at the list of anniversary gifts and symbols, something we’ve never adhered to although now I almost wish we had. Both traditional and modern lists exist, so if you’re sentimental (and rich) enough to observe both, you could be due a lot of loot.

Anniversary gifts are listed every year for years one through fifteen. After that, it jumps by five years until you reach seventy-five. That means nothing for year forty-four.

Is it just me, or does this system seem a bit backwards? I think all those presents in the first fifteen years ought to be more evenly distributed. If anything, the rewards for staying together should be heavier on the longevity side. After one year, most couples are still enjoying the warm glow of gushy romance. Some haven’t even finished writing thank you cards for their wedding gifts. They haven’t had time to break a dish or wear out a towel. Why would they need more gifts?

Studying this list, I find I’m short a lot of presents—particularly in the jewelry department. Over the last half of our marriage alone, I should have received pearls, rubies, and coral from the traditional side, diamond and jade if following the modern list. Where’s all my silver, china, crystal, bronze, ivory, and silk from previous years? And what else could “steel” imply from year eleven but a brand-new car?

At a wedding shower, I heard someone wistfully say how lovely it would be to have all new household items again. She suggested we throw showers for each other every few years, say on your fifteenth or twentieth anniversary. I nodded in agreement, then calculated how much stuff I’d be buying for others every year. If we could afford that, we could go out and buy our own new stuff.

When my mother remarried after Dad’s passing, friends threw her a “personal shower.” As we admired all the pretty and sweetly scented gifts, a friend I’ll call Lou remarked, “What do I have to do to be showered like this?”

To which someone else pointed out, “Well, first—Billy would have to die.” Billy is Lou’s husband. I’ve changed the names to protect the guilty, but I’m happy to report Lou and Billy are still alive and married. To each other.

We do love presents, don’t we? But for most of us, following the list of symbolic gifts, whether traditional or modern, would add unnecessary strain to the marriage in the form of financial debt. Some of the best marriages in history thrived without the benefits of fine jewelry, while many an overflowing jewelry box has given silent witness to the heartbreaking trauma of a marriage’s demise.

If gifts aren’t the answer to a successful marriage, what is?

I stumbled upon a thought recently that might be worth consideration. You’ve heard the old saying, “Live every day as though it were your last.” What do you suppose your marriage might look like if you lived every day as though it were your spouse’s last?

Something to ponder as we move into year forty-five. (That’s sapphire, by the way.)

Photo from Canva