Was It A Waking Dream?

I wasn’t quite asleep but I also wasn’t quite awake. It wasn’t quite real, but it also doesn’t seem right to call it fake. Like a story that had already been written or like a tale that had already been told, it flashed into my mind in the briefest of moments. In what must have been some kind of a waking dream, I saw myself lying in bed when an angelic envoy roused me with a message. And as surely …

The Music of Heaven

One quiet evening many years ago, I was sitting on the screened-in porch of our old family cottage when I heard the music of bagpipes. Curious, I followed the sound, which me led as far as I could go, down to the shore of the lake.  Somewhere across the water, I could hear the piper playing. The evening was quiet and the lake was still, and the sound carried so well that I could hear every haunting note with perfect …

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A Year of Sorrow, a Year of Gratitude, a Year of Grace

The grass at Glen Oaks Cemetery had already begun to fade from its bright summer green to its drab winter brown on the day we first visited. The November breeze blew cold upon us as we walked the rows of graves to choose the spot where we would bury our son. We eventually chose a plot near the end of a long row, beneath the shade of a young tree. A few days later we watched his coffin be lowered …

Family Update: An Engagement, a Scholarship, and a Beautiful Bench

Canada’s Thanksgiving weekend has just come and gone and we ourselves have just come and gone—we are on our way home from a brief trip to Louisville, Kentucky, where we spent some time as a family. We very much enjoyed our few days with Abby, with Ryn (Nick’s fiancée), and with Nate, (Abby’s fiancé). Yes, my Abby is engaged! Nate asked her to marry him at just about the time they reached their one-year dating anniversary. He had spent some …

The Song I Sing in the Darkness

No work of art is more beautiful, more valuable, more irreplaceable, than the twenty-third psalm. It has stood through the ages as a work of art more exquisite than The Night Watch, more faultless than Mona Lisa, more thought-provoking than Starry Night. The lines of the greatest poets cannot match its imagery, the words of the greatest theologians its profundity. Credentialed academics may wrestle with it, yet young children can understand it. It is read over cradles and cribs, over …

Moments With My Father (and My Son)

I have many fond memories of my father—memories accumulated over the 43 years we shared this earth. I have fond memories based on my first twenty-one years when I lived in his home and saw him nearly every day. I remember him taking me to old Exhibition Stadium to watch the Blue Jays play. I remember going on a road trip together—just the two of us traveling across Georgian Bay and onto Manitoulin Island. I remember getting up early in …

I Miss My Son Today

I miss my son today. That goes without saying, I suppose, since I miss him every day. But on this day the pain is particularly sharp, the ache especially deep. I miss my friend, I miss my brother, I miss my protégé. I miss the son of my youth, the delight of my heart. I miss seeing him and hugging him, I miss teaching him and learning from him, I miss the sound of his voice and the cackle of …

My Anchor Holds

At one of the many shipyards dotting Canada’s East Coast, another great oceangoing vessel is very nearly complete, and in just a few weeks it will begin to transport containers across the Atlantic. But before it can embark on its maiden voyage, it must endure a strict regimen of tests. Waters flood the dry dock and, for the first time, the great ship floats. Its propellors rumble to life and it slowly steers into deep waters where it can test …

A Family Update and a Cause of Death

It took nearly six months, but the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office finally determined the cause of Nick’s death and sent us an autopsy report. It was a very long wait for a crucial piece of information. And while it was very difficult to receive the report, we were glad to finally know. We couldn’t bring ourselves to read it, so took a quick photo of each page and sent it to a doctor friend. He read the report thoroughly and …

A Family Update, Six Months Later

It’s hard for me to believe it, but today is exactly six months since Nick went to heaven. In some ways it feels like more than that, but in so many more it feels like less. Six months ago we were a family of five and looking forward to soon being a family of six through a fast-approaching wedding. Today we are a family of four, though with an unofficial “extra” we love very much and gladly consider a daughter, …