Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cross Canada Memories

We are currently in a motel in White River, Ontario. It is about 2/3rds the way around Lake Superior heading east. The drive though north western Ontario always reminds me of our first trip across Canada—only a part of it—from Montreal to Calgary.

We had disembarked from the old SS Ryndam the day before. We spent the night in a pension on Dorchester, the first night of our new home in Canada. That was in July 1965. The kind landlady said to leave our girls—7 and 9 if we wanted to take a stroll and buy a snack.

We wondered if we had done the right thing—we were in a new country, didn’t know a soul; would the girls be safe there? We weren’t used to the Montreal madness, tires squealing, horns blaring, and strange characters on the streets.

As it happened, we and the girls were quite safe in Montreal, perhaps not so true today—a cop may shoot you, probably accidentally, but the result is the same! The following day we boarded our train for Calgary. The car section afforded seats by day and bunks at night. We had the top bunk, and the girls were below.

Our first introduction to the size of Canada was to enter the forests of NW Ontario the first evening, to sleep all night as the train travelled, and to wake up to the same forests of NW Ontario. We have driven most of these forests again this week, as we have for several years past.

But back then the privacy of the coach section at night gave us the opportunity to make love the first time in our newly adopted country, right in Winnipeg station about 10.00 p.m. the following night. That was not the last time we wondered about our move to Canada, nor made love as our expanded family attests.

But the beauty of Canada will always be the attraction for travelling this vast country. Not sure if we’ll see it all before we go to a more glorious place—if that’s possible. Perhaps heaven will be a repeat of the most beautiful things we have known on earth. If so, it will not be a disappointment.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Living on Borrowed Time . . .

I am a cancer patient. Once a cancer patient, always a cancer patient. I had surgery to remove a cancerous prostate two and a quarter years ago, and have been cancer free since. Thanks to a great surgeon who performed a long and extensive operation. 

However, a visit to him last week for a check up revealed a slight uptick in my prostate specific antigen (PSA) to 0.2. Maybe nothing to worry about, he suggested; could be from the thyroid, but we don’t know at this stage. Next check up in four months. Even if positive and left untreated, it would take years to develop.

But he reminded me that if I had not had the operation, I would be dead by now! Add to that a heart attack nine months ago. The team placing a stent in my heart informed me that I survived with minimal heart damage thanks to the first responding medical personnel who acted swiftly and efficiently.

Both are a reminder of the fragility of life and of the dedicated health specialists who have committed themselves to alleviating suffering and death. Whether Christians or not, their calling is one that Jesus embraced, drawing people back from sickness and death.

For me, God placed them at the right time and place for my survival. I am deeply thankful to them for their skill and care, and to God for His provision. Whatever the future holds, here or for eternity, no place is safer than in His hands. And He won’t take me home until my work is done.