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Another Chapter, Another Book

March 26, 2012

Through a series of sudden and totally unexpected events I have left my beachfront house and find myself snugly ensconced in the home of a Haitian family whose unflinching generosity has been overwhelming.   Most of my “conveniences” have been exchanged for the warmth and bustle of living as part of a family, not a bad trade in my opinion.  Most of those conveniences have been replaced by alternatives that are not much less convenient, far less costly, and a whole lot easier to maintain.  My accommodation is a bit cramped, but much of that is due to my having too much “stuff.”  It has been made clear that my welcome is without time limits, and an alternative has been selflessly offered should I prefer to have my own home.  I never cease to be amazed by the people God brings into my life.


Sitting in the shade writing this, I occasionally pause to take in some of the activity around me.  I smile at the antics of the flamboyantly feathered rooster, quite clearly “the cock of the walk,” standing guard over his little harem as they earnestly scratch among the leaves, keeping his many upstart challengers at bay with frequent flights of fury.  I marvel at the obviously well-fed goats on the embankment that skirts the yard sure-footedly finding ample sustenance where little else could.   From time to time the frenetic movements of the lizards that skitter and probe for insects among the litter catch my attention.  I shut out the noise of the traffic, but remain attuned to the greetings of those who pass by.


I wonder what my friends and family in Canada would think of my new home.  I wonder what I would have thought of it a bit more than a year ago.  Poverty has lost its power to repulse or frighten me.  I barely notice it anymore.  I see only remarkable people doing amazing things with very little, and in the process having so much.


As I contemplate my present situation, the words of Galatians 2:20 take on a subtle secondary meaning for me.  There is not a shadow of a doubt that I could live this life without unshakable faith in God and awareness that He is with me always.






I have taken to reading some novels written a century or more ago, and was heartened to find themes of faith as an important element in every one I selected.  It was once nearly universally recognized that God played a preeminent role in the lives of all, even those who did not follow Him.  Even those who chose not to believe Him believed in Him.  How this awareness of our Lord has waned.


My latest venture into this genre is Nelly McClung’s Sowing Seeds in Danny, penned in 1908.  Both the author and her book are a notable part of Manitoba’s history.  McClung sets her story in Millford, a prairie town that died the death of so many like towns, and is now just a memory marked by a cairn a few miles north of Wawanesa. At seven years of age, McClung herself came from Ontario in 1880 with her family to homestead near the town, and lived there until she began teaching school in Manitou at age 16.  When the book was published it sold 100,000 copies, remarkable at the time, and made McClung a small fortune.  It is easy to see why this work has withstood the test of time.  Her character development is outstanding, and her descriptions of rural Manitoba life of the time, with its pleasures and travails, have the unmistakable ring of verity.  And well they should for the author followed the age-old advice to writers:  write about what you know.



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