It is freezing today. Thick snow covers our backyard, and in the hazy darkness of the morning I can see sparrows flock to the birdfeeder. I have to get up an hour earlier because of the icy roads.
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Change rankles me. It can be the most unusual thing that sets my nights into nightmare drama.
It is that time of year when we begin to plan, personally and institutionally, for the holidays. This is the time when families gather, but also when workplaces bring their people together to thank them for all they've done. It is a time of remembrance and celebration.
Recently, I met a young man from India who has decided not to believe in any God since his country has too many gods, one they pray to for this and another one for that. He loves our country and is glad to have a job, but that's it.
The first real intimation of mortality was when my grandparents died. That was in the 1980s. In 2005, Mom died and, four years later, it was Dad. Then, a couple of months ago, quite unexpectedly, it was my younger sister.
It's hard to say something consoling in the face of death, even when the person who died lived a full life and died in the best of circumstances.
This Sunday marks the start of the new liturgical year and the season of Advent, that time of expectancy and meditation on the coming celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord – a season in which that virtue of hope receives its sublime nourishment, in that respect a season much like that of Easter. Both of them times of serenity and contemplation.
Throughout the years, numerous people tried to lure me down east from Western Canada. It stroked my inflated ego and flattered my false sense of self-importance. Perhaps the most tempting I remember was being offered a job to host a national TV series the CBC was planning in 1990 about issues surrounding disabilities that showcased the lives of Canadians with physical and mental challenges.
One of the lovelier aspects of Catholic culture is the love Catholics have for their priests. Most priests have many stories of how complete strangers have shown special warmth and affection upon seeing the Roman collar. As for one's own portion of the flock, parish priests and chaplains know how eager Catholics are to love their priests.
Two years ago we lost our baby granddaughter. She died in utero from a rare congenital disease. Although much time has passed since Ava's death, autumn remains a bittersweet time.