after church

I really liked the sermon today. I felt as if I were a wounded animal who had been found by a Saint, and to whom the Saint had said “You’re OK.” And when that happened, lo, I was OK, and then I could fly, like a bird.  The bird I suddenly realized I had always been. A big, strong bird. An eagle. Look at my wings–big, strong wings! Jump! And push, and up I go–push, push, push, higher and higher!

Later in the service–during that part where we each share the peace with each other, the pastor stopped and asked Charlotte and I if we might help people make a decision to subscribe to the Canada Lutheran magazine.

It is true that we receive the Canada Lutheran magazine each month. And in that respect either of us could offer a testimonial in its favor. But how to raise the subject with the other members of our congregation, without seeming unseemly? As if we were advancing some hidden agenda? I enjoy reading it, but Charlotte rarely looks at it, so perhaps a testimonial from me would have a more authentic feel to it.

A few years ago, we were both a little mystified as to why we continued to receive it, because neither of was aware of –at that time– sending them a check to continue our subscription. After talking about it for a few minutes, we supposed that the $20 or so per year subscription cost was simply taken from our monthly contribution to the church. We both had vague recollections of the church treasurer asking us, years ago, if this would be OK with us. Talking it over today, we agreed that, if that memory ever really happened, would would likely have been OK with it, and if it were to happen today, we’d give the same affirmative answer.

During the sharing of the peace time, neither Charlotte nor myself were sure exactly how we might accomplish the Pastor’s request. But later in the day I wondered if perhaps I could use my new Nikon camera to help.

Once Upon a time I was a photojournalist. I have also been employed as a reporter. And I’ve enjoyed those occupations. In my retirement years, perhaps I could once again enjoy pursuing those occupations, but this time on a volunteer basis.

If I were to tell people in our church that I had, for example, taken a photograph that was in an upcoming issue of the Canada Lutheran, then perhaps they might be interested in subscribing, simply to see my photograph. Or perhaps I could write an article and include a photograph with the article. Even more compelling.

Charlotte bought me the camera to which I refer, for a present — for a Christmas present. Several weeks ago she asked me which camera I would own if I could own any camera. What was my “ideal” camera? I took a long time to think about this question and in the end decided that, of all the cameras out there, the camera that I would most like to own would be the Nikon D850 — a professional digital SLR.

These cameras are not cheap. I bought a lens for this camera (a nikkor 24MM 1.4 lens). Also not cheap.  Over the next two or three years I’ll probably purchase two or three more professional lenses.

I now own the Nikon camera–it sits beside me at this moment, on a stereo speaker, and I’ve had it for two days, without the lens. The lens was a “special order,” and I expect it to arrive from Japan in a few weeks.

How to justify owning such an expensive piece of kit? Maybe ‘justify’ is the wrong word. ‘Use’ might be better. Taking photographs for a magazine is one way. So it’s a nice coincidence that the pastor, in church today, raised an idea that might lead to this opportunity.

Perhaps this will become a new hobby, to replace my old hobby of playing the trumpet!


Never give up hope

Lights remind us that the future holds moments of kindness and beauty.

…success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run–in the long run, I say!–success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.

–Viktor E. Frankl, in the introduction to his book Man’s Search for Meaning.

Possible set list for Pop-up Flash Jazz Jam

Some time in the summer I and a friend will play some jazz standards at one of those pianos placed throughout the city. And this is the list of standards from which we will select our set:

  • A Man And A Woman
  • Black Coffee
  • Blue Bossa
  • Boplicity
  • But Beautiful
  • Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White
  • Four
  • The Girl From Ipanema
  • Groovin’ High
  • I Could Write A Book
  • In A Mellow Tone
  • It Don’t Mean A Thing
  • Lullaby Of Birdland
  • Mr. PC
  • My One And Only Love
  • Satin Doll
  • So Nice
  • Song For My Father
  • Take Five

If you’re a musical friend, email or call me for the time and place, and join us!

Four good articles on relationships and community

Occasionally the Globe and Mail newspaper (or another newspaper) will publish an article worth sharing. I sometimes make PDF copies of those articles, and here are four of them.

When Harry and Sally Met Dick and Jane – Creating Closeness Between Couples

I’ll be your best friend if you’ll be mine — alliance hypothesis for human friendship – Science Daily

Globe and Mail If your heart is broken

Globe and Mail_ Happiness and the God spot