of shrinking tents

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide,

do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.

Isaiah 54:2

Around the world, tents are shrinking.

Brexit actually happened. The voices of isolationism and nationalism won out over open borders and a spirit of union with other countries.

In America, the rallying cry of “Make America Great Again” has morphed into an all out assault on democracy and the rule of law. Corruption, lies and disregard for basic tenets of justice have been trampled underground in the defence of an increasingly unstable, narcissistic and dangerous president and his minions.

The tent shrinking is happening among liberals too, where moderate voices are excluded within an increasingly narrow agenda, with no room for debate. The most glaring example of this is the abortion issue. Is there room for pro-life Democrats in America? Or, pro-life Liberals in Canada? Where are moderates, those who see the greyness of the in-between on many moral issues, to go?

Within the church, extreme factions attack each other as the real enemies of the church. For some, a “smaller, purer” church is preferable to one that includes those who think, believe or worship differently from them. A universal, catholic church, united in diversity and open to all? No thank you, they say.

Shrinking tents reflect shrinking hearts. Barricading ourselves in fortresses of sameness is like living in a room full of mirrors instead of windows. A room surrounded by walls without a door in sight.

A home without a threshold beckoning us to go out into the world, or to welcome others in.

in praise of holely families

I meant to write and publish this post on The Feast of the Holy Family. But, I was too busy on that day, and in the weeks that followed. Too busy. With family.

Old school images of the Holy Family make me think of today’s photoshopped, artistically staged Instagram pictures. Flowers and misty lighting might capture a split second of perfection in a family photo. It doesn’t reflect the messiness of daily life. And, life can be messy.

As a new decade begins, it’s a chance to reflect on more than the past year. On New Year’s Eve, we began chatting about all that our family went through in the last ten years. As we began listing our well worn litany of woes, our daughter stopped us all. Yes, shit happened, she said. But, so did a lot of good. And we need to embrace it.


There are holes in the fabric of every family. Some are caused by simple wear and tear. Others are ripped and torn apart by unexpected crises and losses. Sadly, we live in a throw away culture. When newness fades it is thrown away. Imperfection is rejected and discarded. We have forgotten the art of mending and darning, picking up each dropped thread one by one. It’s a patient art. Re-weaving the new into the old, making it whole again.

My phone is filled with photos from the holidays. Children are caught in mid flight during group poses. Tears, giggles and snotty noses are captured together. No one has their hands prayerfully folded, they’re too busy scrambling to corral the littles. There are no lilies or roses. There isn’t a halo in sight. But, laughter abounds. As does love. Much love.

Yes, there is holiness in the holely.

and now for something completely different…

This morning’s headlines were more depressing than usual. To the south of us it appears inevitable that evil, lies and corruption will trounce truth and justice in what is swiftly becoming a farce of a senate impeachment trial. Climate crises abound. Terrifying viruses threaten to spread across the miles.

And Terry Jones, one of the founding members of Monty Python, died.

Being a life-long fan (obsessively so), my heart sank at the news of Jones’ death. But, the mourning was brief. Sadness was quickly washed aside with memories of unforgettable scenes and one-liners from the Python treasure trove.

  • The Spanish Inquisition? No one expected it.
  • Philosophers? All drunkards according to the Bruce’s Club.
  • Canadian Lumberjacks? They’re OK.
  • Dead parrot? It is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s pushing up daisies.
  • Feeling like all is lost? Look on the brighter side of life!

Some comedy, like the Pythons, begs to be watched over and over. With each viewing a new gem is discovered. It is tucked away into the brain for a rainy day. It morphs into a secret language between fans “in the know”.

Laughter is energizing. Watching a good comedy isn’t merely an escape from daily stresses and worries. It’s good medicine. A much needed cleanse of mind and soul. A reprieve from all the darkness that lurks in our world. The sound of laughter, itself, can bring a smile. Our youngest is known for laughing out loud while watching her favourite movies and TV shows. The sound would echo throughout the house, making us all giggle.

Recently, hubby and I bought a copy of the Little Rascals for our grand-sons; the 1990’s version watched endlessly by our kiddies. The lads chortled and cackled at the slap-stick silliness. The humour had stood the test of time.

So many streaming options today offer a treasure trove of comedy both new and old. We’ve spent many an hour going down the YouTube rabbit hole re-watching favourite stand-up routines and sketches and discovering new (to us) comics. Two of our faves at the moment are Michael McIntyre and Sarah Millican. Both British. Both hilariously talented at observational comedy.

We watch Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Seth Meyers and others for a daily dose of satire in the midst of the insane American political landscape. Their intelligent, well researched takes on the news remind us that what is happening is not normal. And, sometimes the best weapon against a delusional narcissist is to mock them and deflate their fragile ego.

Rest In Peace, Terry Jones. You will be missed, but thoughts of you bring smiles and warm memories. I hope there’s a special place in heaven for you and all who gift the world with joy and laughter.