Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mount Joy College, Hope Alive

Dr. Phillip Ney and Marie invited me to a dinner at Mount Joy College near Victoria.  Members and associates of the Hope Alive Counsellors would be present. I looked forward to an evening with Phillip. He’s so inspiring:  a brilliant academic, researcher, gifted psychiatrist, author of many books and countless articles, a world class sailor, world traveller, theologian and deep thinking Christian, father, husband and mentor. He founded the international scientifically based Hope Alive Counselling service to help women and families come to terms with the grief that followed abortion for so many.  He has devoted so much of his life to Pro Life, stopping the wanton killing of a whole generation.
Tonight he shared the Israeli doctors’ remark, “We are doing to our own people what Hitler wanted us to do. How can this be good."
I have long been appalled at all the Canadians who have died thanks to the madness of Morgentaller’s rage.
I had taken the ferry across driving my Mazda Miata M5 sportscar not anticipating the heavy snowfall that had me parking my Miata sport car half way of the mountain where Mount Joy College is.  I had to walk the rest of the way arriving just in time for dinner.  Gilbert, my cockapoo, was thoroughly delighted to meet Dr. Ney’s dogs, a shepherd and lab, Bosun and Star.  Together they ran circles around the place inside and out. Marie, Phillips wife and fellow physician, a genetics researcher  who left Paris for the west coast of Canada, is also a fabulous cook.  What a feast. Salmon and ham and salads and those scrumptious little potatoes I love so much, and more and more, with ice cream and apple something to top it off.
I’ve known Mel on line for years and we’ve communicated and shared patients but this was our first face to face. He’s as warm and knowledgeable in person.  I met Nikky, an electronics engineer and liked him right off.  Al, a construction contractor,  turned out to be the one who with Mel and Phillip had done so much of the work on the building we were in.  He, admitted he loved to work with his hands whether the tool was guitar or hammer,  and loved showing us the special features of this rustic complex with great hall, fabulous views and lots of furnished rooms for students and guests.
There was a  beautiful pianist from Toronto whose music was such a joy.  She and Al and Mel and Phillip so entertained us after the meal playing the songs that Phillip has composed for Hope Alive.  I love his simple messages and diverse uplifting music.  Together they played a blues pieces I especially loved.  Alex, a Catholic pro life advocate shared his love of his children and grand children. I enjoyed the men talking of the love of their children. Phillip and Maries, son now at university, was with us.  Another woman, the administrator, her name slips me, but her laughter I’ll never forget.  A couple shared the stories of their marriage and love and the love of their children.  We sat in comfortable couches about the wood burning stove or at the table where we had eaten and later shared tea.
We talked of the Bible, teachings. Phillip talked of the Hope Alive trainings in all the countries around the world where  counsellors, so many knew and loved,  were helping women and men deal with the devastations abortions had caused in their lives. So many post abortion had depressions which didn’t resolved till they came to terms with their terrible grief.   Phillip led us in prayer.  Eventually people had to leave.  The music concluded and the men stayed about talking before sleep called.  Then we went off to various rooms. Gilbert was disappointed his new friends Star and Bosun went off with Phillip to the family home.
I slept so well in the quiet of the country, awaking refreshed and content. I’d decided to stay on the West Coast a while longer despite my love hate with my boat and the increasing vulnerability in my work where the years of lacking resources and devolution of the health care system was increasingly telling on me.  Together we’d talked late into the night as each caring person expressed the same frustration with the feeling they are increasingly penalized and threatened  for being human. Legalism and militarization, perfectionism, and all the unrealistic demands. Drugs of stupidity,  abortion and now euthanasia were the ’new world order’.  It’s okay to be concerned.  Anyone awake would be.
I felt so much that I was not alone and wondered how I’d come to feel that the problem was mine and I alone had to solve it for myself.  That’s the beauty of Hope Alive.  Gathered together the most difficult decisions become simple in the presence of Phillip and other Christians.
It was a rushed morning gathering for church.  The trouble was the road down had filled with snow.  Alex’s truck got stuck up high while I got my Miata sportscar stuck half way down. My poor little miata like the city and highway royalty she is was very disturbed that I’d brought her to this wilderness with all this awful snow. We gave up trying to free it.  Together in one vehicles we headed out to church.  Marie had walked in the morning to her nearby mass.  We four men arrived late to the Bible Based Baptish church where the preacher was talking synchronistically about legalism and non conformity and the god of this world as compared to the need of a Christian  living up to the inner and outer ideals of Jesus.
I felt a bit like I was back in the church of my childhood, Trinity Baptist.  The curtains behind the minister concealed the full immersion pool.   I enjoyed standing and singing the closing hymn remembering singing like this with my mother, aunt, father and brother.  After we joined for fellowship over coffee and cookies.  I liked this part, meeting a biologist and talking more with Mel and Nikki.
Phillip drove us then then to Sooke to see the  great sailing ship, Horizon Unbound.  He takes families and youth out for trips around Vancouver Island. It sleeps 22.  I ‘d seen it once before when the mast wasn’t up and the insides weren’t finished. Then it was a real question mark to me if it really could become the sailing ship, Phillip envisioned. Well, here it was and good ship it is.  What a remarkable transformation.  it’s a veritable ocean going craft of skookum construction and design with back ups and safety features the very same as I made in my boat for my solo off shore sailing the Pacific.  Dr. Ney is an old Navy man and it sure tells in this durable ship.
Gilbert loved it too but he most loved a seal he met. He was startled and barked alarm but then got up the nerve to come closer. A fisherman had caught quite a few salmon and was throwing heads to the seal.
Back at Mount Joy College we began the feat of freeing all the vehicles.   First it we shovelled out Alex’s Ranger, then with Phillip in his jeep and a long rope pulling up hill, Phillips son on a come along to a tree keeping the truck from sliding sideways into the rock.  Amazingly we got it free. Marie had shovelling as well before deciding we all needed crackers and cheese for a snack.   Meanwhile Philip was under the vehicles tying ropes with bow hitches.
I provided weight in the back of the truck which I certainly had to contribute.  Then we  more easily cleared Phillips 4 by 4 which had become stuck trying to go around the Ranger.  After that it was my little Miata.  With a rope on the undercarriage I was able to drive the car backward while Phillip pulled downhill on a rope with his jeep. I turned the car around in a bare patch of road beneath a tree then drove the rest of the way down with Alex and Gilbert beside me.
At the bottom I did a happy dance.  Phillip had always had faith while I confess I was a doubting Thomas and amazed at the miracle of getting all the vehicles unstuck without any damage to undercarriage, paint jobs or bodies.
I thanked the Neys for their hospitality.   I really should have come in my truck but who would have guessed such an incredible snowfall.
It was a great weekend. We even celebrated Canada’s men’s hockey team winning the Winter Olympics against Sweeden. What an incredible time of good Christian fellowship, fine music, fine food, church, and ship and snow bound vehicle adventures.  It is never a dull moment around Mount Joy College and the Neys.
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