Tag Archives: Dutch immigrants

‘Catch Me When I Fall’ by Patricia Westerhof

‘Catch Me When I Fall’ is a collection of short stories, all set in  a fictitious town called Poplar Grove, Alberta. The stories are about separate families but loosely connected in the Dutch immigrant community. Westerhof includes many details which would feel familiar to anyone who grew up in that sub-culture: peppermints in church, meatball soup with Maggi, African violets watered from the bottom only! There is thriftiness, tidiness, a devotional called Today, and shepherd’s pie. Westerhof knows her characters well, in all their braveness and brokenness. Why were these immigrants so stubborn and strong willed when they were the ones with the gumption to move to a foreign land? Would they not be more flexible and tolerant of inevitable change?

The middle word in the title of her book is important. It is not a matter of “If”, but “When”. In our humanity we are broken and in need of redemption. We don’t always get it right and though the Potter has crafted us and loves us, we are broken pots. Stories don’t always end happily, cultures and generations collide. But this is where Westerhof brings God’s love and redemption in. God’s grace shines through those cracks, it’s how the light gets in. And He will catch us when we fall, hopefully and sometimes with the help of His people in community.