CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©
Pastors don’t have “favorite” church members. That wouldn’t be right. However, we do have members, if we are blessed, who serve as models and mentors and pastors to us. One such of mine was Jane Jenkins.
In response to one of my recent columns, , in which I told a story from my childhood, Jane said, “Your past is your present.”
What a neat double-meaning. My past is a gift to others as I tell the stories from that past. But my past is still here, still active, still present.
My past is a gift to me, too. Is that three meanings?
Past is past. But it is also present, in “the eternal now.”  Everything that has happened to me in what we call the past is still a part of my life now, my present.
It’s hard to be afraid while you sing. I sing a lot. Not just in the shower, but there, too. One song I sing as I drip off after showering is “Michael row the boat.”
For each “Michael” I insert the name of one of my friends who is now across the river, and for “Milk and honey on the other side,” I sing “Friends are waiting on the other side.”
For example, on days when my high school friends are especially present, I implore Darrel Guimond and Phyllis Graham and Mina Ann Jones and Don Survant and Bob Robling and Donald Gene Taylor to row the boat ashore.
Phyllis, row the boat ashore, alleluia. Darrel, row the boat ashore, alleluia. Jordan River is chilly and wide, alleluia. Friends are waiting on the other side, alleluia. Don Survant, row the boat ashore, alleluia. Donald Gene, row the boat ashore, alleluia. Bob Robling, row the boat ashore, Alleluia!
I shall have no new conversations or adventures with them on this side of the river, and that is sad, but it is a gift from my past to my present to be with them again.
John Robert McFarland
1] I always wanted to be a human-interest, anecdotal, little-story-telling newspaper columnist. In the e-world, a columnist is a blogger.
2] Maybe that is why no one uses past tense anymore to tell a story but tells everything in the present tense. Probably not; it’s more a style thing. It’s also often confusing.
The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP], where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.]
I used to keep a careful index of all the things I told in this blog so that I would not repeat. That has become unwieldy. Now I just trust to… what’s it called… oh, yes, memory. Sorry about repeats.
I have also started an author blog, about writing and reading, in preparation for the publication, by Black Opal Books, of my novel, VETS, about four handicapped and homeless Iraqistan veterans who are accused of murdering a VA doctor, in 2015. http://johnrobertmcfarland-author.blogspot.com/
I tweet as yooper1721.