CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©
“My father and Dan had always been close, the whole 25 years of our marriage. One of the last things Dan did before the divorce was go to see Dad on his death bed. And what did Dad do? He asked Dan about some point of biblical interpretation. He always taught Sunday School, but he wasn’t going to anymore. And he and Dan never talked about that sort of thing before. Why in the world… when Dad was dying… and his only daughter was getting divorced from the scum bag…”
As you can tell, it was not exactly an amicable divorce, not on Sue’s part. Dan had had an affair. He had married the other woman. Sue had been blind-sided. So had all their friend, including us. Dan was a minister, one of the best. A year later, when I was back in town for a conference, Sue had asked me to meet her for supper. She wanted to talk about the whole thing, see if I had any insights from the days when we had been couple friends.
“I understand about the slut. She’s sexy, sure, and seductive, and vulnerable, and Dan is just a man. You all fall for that type. But why would my father, on his death bed, ask Dan a Bible question? It didn’t have anything to do with death or heaven or that sort of thing. It’s like my father gave up on me, too, like the divorce didn’t matter.”
“No,” I said, “it mattered a great deal to him. The best thing he could do was to remind Dan of who he was, the guy who provides the answers to the questions about important stuff, not the guy who falls for the same kind of woman every other guy does.”
It’s good, in old age when we can no longer do all the things that defined us when we were younger, to be reminded of who we are.
That’s why I love playing pickle ball. I have always been an athlete. But my shoulders don’t allow me to play baseball or basketball anymore. My lungs don’t allow me to race long distances. But pickle ball reminds me that I am an athlete.
That’s why I still read the Gospel portion for each Sunday in Greek during the week leading up to hearing it in worship. It reminds me that I am a follower of the Jesus who said to love God with our minds as well as heart and soul and strength. [Luke 10:27]
That’s why I read brain research and quantum physics. They remind me that I am a scholar who learns new things.
That’s why I’m going to wring the neck of that woodpecker that keeps making holes in our house. It reminds me that… Oh, wait, Jim Bortell says the woodpecker is my Moby Dick, and I’m not Captain Ahab.
It’s good to have folks who, when we go astray, will remind us of who we really are.
John Robert McFarland
Dan and Sue were not their real names, of course.
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 tweet as yooper1721.