Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Monday, April 20, 2015


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©

This last week I have gotten out of bed without the usual fear of my toes getting frostbite before I can reach the bathroom. It’s spring in Iron Mountain! It’s only a little below freezing in the morning!

I grew up about 700 miles south of where I have lived the past 8 years and where I will live another month. Even there, though, there were cold mornings, even though we had a Warm Morning stove.

My little brother and I slept on a pull-out sofa in the living room. We were awakened by the sound of our father shaking down the ashes and stoking up the stove. We had no choice about getting awake and getting up. A southern Indiana farm floor is colder in the morning than an Upper Peninsula floor in a house with a gas furnace and a thermostat. I wondered how the pioneers managed. They didn’t even have a stove.

I am told that soldiers in training for Arctic duty are dropped into the wilderness with a winter survival pack, but they are not wearing it. To survive they have to strip naked in order to get into their packs. If they are not willing to strip naked in the miserable cold, they will not survive.

It’s a bit like being old. Old people have to strip down to the basics, get out of all the stuff that has kept us warm thru the years, to put on the survival pack of resurrection trust. Otherwise we live out our last days in despair.

So as we pack, getting ready to fit into a condo, I think of that. Yes, we are getting rid of lots of stuff that used to be useful and have meaning to us. Yes, there is a feeling of loss. But there is also a feeling of anticipation, of hope, of getting stripped down to fit.

John Robert McFarland

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.

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