CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©
Even with careful planning, and giving over two tons of stuff to the St. Anthony DePaul store and the Habitat for Humanity Restore, after a 600 mile move, we are struggling to fit into a condo that lacks the large two-car garage and the full walk-out basement. We have a garage, but it is a very narrow, one-car affair, and there is no other storage. We had the movers unload almost everything into that garage so that we could unpack one box at a time without gridlock in the house itself. But, of course, that gridlocks the garage. The boxes are three deep and stacked over head-high, and every one that looks like it has something we need is behind others that just glare at us and dare us to move them and find some other spot to set them in the gridlock of the garage.
It is difficult to get my mind onto writing or anything that is not an effort to unpack boxes and repack cardboard and paper in the bundles required for recycling here. I did manage to find some of my favorite books, including Wm. Stafford’s The Darkness Around Us Is Deep. In it he has two poems about moving, from two different moves of his own, entitled “From the Move to California” and “An Oregon Message.” They inspired me to write a moving poem of my own. It is not like Stafford’s, of course, since he was one of the truly great American poets, but I thank him for the impetus.
It is true that breathing is much harder
when buried beneath a pile of boxes,
cardboard resting soft but hard upon the soul.
But the rumors of our demise by moving
are not true, at least not yet.
We feel our way between the piles of stuff
and wonder why it was not left behind.
Long and narrow pathways in rooms
that do not gladly welcome strangers.
Boxes that will not surrender
until the last flap dies.
Chairs and lamps and tables
we have lived with for sometimes
almost fifty years surround us.
but we do not know them, nor
do they know us. Where they belong
in this new plan we cannot say.
It makes them uneasy.
They depend upon us
to help them find their place.
I wonder about the place
if it is filled with boxes crammed
with stuff that would not fit
our bigger barns on earth.
This place is new, and filled with fright
and full of hope…
John Robert McFarland
I started this blog several years ago, when we followed the grandchildren to the “place of winter,” Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP]. I put that in the sub-title, Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter, where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.] The grandchildren, though, are grown up, so in May, 2015 we moved “home,” to Bloomington, IN, where we met and married. It’s not a “place of winter,” but we are still in winter years of the life cycle, so I am still trying to understand and follow Christ in winter.
I tweet as yooper1721.