Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Saturday, June 20, 2015


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

Yesterday we went to a family mini-reunion. Lots of good conversations with 2 aunts and 15 cousins. We shared lots of memories. It reminded me of this post from 2010…

When we are old, we have a great deal more past to remember than we have future to anticipate. [There is a future beyond death to anticipate, but no way to imagine it.]

I like remembering. Some days I just run through the list of all my good friends and relatives, many of whom are no longer in this world, just enjoying the memories of them.

Memory is a great gift of God.

So why, when we have so much to remember, does God also arrange to have our brains go numb in the winter of our years, just as they get numb with cold in the winter of the year? Just when there is the most to remember, our rememberers begin to stutter and backfire like old cars.

Jo Hershberger has written a lovely story of four young girls who become friends in junior high and continue to support one another in old age. [Jo’s mother was one of my all-time favorite church members and used to stay with our girls when Helen was away tending to her own mother as she died.] The story is set in the imaginary town of Rockwell, IL, but it certainly looks a lot like Hoopeston, IL, where Jo grew up. The title is Some Good Memory. [1]

It’s a quote from Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov.

“You must know that there is nothing stronger, or higher, or sounder, or more useful afterwards in life, than some good memory, especially a memory from childhood, from the personal home…If a man stores up many such stories to take into life, then he is saved for his whole life. And even if only one good memory remains with us in our hearts, that alone may serve some day for our salvation.”

There are many methods by which old people are supposed to keep our memories working. I’ve most recently read that the best memory help is three brisk forty minute walks per week. I like that, since I already walk and have no intention of doing Sudoku or learning Chinese.

I suspect, though, that God gives us these failing brains to make us work harder at bringing back those good memories, so that we’ll appreciate them more. As you take that walk, run those good memories through the screen behind your eyes. Even if only one remains, that is enough.

Isaac Watts, in the third verse of “I’ll Praise My Maker While I’ve Breath,” writes “the Lord supports the fainting mind”

John Robert McFarland

[1] “Some Good Memory” is published by Outskirts Press. Its ISBN is 978-1-4327-2513-6

The picture is of the Pine Mountain ski jump in Iron Mountain, MI, the highest man-made ski jump in the world. 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 what it means to be a follower of Christ in winter. I have a picture that is more appropriate now for Indiana, boys playing basketball in winter snow, but I have not yet figured out how to replace the ski jump picture with the basketball picture.

I tweet as yooper1721

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