Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Sunday, February 7, 2016


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

Helen went to a seminar at the YMCA to learn how to exercise. I didn’t think it was that hard: Put left foot forward, put right foot forward, repeat. The Y thinks it is more complicated.

She did learn, though, at last, how to bend over and to sit down. You don’t use your knees. You stick your behind out instead. Try it, especially if someone else is around; it’s fun to watch.

She also learned that you should not combine exercising for 30 minutes and spending the rest of the day on the sofa. Apparently I have to stop exercising for 30 minutes.

The reason we have trouble getting up and down, she learned, is that connective tissue thickens with age. You have to keep using those connections, like standing up and sitting down, to keep them flexible.

It sounds backwards to me. Thick means strong. Wouldn’t it be a good thing to have stronger connections? But strong and flexible aren’t exactly the same. I learned that as a long-distance runner, especially on uneven terrain. When a runner with strong ankles turned one of those ankles, there was an injury. My ankles were weak, flexible, so they turned without injury.

We need flexibility, and aging works against that, in thinking and relationships as well as in the body. We need to keep exercising those relational connective tissues, too, in other bodies. If the tissues of the family body, or the Body of Christ, or the body of humanity, become too thick, there are tears when there are turns.


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 tweet as yooper1721.

They called them heroes. They said, “Thank you for your service.” Then forgot about them. Joe Kirk lost a leg. Lonnie Blifield lost his eyes. Victoria Roundtree lost her skin. “Zan” Zander lost his mind. Four homeless and hopeless Iraqistan VETS who accidentally end up living together on an old school bus. With nowhere to go, and nothing else to do, they lurch from one VAMC to another, getting no help because, like the thousands of other Iraqistan VETS who are homeless, unemployed, and suicidal, they do not trust the system and refuse to “come inside.” After another fruitless stop, at the VAMC in Iron Mountain, Michigan, a doctor is found dead, and the VETS are accused of his murder. Distrustful, strangers to America, to each other, and even to themselves, they must become a unit to learn who really murdered the doctor, so that they can be free. In doing so, they uncover far more, about themselves and about their country, than they dared even to imagine. Available from your local independent book store, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BOKO, Books-A-Million, Black Opal Books, and almost any place else that sells books. $12.99 for paperback, and $3.99 for ebook. Free if you can get your library to buy one.

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