Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Friday, February 19, 2016


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

There is a certain generation of women, mostly in their 80s now, whose parents gave them the name of Joan but pronounced it Joann. Helen and I met one of them while taking an after-supper stroll/walk, along with her husband, John. We were going the same direction, so fell in together and started getting acquainted. Joan told us of how they had both been widowed when they met. John had lived alone for fifteen years of so when they married. I observed, more to get the taciturn John to say something than anything else, that after all those years, he might have been a little set in his ways when they married. Joan stopped right there in the middle of the street, turned her face to the sky, and bellowed to the setting sun and anyone within three and one-half miles, “A LITTLE? A LITTLE?” John just gave a wan smile and kept trudging along.

That’s what old people do. We get set in our ways, and we just keep trudging along.

Old people have the reputation of “set in our ways,” but ALL of us are creatures of habit. Old people are not really creatures of habit more than younger folks. It’s just that we’ve been trudging in the same pathways, physically and mentally and emotionally and spiritually, for longer periods of time, so those ways are more ingrained in us.

I realized that recently when I received an extra computer power cord for Christmas. Yes, I asked for it. When you’re old, you’ve got more shirts than you can wear out before you die, so you ask for things you really need, like Chapstick and chocolate pinon coffee. I did not know, though, how much that cord would change my life.

I spend most of my time on my sofa in the living room. When I need to watch a cat video, my iPad is right there. I am also used to having a computer on the desk in my study. That was the only place early computers could fit, and that was where they sat beside the printer. I’ve always had a computer on my desk. When I needed something other than cat videos, I went to my study to use the computer there. It’s now, though, a sleek laptop, not one of those hugeputers.

Sometimes when I wanted to write something long, I would bring my laptop computer in from my study to the sofa, because that’s closer to the coffee, and in front of the fireplace, but I had to bring its cord in, too. It was difficult to get the cord unplugged from the hidden receptacle, and then it was difficult to get it re-plugged behind the elephant in the living room, and if I needed to print something, I had to take it back to the study and re-plug… well, you get the picture. Once it was in the study on the desk, I just left it there.

With a second cord, though, I have to move only the laptop. No unplugging and re-plugging. [How come my sphelczhek says unplugging is okay but replugging is not?] Now I hardly ever use my iPad, because the laptop has cat vids, too, and I never get anything printed. I can sit on my sofa all day.

The second cord worked, but in reverse. The idea was to make it possible to move the laptop computer back and forth easily, but it actually made it possible for me to stay in one place all day. Now I have to rethink my whole life. Is any movement at all necessary?

It’s good to have our routines upset once in a while, so we can get out of our ruts and live in entirely different ways. I think I’ll keep spelling my name John but pronounce it Johann.

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 what it means to be a follower of Christ in winter…

I tweet as yooper1721.

My book, NOW THAT I HAVE CANCER I AM WHOLE: Reflections on Life and Healing for Cancer Patients and Those Who Love Them, is published in two editions by AndrewsMcMeel, in audio by HarperAudio, and in Czech and Japanese translations. It’s incredibly inexpensive at many sites on the web.

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