Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Thursday, March 3, 2016


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

We bought our first house, more correctly, we incurred our first mortgage, when our daughters were little girls. Being a young and low-paid home-owner means you need to do a lot of house maintenance yourself; you can’t afford to hire experts. I was never Mr. Fix-It, certainly not like my father and brother. They could do anything around a house, and do it well. I could do mindless things, like mowing grass and shoveling snow, but the things that require knowledge and logic are beyond me. Things like plumbing and electricity. And how storm windows work.

I think our windows were called “triple-hung,” meaning there were 3 tracks for screens and storm panels to slide up and down. I was trying to get the screen out of one of the windows, and apparently I had not pushed the heavy glass storm panel up out of the way far enough so that it would “catch.” My index fingers were hooked into little loops at the edges of the screen at the bottom of the window when the storm panel decided to become a guillotine. It happened so fast. I didn’t even know it was on its way down until I felt the scorching pain in the ends of my fingers.

I thought of all the bad words I had ever heard. I thought of all sorts of new combinations in which they might be uttered. None sufficed. There were no words to tell the pain.

It is hard to do anything when you can’t use your index fingers, when the ends of those digits are squashed flat, when they have turned purple with broken vessels and pooled blood. I could do nothing but sit on the sofa, in misery, with my fingers stuck into the air, signaling, apparently, “We’re # 11,” so that the blood could drain down.

Our three and five year old daughters crawled up onto the sofa on either side of my and one of them said, mournfully, “Daddy all broke.”

Well, it wasn’t “all.” In fact, the ends of my index fingers are a tiny fraction of my total body mass. But she was right. I was “all” broke. When one part of the body is hurting, it affects every other part. That is true with the Body of Christ, the church, and it is true with the body politic.

We don’t get better, in our pain and unhappiness, by damaging other parts of the body, too, by getting mad because we hurt and kicking out and breaking a toe, or swigging down self-medication and damaging our liver. We get better by healing the part that is broken, that makes us ALL broke, even if it is just a tiny part.

When I began to stroke the smooth little cheeks of the tiny girls who sat beside me on that sofa, when I turned my attention from my own pain to the reality of those I love and who love me, I got all well.


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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