Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


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

We spent Easter in Tiffin, OH, of all places. Not that there is anything wrong with Tiffin. In fact, it is a very nice town. But there would normally be no reason for us to be in Tiffin. This Easter was different.

Our grandchildren, Brigid and Joe, have no cousins, and only one aunt, on the McFarland side. They depend on their father’s family for cousins and aunts and uncles and god parents. Those folks are in Tiffin.

Brigid had only the 2 day weekend for Easter, Michigan State University’s spring break being earlier, and it’s a day’s drive to her home in Iron Mountain and another day to get back, so there would be no time at home even if she tried to get there. She was feeling lonely, being by herself on Easter, and she wanted to go to Tiffin to see her father’s family, since they have suffered a lot in the past year, two of her cousins dying violently, [suicide and car crash], but she does not have a car and any public transportation she could get would take the whole weekend, too, so we drove up to East Lansing and then took her to Tiffin and on Sunday afternoon drove her back to MSU. It was good for us to get to spend time with her, and good for her and her Grandma Kennedy and the rest of her father’s family to see her. As we drove out of Tiffin, she said, “I really needed that.”

Roots and wings. Children need both. As we drove home from East Lansing, Helen noted that since our family has been so itinerant, we have given wings to Brigid and Joe, and helped them to see that wings are good. [I’m not talking about Buffalo Wild Wings. They might be good, too, but where I come from, buffalo don’t have wings.] Their father’s family, though, has been in Tiffin for many generations, and so they have roots there, and roots are also necessary and good.

The Kennedys are Roman Catholic, so while they were at St. Mary’s, we went to Easter worship at Faith UMC. It was a pleasant place to worship. The building is nice. The service was meaningful. The music was good. Most of all, though, I enjoyed the Joys and Concerns.

One woman thanked folks for their prayers for her sister-in-law, whose heart surgery took longer than expected. Another asked for prayers for her husband, who is not doing well. There were several others. The pastor stood at the head of the aisle, and called on each raised hand by name and responded to each in a personal way. Finally a very old and decrepit woman asked for the floor. Most folks had spoken while sitting, but she wanted to stand. It took her a long time to struggle up. Her voice was weak and she was in front of us so I could not hear what she said. As she spoke, though, and the pastor smiled and nodded, I wondered at how much I cared about that sister-in-law and that husband and whatever the old lady was sharing.

These are my people. I did not know them, and will never see them again, but what happens to them is important to me. We are in this life together, in prayer together, and in resurrection hope together. I’m still praying for that sister-in-law and that husband and that old lady. Wherever and whenever we share joys and concerns, we are given roots and wings.


I tweet as yooper1721.

My youthful ambition was to be a journalist, and write a column for a newspaper. So I think of this blog as an online column. I started it 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.] We no longer live in “the place of winter.” The grandchildren grew 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 continue to work at understanding what it means to be a follower of Christ in winter…

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