CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©
I’m at that awkward age. But isn’t every age an awkward one? This is the one where you feel fine, except for the usual old-age stuff, but know you’ll die before long, anyway, just because you’re so old.
As one of my docs used to say, “Old age is itself a risk factor.” I really resent that, but it’s true.
Which means I need to prepare for life’s end. In one way, of course, we are always doing that prep, just by trying to live good lives. That, however, can be an excuse for not doing some other things, some inward things, that necessary soul-work as we approach the end of the soul’s earthly journey.
It has occurred to me that I have too often used my writing and preaching—my outreach—to avoid my in-reach, the necessary preparation for the end of life. Well, maybe that’s not quite it. Perhaps I’m not using it to avoid soul-work, but it’s just getting in the way of the soul-work. Either way, I need to change my focus.
There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m not aware that I am at death’s door. I might live another 15 years, although 5 or 10 is more likely. The problem is, at a certain age, it could be 15 years, or it could be 15 minutes. So I need to spend my time doing in-reach.
Some folks might be able to do both in-reach and outreach, but I am not one of them. I have to do one or the other. If I do any reaching out at all [writing, speaking, preaching], I forget about inward learning, the learning and experiencing that allows one to say “Yes” when the question comes, “Is it well with your soul?”
The creative process can be a way of in-reach. Sometimes I don’t know what I believe until I have written it. That has often served me well. Now, though, I need to learn in more inwardly meditative ways.
If I am thinking, “Is this clear enough that someone else can understand it?” or “Is this worth the effort of someone else to understand it?” I do not ask well enough, “Do I understand it?”
I listen to others to get guidance for my inward journey, mostly by reading, but I listen in other ways, too. Often I am gifted with some phrase or thought that I think is worth sharing, so I’ll continue to post most days in Christ In Winter, usually some quote that I find helpful as I do soul work. Occasionally I’ll even tell one of my little stories that reflects on faith in our winter years. I still value having you with me on the journey. It’s just that most of the time I need to “walk this lonesome valley by myself.”
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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