CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©
Tonight I am talking to the XYZ group at our church. XYZ stands for Xtra Years of Zest, which is a way of saying that we are old and decrepit and deeply into denial, and also have trouble remembering how to spell “Extra.”
I’m going to try to help us look for the hinge moments in our lives, as a way of looking back at the many years we’ve been through, to see if we can live with those past selves.
Every once in a while I see or hear some person who is interviewed at the end of her career. Often he says, “I have no regrets. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
That worries me, for the sake of hisher soul. If you have no regrets, if you would not change anything, you are either insensitive, a sociopath, or perfect. And as the old joke goes, “The only perfect man was my wife’s first husband.”
I think that’s why even his supporters were discombobulated when President George W. Bush was asked, at the end of his first term, what mistakes he had made. He could not think of any. Of course, it’s not politically helpful to admit mistakes, but, as he pondered an answer, he did not seem to be looking for the correct political response. He seemed genuinely befuddled; he just couldn’t think of any mistakes he had made. That is why he ended his first term with the lowest approval rating of any president ever; he could not correct his mistakes because he did not know what they were.
Winter was probably thought of as a time of discontent before Richard III, in which Shakespeare wrote the line, “Now is the winter of our discontent…” but those of us in the winter of our years know the bard was right. Winter can be a time of great discontent. But not necessarily.
Winter is either a time of discontent, because we have unacknowledged and thus unexamined and unforgiven regrets, or a season of contentment because we have come to terms with our regrets, not by denying them, but by examining them and then discarding them in the fire that we need for winter warmth.
Old people do this. We go through the boxes of our memories, and take out the letters and clippings and notes we have saved. We look them over, decide which our children or grandchildren might want, and then throw the others into the fire.
We warm ourselves in winter with the flames of forgiveness, forgiving ourselves and others.
I tweet as yooper1721.