Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Sunday, July 16, 2017


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

 I often felt ill at ease because I felt at ease in situations that were not easy.

Bishop Leroy Hodapp said he felt most at ease in conflict situations, because that was when there was a possibility for change. I liked that idea, but it didn’t make me feel at ease in conflict. I became a bit more at ease with conflict toward the end of my career, mostly, I think, because I didn’t care anymore if people liked me or what they thought of me.

The difficult situations where I felt at ease were not about conflict but disaster, when I was with a man whose wife had died suddenly, with a family where a child had died or committed suicide, with a woman whose husband had been killed. I was keenly aware of my limits, the limits of anyone to be truly comforting in a situation like that, but I was also aware that this was a time where I could be of true help by pushing the limits. At times of loss, folks can be more aware of “the everlasting arms.” I was there to represent those everlasting arms in a way no one else could.

Don’t get me wrong. I dreaded those situations. I did not want anyone to lose a loved one or face any disaster of that kind. I was agonizingly aware of how I would feel in a similar situation. I not only sympathized but empathized. But you can’t escape the bad parts of life by wishing them away. When they come… well, that was where I felt called, where I felt I was supposed to be.


The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP], 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 land of perpetual winter, but I am in the winter of my years, so I think it’s okay to use that phrase. I don’t know why I put that © on; it’s hardly necessary.

Following the critical and marketing success of her first Young Adult novel, daughter Katie Kennedy’s Learning to Swear in America, is What Goes Up, a July 18, 2017 release. She is published by Bloomsbury, which also publishes lesser known by promising young authors, like JK Rowling.

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