Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


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

Our church’s parking lot has new lines. Not just lines, but everything is new—the blacktop and the base, too.

It’s a big parking lot. It took a lot of money and ten days’ time to renew it.

Our parking lot gets a lot of use. Non-profits use our facilities for free. That’s our church policy. Every day in our building there are support groups of all types, social service groups, Scouts, ecumenical groups studying one thing or another or working on some project, even Bible study groups from other churches where their facilities are too small. It’s actually hard for us to schedule our own groups from time to time. That’s a good problem to have.

It had been 25 years since the parking lot had been resurfaced. It had gotten so much use. It was in bad shape. It got so bad that the trustees began to name the pot holes after the 7 Deadly Sins, plus names like Lucifer and Hades.

We gave a lot of extra money, because it’s hard to work extra projects like that into the regular budget. It wasn’t enough, because once they started resurfacing, they found out that the bed was bad, too, so it had to be redone. More time, more money. More lines.

Well, probably not more lines, but you can actually see the lines now. We usually got into lined spaces before, but the old yellow lines were so faded and crumbling that we got between them, far enough from other cars that we didn’t bang doors, from memory. Now the lines are bright and white.

There was one Sunday when the lot was paved but there were no lines yet. In worship our pastor blurted out, “You people are terrible at parking without lines.”

It was true. There were cars all over the place, pointing in all directions. It was a mess.

Yes, lines can be a nuisance. They can stifle creativity. But there are times when they are really necessary and helpful. Sometimes it is necessary to live between the lines. I give thanks for good lines.


I tweet as yooper1721.

Spoiler Alert: If you have read this column in the last 3 months, all that follows is old news:

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.

Katie Kennedy is the rising star in YA lit. [She is also our daughter.] She is published by Bloomsbury, which also publishes lesser authors, like JK Rowling. Her new book, What Goes Up, comes out July 18. It’s published in paper, audio, and electronic, and available for pre-order even now, from B&N, Amazon, Powell’s, etc.

My most recent novel is VETS, about four homeless Iraqistan veterans accused of murdering a VA doctor, is available from your local independent book store, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, Books-A-Million, Black Opal Books, and almost any place else that sells books. $8.49 or $12.99 for paperback, according to which site you look at, and $3.99 for Kindle. Free if you can get your library to buy one.

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