CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter…
Today is daughter Katie’s birthday. She is the acclaimed author, Katie Kennedy.  She is also a professor of history—Russian in particular, in which she did her doctoral work at the U of IL—and wife, mother, cook, decorator, dog silencer, citizen, church member, friend. I am proud of her, not just for her many accomplishments, but because she lives a simple life in the midst of complexity. She knows that in the whirling midst of all those competing and challenging roles, there is only one thing that is important, and she lives it.
Next Saturday Helen and I will drive the 90 miles south to my old home town, on the unnecessary and boring new I-69 stretch from Bloomington to Evansville. We shall do so to honor the simple life of my school classmate, Donna Miller Huff. In the midst of unimaginable tragedies, she knew that only one thing is important, and she lived it.
Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said, “I would give anything for the simplicity on the far side of complexity, but nothing for the simplicity on the near side of complexity.”
In many ways, Katie and Donna have nothing in common. In high school, Donna was concerned first for looks and popularity. She never went to college. She lived her whole life in one small town. Katie’s life has been the opposite.
One tragedy after another wrenched away everything that was important to Donna—parents, husband, children, grandchildren. At the end, even her life. The tragedies of life tried to take those things from Katie but were unable to.
In one way, though, these two women--removed so far from each other by age and education and status—were the same. Through complexities each learned the simple truth that the only thing that matters in life is love. Donna learned that if you have no one to love, then love everyone. Katie learned that if you have so many to love, love everyone.
Happy birthday to Katie. Happy new day to Donna.
1] Katie Kennedy is the rising star in YA lit. She is published by Bloomsbury, which also publishes lesser authors, like JK Rowling. Her latest book is, What Goes Up. It’s published in hardback, paperback, audio, and electronic, from B&N, Amazon, etc.
Spoiler Alert: If you have read this column anytime in the past three months, you’ve already read everything that follows…
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.] Having met and married while at IU in Bloomington, IN, we became Bloomarangs in May of 2015, moving back to where we started, closing the circle. We no longer live in the land of winter, but I am in the winter of my years, and so I am still trying to understand Christ in winter. Besides, it’s getting cold HERE today.
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