Seasons of the Christian Life

Posted on November 14, 2012

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I am more affected by the world around me than I once thought. I used to think that my decisions, outlook, and beliefs were determined in the rational space of my mind. But as the weather gets colder, the sun shines less, and as there are less and less seasonal fruits and vegetables available, I find myself in a state of melancholy. Not a full-on depression or even a mild funk, but a kind of holding state, a time of waiting and being and wrapping myself in blankets in the evening.

I wish I knew where I picked up the idea that the Christian life was supposed to be as calm and placid as an undisturbed lake. If I knew where I got it I could go back in time to that particular Sunday School lesson or sermon or conversation and pull my younger self aside and warm him not to pay attention.

I have had seasons in my life that are filled with joy, sadness, struggle, and accomplishment. I have lived days I wished away and days I wanted to savor. The strength of my faith is influenced by my clothes, my weight, my job, the weather, my bank account, what I’ve eaten, my relationships with friends and family members, my church experiences, what book I’m reading, how much news I’m reading, and whether we have chocolate chip cookies in the house.

I really am an embodied creature.

Being bodies doesn’t mean that our souls live inside us and drive our bodies around like bumper cars. It means that by the mystery of life, we are our bodies. And being a body in the world is a two-way street. We can live and move and change our environment, but our environment can move and shape us. There is an African saying that goes, “The hungry belly has no ears.” I believe with all my heart that this is true.

Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas is already being jammed down my throat by the stores. But for now I’m going to welcome the season that I’m in. I don’t always do this well. It is a time of waiting, mild contentment, a strange kind of peace, and simple joys. I will do this because I cannot escape my life, I cannot abandon my body’s inconveniences of space, time, and the desire to be warm on a cold autumn evening.

 

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Photo: Michael Whyte

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Posted in: Patience