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On New Year’s day, I walked into a cloud that settled on the neighbor’s field, now cleared of corn. I could not gaze to the silver grain bins, like unlabeled soup cans in the distance. A few days earlier sun-risen-light bathed this field in pink.

Nope, I could see no further than a drape of white. I had just read an article about dementia illustrated with images of fog. As a person with mild cognitive impairment, I might say, maybe so.

Or maybe this is a true picture of stepping into the next moment and the one after that. Maybe it’s more sane, than the pressure January brings with all the hype of making resolutions, and charting out goals. Years past I’ve listed tasks in my planner. I can open it in December to see very few check marks. Have I wasted all that time?

Well no. It just means I couldn’t predict what each day would bring—the spur of the moment lunch, or the quiet protest at county board or the live wire puppy. Even the greeting Happy New Year unsettles me. When a number of years have been peaceful, the peace absorbing griefs along the way, I know a year is coming with blow after blow, loss after loss.

All I can do is step into the fog, enough light clearing the way to see the road ahead, offering enough time to step off when a car comes, enough time to wave at the driver.

I’m Katie Andraski and that’s my perspective.

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We Leave Our Church

The Daily Office is taking us through Isaiah and I came across this: “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled! This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment” (Isaiah 50:10 – 13, ESV).

It spoke to me at a time when Bruce and I slammed up against our church changing out from under us, kinda like how the ground whacks you when you fall off a horse. I remembered how my parents fell into seething silence because they fought with my mothers’ sisters over who should lead the new church. That was the summer I lost two puppies. I sobbed in the barn, telling God and Mrs. Horse about what a loss leaving this church would be. I was afraid Bruce and I would fall into that seething silence like my parents. No one but God and Mrs. Horse listened. It’s not easy finding this kind of community and you can’t replace the years slowly building friendships. Being a person well aware of loneliness, it has been heart wrenching to say goodbye. But there’s no sense in continuing to attend a church while mourning the way worship used to be.

I realized if I stayed on at our former church, I’d be lighting a fire that would offer some light, but I’d also be choosing very hard times. Yes it felt like walking in darkness to leave this beloved community, but I felt like God was asking us to trust him and leave. Bruce and I hope many others find what a wonderful community our former church is. Bruce and I spoke our peace with a few church leaders who listened compassionately and without being defensive. This kind of honesty and listening soaked up any anger welling up with our disappointment. (See that’s what a good community our church is.) We have landed in a church that focuses on worship, and some old friends have renewed our friendship, so this hasn’t been a falling into the pit of desolation.

I Do a 180 and Join a Soft Ambition Circle

Now that I disavowed setting goals and priorities, I changed my mind and joined aSoft Ambition Circle” run by Annie Kip, which starts in February. I’m looking forward to seeing if I can any better with intentions and goals than I’ve done in the past because I’m being coached and part of a group. As a retired person, it’s easy to say, “I’ll do it tomorrow” and take a nap or watch junk on TV. I’ve attended several of Annie’s free classes using her Spark Cards. One of the images was of a splash from a water drop and I found a crown, which reminded me of something I knew years ago, that I’m a daughter of the King. Her coaching has a light, positive touch.

What changed my mind from the above perspective was an email Annie wrote talking about how she had two desires–to start her day and enjoy the warmth of her bed. She combined both by staying in bed with her notebook and a cup of hot tea. She found she has been more able to do the hard tasks like working out.

I also like that Annie’s class follows the seasons, this first being winter. When I have felt guilty for wasting my days on Facebook and in front of the TV, my spiritual director and I talked a lot about winter, how this deep fallow time is part of the natural rhythm of the world, so Annie’s approach has piqued my interest. Hopefully, I’ll let you know how the “soft ambition” circle goes.

Well, that’s all I know for now. Let me know what you think in the comments.

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