Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


Spongebob, God Pumping Iron and Thoughts on Growing Older

Photo credit: The Guardian

Photo credit: The Guardian

[Apologies for the delay in posts: technical difficulties on the heels of travel and Thanksgiving have kept me away. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Tomorrow, our series “Holy Space” recommences with photojournalist Katie Archibald-Woodward.]

This past weekend I turned 38. With the advent of the late thirties, birthdays increasingly come with a tinge of mortality and a twang of melancholy when before they never did.

And there are those things I just find hard to understand about growing older….

…like how it is you can still get those juicy zits decades after you thought teenage acne was thankfully over

…or how it is that your hair starts stubbornly sprouting in places you never thought it could

…or why, when time, still measured in the same increments now seems to speed by rather than slowly meander.

But this last fact imbues the aging process with a certain sacred blessedness, too. Time in both its essence and its parts becomes so much more treasured: I want more of it, as much of it as I can fit in a day; and I find myself wanting to stop its passage more often these days or to bundle up moments.

And, laughter is more poignantly lovely—often filtered through the quirky remarks of my children. Like yesterday, when my 4-year-old stood at the front of a long line of pharmacy customers holding a musical Spongebob Squarepants card and giggling loudly whenever Spongebob began to shake: “Look, Mommy, Spongebob is tooting!,” she exclaimed loudly, in a continuation of a newfound obsession with potty humor. Or, when a few hours later my son explained rain on a bleak winter day as “God sweating.” (The imagery is rich on so many levels, right? God at the gym, lifting dumbbells, or on the Stairmaster.)

These things that are passing away I want to hold on to maybe stubbornly—in spite of Jesus’ admonition not to grieve such things. What happens to such things when God is making all things new?, I wonder.

With time, too, the embodied presence of persons is entrusted with holiness. A voice on the telephone. An embrace. A handshake. Even a brief exchange with a stranger at the grocery store. These are mystical visions of sorts themselves, as Marilynne Robinson writes in Gilead, when she realizes “there is nothing more astonishing than a human face…It has something to do with incarnation…Any human face is a claim on you, because you can’t help but understand the singularity of it, the courage and loneliness of it.”

The claim itself—of a face or person in front of me— is now stronger as I grow older. And this is a beautiful thing. Such things should not pass away, I protest, but if they must, then may they be hallowed and wonderful in their passage into all things new.

Maybe this passage and our realization of it are one aspect of sanctification.



Previous Posts

Writing Sabbatical—and "The Departure of the Prodigal Son"
I'm sorry: my absenteeism at this intersection can be attributed to a number of things lately, the most pressing of which is my forthcoming book with author and Christian addiction specialist Jonathan Benz. The book (Prodigal Church or a version of it) is now officially under deadline and by April 1

posted 10:55:10am Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Restless Soul Hall of Fame: Sister Corita Kent
Since NPR's recent segment, Sister Corita Kent has come to mind a few times this week as someone who d

posted 10:23:30am Jan. 16, 2015 | read full post »

"I Am Charlie Hebdo"
I struggle to know how to greet you after such a long hiatus from posting here—and in light of how much has happened in the world since Christmas

posted 4:42:48pm Jan. 12, 2015 | read full post »

A Christmas Homily
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. —Luke 2:6,7 The sheer physicality of this picture strikes me this Christmas. The ba

posted 1:54:50pm Dec. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Mental Health Break—Sprawl II
My favorite band these days is Arcade Fire, and I've featured the Canadian indie rock group before at this intersection between God and life. The lead singer studied Kirkegaard in college and their songs, like this one, are often subtle but brilliant critiques of the least aesthetically pleasing thi

posted 12:58:15pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.