Many decades ago, I kept a separate runner's log--2 of them, in fact. One was fancy and spiral bound, full of inspirational photos and quotes and an essay at the beginning of each month. One essay was titled "Catching February." It was written by the guy who took over the project when Jim Fixx died.
The premise of that essay was that into every runner's life comes a time of February. It's cold and bleak and downright dangerous to run in February (this was particularly true in the northern states before climate change made some winter months balmy). The writer talked about returning the running regimen after having "caught a case of February."
On Sunday, I realized that I'm in a time of spiritual February. Our church has had some deaths lately. One was an older parishioner who had been in decline, so his death wasn't a surprise--but he was always in good spirits, so he'll be missed. The other death was a bit of a shock: a woman who fell and because of the blood thinners she was taking, she bled to death before anyone found her. I got home and called a grad school friend: her father, who has suffered from Parkinson's which has gotten much worse in recent years, has entered hospice care and is refusing food and drink.
I feel a sense of February in other ways too. I'm feeling both disconnected from people, and worse, I'm in that phase that I sometimes experience, where I want to just finish the job of disconnecting, that "burn it down" phase. I've been resisting this impulse by scheduling time with friends to reconnect and to remind myself that these friendships are important, that my sense of unmooring is partly in my head and partly that we're all working at different places now.
I've had friends who said they admire my faith or my beliefs. I explain that it's not about faith or belief. It's about the actions that we do, and especially when we do them during these times of spiritual February.
And so I go to church, even though I sometimes wonder if I might not get more nourishment by reading spiritual texts on my own. I pray, even when I'm not sure that God is there or that God is listening. I make dinner dates with friends so that I can remember that we are friends. These are important spiritual practices, especially in a time of spiritual February.
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1 week ago