Tuesday, May 18, 2021

For Everything There Is a Season


For everything there is a season... Ecc. 3:1 

Retiring during Covid could pretty much be summed up as “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” (I know I lifted that line from Charles Dickens, but since he’s been dead for over 100 years, I doubt he much cares.)

It was the best of times because we did not have to teach this year. It was an incredibly difficult year for teachers, students, and parents. But, frankly, we identified most with our friends and old colleagues. A year of in-class instruction, coupled with a constant number of students online from multiple quarantines— The dreaded scenario of the principal entering your classroom to inform you, “You have been exposed. You’re on a 2 week quarantine. Pack up your stuff now and go home.” That meant not only students online, but also in the classroom with a sub—sub plans for 2 weeks. What an exhausting year! But, they did it—all of them: teachers, students, parents. After 2 more days of finals, everyone can put this year behind them. They will be thankful it’s over. We are thankful that we didn’t have to do it.

It was also the worst of times. To retire during Covid brought little, if any, closure. From the middle of March, classes were online. After entering the last final in the computer, a button was pushed, and it was over. We did need to clear out our rooms and put things in order for those who would take our places, but it had to be done in solitude and aloneness. Access to the building was scheduled and limited.

Boxes were carried to either the trash or the truck. I surveyed the classroom in which I had spent so many days of so many years of my life. The room was more organized and cleaner than it had been since the building was new. I took one last picture of a yellow wall that desperately needed painting and closed the door. All was quiet and surreal. We turned in our keys and drove home. We dumped boxes of “school” in a room upstairs, where some still sit.

Teachers were not allowed to attend graduation last year. It was the only graduation I missed in 31 years. None of it ended the way we’d planned. No graduation, one “unlawful” party, no big hurrah. Jay has always said that “the end of the school year doesn’t wind down; it winds up.” During Covid, it simply ended.

In many ways I feel like we’ve come full circle. Graduation is Friday. We will be there. We’ve been to one graduation party already and this weekend is party-hardy full. These seniors are my old sophomores and Jay’s old seventh graders. They are a fun group of kids. It’s been so refreshing to see them. It’s so much fun to celebrate with them. On our walk along the greenway today, I felt exhilarated. This is how it should end. So, I decided to vicariously retire this year with the seniors as they walk across the stage. 


Life doesn’t always turn out the way we planned. Yet, even in the midst of bewilderment, there is assurance that all will turn out the way God has planned. “Joy [does] come in the morning.” And now, I’m ready to take off this mask and step into a new season, not unlike the seniors I’m so proud of.   

For everything there is a season



Thursday, January 7, 2021

An Empy Shelf: a new year reflection

Dear Christa, 

Putting away Christmas always seems like a bigger job than putting it all out. Decorating FOR Christmas is anticipation, joy, and celebration. But, when all the holly and jolly and every nativity is taken off the shelves, there seems to be a barrenness.


That’s not always bad. It’s kind of like everything is clean and new. The dusted shelves seem to say, “Hey, it’s a new year. What will you place here this year? Will it be the “same old, same old”? Or—something fresh? Something new, something wonderful?


In January, the Colorado winter settles in for real and for long. I dislike the cold and the dry. I long for summer long before it arrives.


Yet, winter is fresh.


Sometimes, the cold makes me wrap my arms around myself and beckons me to push inward, away. Yet, sometimes, the cold on my face in an afternoon walk tingles life. I breathe in deeply. I can drink in the fresh and the new. And when winter snow swirls around my face, it can lift my spirit upward.


So, what will this New Year bring? It will mainly bring what we put into it. On these empty shelves, we’ll place some old and some warm, but I am looking for more. I’m looking for something new, something fresh, something wonderful.


Happy New Year, Christa!


—your old friend,

the parishioner who doesn’t do anything



Sunday, April 12, 2020



Sitting in a room together, yet alone.
Lost, grieving, waiting—
For what?
They didn’t know.
Words of comfort and hope forgotten.
Despair unimaginable.


The greatest act since the Creation
Stood on the verge—
God stirs.
Love conquers death.
The Plan revealed.
He is risen.

Tell his disciples, He is not here
He is risen.
                                                                                    Deb Borkert 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Where Thoughts Can Go

Sometimes I write down thoughts, and they don’t go anywhere. These are thoughts that eventually did.
July 9, 2019
Sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way you expect, or the way you hoped, or the way you wanted, or the way it seemed it should have been. And, when it doesn’t, there comes a time to let go.
October 16, 2019
But, perhaps, letting go and accepting isn’t that easy. Maybe it’s a series of steps, like grieving. Maybe it begins with frustration and irritation and moves to just plan hopelessness. Maybe the coming out is incremental, little by little. Maybe patience leads to joy after all. Maybe.
February 28, 2020
Maybe like Naomi, we can feel empty, wrung out, totally spent. As the snow swirls in a seemingly endless winter, the clouds that bear down in the heavens bear down on our souls. Cold, alone, empty.
Naomi felt empty; but we, as outsiders looking in, know she wasn’t, not really. She felt alone, but truly she wasn’t. As her hopelessness overwhelmed her, she pushed those who loved her away. She felt targeted by God. Yet, that was far from the case. Sometimes, it takes despair to get us where we need to be. Sometimes.
March 19, 2020
Sometimes despair is overwhelming. It causes us to lie awake at night. We turn all the options over in our heads. We say, yes, to this and moments later, no. David spoke of the unproductive watches of the night. Endless, foreboding, ever wakeful. Despair. It consumes us. And, then comes morning.
March 29, 2020
Morning eventually comes. After a sleepless night, we stumble to something or Someone to carry us through the day. Things usually look differently in the morning. Even though exhausted, we put one foot in front of the other and carry on. Stumble forward...into Jesus.
One day we wake up and find it’s morning.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

I'm Okay

Charlie is a risk taker, and no matter what kind of scrape he finds himself in, he always responds, “I’m okay.” I think he’s been saying, “I’m okay” for as long as he could talk. Charlie is five.

Weekend before last, we’d met Charlie and his family at a ski resort in New Mexico. We had a wonderful time—literally the last days we could wake up feeling that the day was predictable.

I’ve read a lot about brain function, and one author says that “our brains love surprises.” Surprises might perk up an old brain to function better, but “love” isn’t the term I’d choose.
In the last week, my husband and I have often remarked, “We picked the very worst year to retire.” As teachers we did not sign contracts for next year, and when the last paper is graded, we will be retired. But, we’re okay.

For years I’ve taught a class called Life Calling. One thing I tell my students is that I’ve noticed that as people age, they seem less willing to take risk. We moved to Colorado Springs 32 years ago with four small children and no jobs. We just knew it was the right thing to do. I won’t say those first years here were easy. They weren’t. They were years fraught with worry and stress. Yet, we were okay. Looking back, I’ve often wished I hadn’t spent so much energy frantic about money. I’ve also hoped that if I ever found myself in that situation again, I’d weather it knowing we were okay.

We aren’t okay just because we say it. We’re okay because there is a God in whose hands we rest. Life does not always turn out the way we expect. It does not always turn out the way we want. It does always turn out the way it should.

At Angel Fire, New Mexico, Charlie had two days of ski lessons. On the third day, our son-in-law (Charlie’s dad) took him to the top of a mountain. We laughed as we watched video of Charlie skiing down the mountain, arms straight out. And, when he fell, you could clearly hear him say, “I’m okay.”
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Jesus--Very God

 Thoughts on Hebrews
Hebrews 1:8 and following distinguish Jesus from the angels, but it does so much more. It shows us who Jesus truly is. He is God.

God the Father says of Jesus: “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever…(vs. 8).

Verse 10 the Father declares Jesus the Creator who “laid the foundations of the earth.” And even though the world will change, Jesus will “remain the same” (vs. 12).

Then chapter 1 closes with another distinction between angels and Jesus. Whereas the angels are ministering spirits, Jesus sits at the Father’s right hand.

n some mystery the united Godhead seems to have split in some inexplicable way at the incarnation. Verse 5 expresses that the Father and Son are separate, yet they also remain the same. Jesus, “the exact representation of [God’s] being. The rest of chapter one focuses on Jesus and who He is—nothing like an angel, but the very Son of God—the Creator at the beginning of time. Who but God could it be attributed that he “laid the foundations of the earth” and created the heavens and all that is in them. At some point, all creation will change, but Jesus will never change. He cannot—for He is God and sits at the right hand of the Father.

Separate yet one. It is certainly a mystery.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The God of Winter

Now, anyone who knows me can affirm that I’m a summer girl. I relish the days of cool morning walks and warm afternoons. I love sliding into the day without essays and lesson plans, clutter and (sometimes) sassiness. I love planning trips, growing flowers, chatting with my children and grandkids, and hanging out with Jay. Summer is everything nice.

But, then there’s winter. I grew up in the northern Midwest, but somehow, I never acquired an appreciation for cold and snow—the drab and windswept days of winter. I thought myself clever when I’d stuff a pair of mittens and a hat in the top of my marching band Shako to pull out once in the stands to keep myself somewhat warm as we watched our high school football games.

I prefer winter to extend just through Christmas and then I’d be fine with warm sunny skies and tulips blooming in January. But, although I’ve traded the gray Midwestern skies for Colorado sunshine, winter tends to extend well into what ought to be spring. (Case in point, we had a snow day last year during May finals.)

I must, though, admit that winter gets a bad rap. Literature tends to equate winter with harshness, despair, and death. In the symbolism of the seasons, winter isn’t where most literary characters want to find themselves.

Yet, we do. At times in our life, we do find ourselves in winter regardless the temperature outside. Winter is where bad things happen. And, “there’s the rub” as Shakespeare would say. Who is this God of winter? Why can’t it be summer all the time? What happens when things go awry? Is anyone in control here? Is God sometimes sleeping as Thomas Hardy postulates in Tess of the d’Ubervilles?

The answer we, as Christians, know is no. But, just because there is purpose and design in suffering from small irritants to life-debilitating circumstances doesn’t make it easy to bear. It is true that I should look on the positive more often. It’s true that there is much to be grateful for. Yet, honestly, I don’t always live there. My first thoughts often are not thankfulness. Those are things I have to remind myself of. They do not come naturally for me. And, I’m guessing they don’t come naturally for most of us.

Perhaps that is the why? for winter—to realize that the God of winter is still God after all.