Are you dealing with claustrophobic spiritual distress?

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Rev. Walter Klockers

Yes, there are things I enjoy about winter. For example, I love Christmas. It is not just a day but a season that lasts for twelve days. This gives me an excuse to leave our Christmas tree up a while longer, and I can avoid being called lazy for not taking it down at the end of December. Why not take more time to enjoy all those lights and decorations, right?

Then there’s the magic of snow. I’ve always loved snow. I was raised on the west side of the state, in Port Townsend, on the Olympic Peninsula. Some winters we would not get snow at all. Usually, we might have an inch or two. Growing up, the first snowfall would always make me smile. It was truly magical, and never failed to lift my spirits.

Our son Benjamin has his birthday on Nov. 25. On Benjamin’s last birthday, he had a special wish for his special day. He wanted snow and he got what he wanted.

The problem is that Benjamin is now unable to turn it off. For this we are truly sorry.

I will tell you, I have now lost that magical, wonderful feeling about snow. I know that hate is such a strong word but I have grown to hate it.

There have been a few days of late that I found it necessary to stay home because of the weather. On those days, I may get cabin fever.

Do you experience this sort of thing? It drives me up the wall. I feel trapped.

Recently, on one of those days, I decided to do something positive with my claustrophobic distress. I rearranged the furniture in the living room – couches, chairs, TV, plants. Everything but the piano was moved to a new location. I must say, the end product looks pretty good.

Fortunately, upon inspection, Jeanne also approved. So I’m in the clear. I would not want to return everything to the way it was.

There may be times that we have claustrophobic distress in our spiritual lives, experienced as a boxed in feeling that lacks the satisfaction of growth.

If so, is it time to use your energies to reorder things? Is it time to take the gifts that God has given you and apply them in new ways?

Pray for discernment and guidance in this process. Do try out something new. Feel free to rearrange.

Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.

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