Week of January 24, 2016
“Out with the old and in with the new!” This past week I did something I had not done in forty years: I bought a new pair of cross country skis! After many miles and much abuse, my old pair of wooden skis have been so beaten and battle-scared that they have begun to split in two. I guess it was time to do something new. I loved those old skis. Over the years, we have become quite good friends. We had been together through a great variety of Minnesota trails. We had seen some beautiful scenery, suffered through some sharp climbs, enjoy some fast descents, and I might add a few crashes as well! Thank God, no broken bones! Just a few sore butts. When you see your own model of ski hanging in a bar or pub displayed as antiques, I guess it’s time to hang them up once and for all!
At Fitzharris Ski Shop, the customer service guy asked me how long I had been cross country skiing. He asked this just to get a feel of my level of experience. It felt strange for me when I had to tell him I had been skiing, “Almost twenty years before you were born!” We just laughed. The new skis I bought are made out of this new “fancy-schmansy” high-tech fibers and plastics. (They had stop making the wood style years ago.) Gone are the days when you have to put a layer of tar on the base on your skis and then burn it into the wood with fire so the wax would stick. Although labor intensive, I enjoyed doing this. I always felt there was something spiritual about it, like the Fire of the Holy Spirit it takes to burn an impression into our soul so we can ski and travel far on a white cloud of snow. I was happy to see they still made these plastic skis that you wax so I could adjust my “stick and glide” with the conditions of the snow. I’ll say this much, these new skis do have their advantages! First of all they are faster and lighter. Second, no messy tar anymore. Third, the new ski shoes they make these days are much more comfortable and warm as well. No cold feet anymore! So, I guess the new way is better after all.
As I reflect on my whole experience, I realize there are times and situations in all our lives when we simply have to let go of the old. Not that the old was bad; it’s just that the new is different and takes an attitude adjustment on our part. Often times the new is better and there are very good reasons for it being so! If you or I want to continue to have a meaningful, purpose-driven life ‘down the trail,’ if we want to be able to still see those beautiful vistas and enjoy the thrill of an occasional downhill role, we must be able to allow the Holy Spirit to help us make those important decisions so we can grow. Here’s to a new generation of exciting and great trails! At my age now, however, you can bet I will be taking these new skis a bit slower on the hills and slopes!
Fr. LeRoy Scheierl