The sun shone like a little clementine orange in the sky. A gentle breeze in the air felt as if the clouds were blowing me a kiss. At nearly 70 degrees, the temperature was perfect for sitting outside at a café with my wife while we were on our date.
Was it mid-May or June? Nope. It was two days ago, December 14th… in Rochester, NY!
If you aren’t from this town, it’s tough to appreciate just how rare that type of event is. Even stranger, November and December have both been marked by a stretch of warm days with hardly any snow. My shovel is getting lonely but I am content to leave him in isolation for as long as I possibly can.
My distain for winter is no surprise to the people who know me. The older I get, the more I loathe the cold! As a matter of fact, I develop an entirely different personality in the winter. He’s not a ton of fun to be around (imagine a David Banner/ Hulk situation). We call him “Winter John”.
Winter John hung around for several months last year. It was bitterly cold for long periods of time. The sun rarely made an appearance. I forgot what it was like to feel the sensation of warmth. This year, I braced myself for Winter John with steely resolve. His violent takeover is always a shock to the system. As of right now, he has been kept at bay.
This stretch of nice weather has got me thinking about a couple of things.
First of all, I realize my hesitancy to live in the moment and enjoy each day for what it is. When things are going well, one of my first thoughts is always, “When is the other shoe going to drop?” While I know that January and February still hold the possibility of tortuous temperatures, I don’t want to let that keep me from soaking up every ounce of warmth I can. It’s the same in life. When I shut off my ability to feel pain, I also eliminate my ability to experience true joy.
Second, the weather is a constant reminder of another reality. Ultimately, I am not in control of the events around me. As the wise poet Vanessa Williams once said, “Sometimes the snow comes down in June”. I have no control over the wind, the temperature, the jet stream or el nino (heck! I don’t even have control of my ninos). There are times when everything seems great, then tragedy hits. Similarly, there are moments when I brace for something terrible and joy shows up instead. That doesn’t mean that I am powerless. I am still able to decide how I will respond to life.
My prayer is that I will have the courage to face each day on it’s own. This means mourning during the harsh days but also celebrating when the temperature hits 70.