Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Frigidly cold weather makes me grumpy!

I am so serious about that title. I HATE to be cold. And we are in the middle of a big chill here in the Midwest. I am writing this curled up under a big quilt. I just got home about an hour ago from my oldest son's Montessori Elementary Winter Program. It was really cool. The Elementary 1 class (1st-3rd graders) presented "A Ride Through the Eras." Each child had a small speaking part and took on the role of a different part of one of the eras of time. My son was a jawless fish from the Paleozoic Era. He did a great job. We were so proud of him. The Elementary 2 class (4th and 5th graders) gave an completely amazing program about the parts of a human body cell.

When we returned to our van following the program, it was so cold that all I could think about was how miserable I felt. My hands were so cold they hurt, even inside my very warm mittens. I was just plain cold and I didn't like it one bit. Of course our van warmed up on the drive home (we have about a 40 minute commute one-way to his school), and as I warmed up physically, I tried to warm up mentally to being cold. Does that make sense? What I mean is I tried to force myself to think about the "good" part of being so cold.

It wasn't until I was home and had put both boys to bed that I started to understand a potential benefit of being uncomfortably cold, at least in a figurative sense. I asked myself why I hate being cold so much. I instantly realized it is the discomfort of it that I dislike. It just feels so much better to be cozy and warm. And as cliche as it may sound, I realized that without the contrast of cozy versus cold, there would be no appreciation for the comfort of coziness. And then it dawned on me that in life our best learning opportunities occur not when things are cozy and comfortable, but when we are forced into the discomfort that lies outside our comfort zone. As a Christian, I think that God's wish is for us to draw closer to him in times of discomfort. Just as a cold and weary traveler yearns for and seeks the light and warmth of a fire, so we must yearn for and seek the light of God in our lives. The next time I feel irritably cold, I am going to try to remember to turn towards the light and place my inner focus on God. In the meantime, I'm keeping the quilt pulled up!!

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