Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Confessions of a Weather Wimp

Yes, it's true. I may as well just ‘fess up right now. What ruined me forever was living in Nairobi where the weather is warm (but not horribly hot) and sunny (but not blazingly bright) with clear, blue skies pretty much all year round. And you know how it is. After experiencing the ideal -- say, getting bumped up to first class on an international flight -- flying economy (or, in this case, living with cantankerous weather) is just never the same after that. Chalk it up to growing up in Flint, Michigan, where the weather is wretched nearly half of the year, but gray skies and cold temperatures are a sure way to spell d-e-p-r-e-s-s-i-o-n in my book.

So when we moved here, I fully expected to dislike the weather. England is infamous for dismal temperatures and lots of rain. Not wanting to dwell on the negative, though, I told myself to just ignore it and go about life as if the weather isn’t a factor. Focus on the vibrant energy of daily life with Jack and Sophie. Think about all the green things growing here (actually, that’s easy to do after living in sun-scorched Cyprus). I even vowed to myself never to mention the weather in communicating about our adjustment to living here. (Aha! Never say never…)

And then I wrote about the Bank Holiday and my disappointment about 90% chance of rain. So the embarrassing secret is out: My moods and outlook on life in general are all too easily affected by the weather. Sigh. That’s what I get for trying so hard to Keep It Together and polish this rusty façade of Appearing Perfect. (As if anyone was buying that, anyway!)

Weather-wise, our Bank Holiday Monday was typically schizophrenic. We woke up to pouring-down rain and strong winds. It was so cold in the house that we turned the heat back on for the first time in over a month and had grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for lunch. But by 4 p.m. the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the air was warm. And somewhere in between, Sophie started walking! That’s right, nearly a month after her first steps, yesterday was the day my dear little girl decided to Get Up and Walk.

Looking back on it, I was so focused on the weather that I was unprepared for the day’s main event. It absolutely caught me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting anything half so joyous, so funny, so delightful for our entire family. But there we all were, inside the house on a public holiday and hanging out together when Sophie started toddling around. For a family who spends many, many days apart while Matt travels, it was quite a gift.

Once again I’ve learned a lesson about what’s Real and what only feels that way. How many times does it take, though, before it sticks? Will I remember to look past the weather (or whatever trivial thing I’m fixated on at the moment) to what truly matters? Will I let go of what is meaningless in exhange for a chance to see the Big Picture and make the most of Right Now? This is hard enough as a woman, a wife and a mother. But what about as a Christian? Will I choose to put aside my shallow hopes, meager expectations and limited perceptions and focus instead on what God says is most significant, namely people -- their feelings, their circumstances, their needs -- and to see them through God's eyes, taking every opportunity to point them toward Truth? This is what it means to live wisely and with maturity, filled and led by the Spirit. This is what I continue to pray toward.

My inability to make it happen on my own is why I'm constantly amazed and inspired by His grace.

* * * * * * *
"A person's character cannot be washed away by the rain." (Liberian proverb)

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” (Isaiah 55:8 NLT)

You changed my sorrow into dancing. You took away my clothes of sadness and clothed me in happiness. (Psalm 30:11 NCV)

And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan... Pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for Him, as I should. (Ephesians 6:19, 20 NLT)


Sue said...

Amen sister! How often we find ourselves in the same boat. But may we continue to encourage and challenge one another to look for so much more...the signs of life that constantly surround us (yes, even on the cloudy, rainy days!) Blessings Laura. Love reading your blog!

Sue Reber :-)
(p.s. it's raining here in Michigan today...but it's ok!)

Anonymous said...

hey Laura,
I love reading your updates on Elijah and your family. Post some pics...I'd love to see your growing to-tos. Miss you.
Kelly LeBlanc

Laura Jones said...

Thanks, Kelly! I miss you, too. I'll get some pics of the kiddos up soon. I wish all of you from RVA days could see them in person -- they are tamu sana! A big hug to you today!