The sleet and snow started falling less than 24 hours after our arrival. It never fell heavily, but it continued its light dusting all through Sunday and Monday.
By Sunday afternoon, the kids had built a snowman. He lived for days, even after we’d gone home (text pictures would arrive informing us of his status).
They begged to go out, this being their first experience with snow, so we bundled up and headed out front. Snowball fights ensued as I shivered.
Alright, let’s go in for hot cocoa and thaw out, I announced after about 20 minutes. We’d repeat that pattern a few times each day.
I’ve always said I prefer the cold to the heat. Houston summers are brutal and around August I’m always announcing how I wished we lived further north. I can stand the snow because you can always put more clothes on, but this heat, ugh!
Turns out, I’m a wuss in the cold too.
I have lived in cold climates, but it’s been a long time and apparently I’ve romanticized it.
I’m lying to myself thinking I’d prefer frigid winters to blistering summers.
Turns out, I’ve been lying to myself more than I realized lately. Thinking about my misperception of weather awakened me to this unfortunate truth.
I moved around a lot as a child. So I tell myself I would love to move around now. I say I’d be willing to up and move to another state or another country for my career. It would be fun! It would be a great experience for the kids! I’m a wanderlust.
See, I can say all those things because my husband needs to be close to his farm and ranch, so as long as I want to stay married, and I really do, I’m not moving far. Heck, we can’t even bring ourselves to leave the neighborhood.
I can tell myself the wanderlust lie because it’s safe. No one is going to call me on it because my life circumstances won’t require me to uproot our lives.
I’ve had a deep sense of loss and frustration over the plight of modern day refugees – from the women who have escaped Boko Haram living in overcapacity refugee camps on the border of Nigeria and Chad to the families who have been torn apart by the persecution from ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
I want to help. I want to find something to do. If I can’t get over to Nigeria, then surely I can support them somehow here. I’m part of a small group in our church trying to find ways to provide partnerships and support where it is needed. Yet, in the face of global and local terror, I’m suspicious and unnerved. I see security guards conferring at the back of my church sanctuary and I move the kids further into the body of the room and think through how I would protect them if a gunman arrived. I worry about the young man overstaying his time in the airplane bathroom lest an attack be imminent.
I can tell myself the “I have deep compassion for all people from all cultures” lie because I’m extending support in selective ways from the safety of my upper middle class neighborhood without laying down my preconceived ideas.
There are more.
They aren’t big lies but some of these small lies are possibly more insidious.
They allow you to give yourself a pass when you should be doing more. They allow you to remain safe instead of stretching yourself and growing and moving out into the places you are truly called but too scared to go. They allow you to give yourself labels you need for validation or unnecessarily pat yourself on the back.
How are we supposed to love? To live? Not in word, but in deed and in truth. (I John 3:18) Truth sets us free to live into our calling. (John 8:32)
Whether or not I’m a weather wimp probably isn’t important. But the practice of living truth and speaking truth to myself, and others, is the only way to make the wisest, best, and bravest choices in life.