And, may I begin by saying IT IS HOT OUT!! Uffda!
For a lot of people, the subject of “the weather” can be a natural topic of conversation. But, even though I work for a farming foundation, and am aware of the impact weather conditions have on the business of agriculture, the subject of “the weather” as a topic of everyday conversation is not typical for me. But, I’ll tell you what, when it’s as hot as it is today, and has been for quite some time, even I can’t help but bringing it up as one of the first points of discussion as I encounter people throughout my day.
I guess one reason I don’t dwell on the weather is because I look at the weather as “it is what it is” and I guess I generally don’t give a lot of thought to things that “just are” and there’s nothing anyone can really do about it.
But, in these hot days, and when the heat is impacting more than just my comfort – we are experiencing a drought here in Southeast Iowa – it causes me to give it more than just a passing thought.
Today the heat has made me think of people who live in this kind of extreme heat most days, and who have little to no relief from it. Particularly I started thinking of a trip I was able to make a few years ago to the Dominican Republic. It was a mission trip that I took with the organization World Servants. We worked along side residents of a small village to help in the construction of part of a school/church building. And, as I recall, it was HOT. And, there was no air conditioning in which we could find relief from the heat. Not only that but we were there to work, so we couldn’t just put off our jobs for a few days until the weather turned cooler, which, who knows when that would have happened. And so we worked, and sweat profusely, in the heat.
What that experience really helped me to understand is just how much we take for granted, living in the Midwest, how much more work we are able to accomplish living where we do simply because the heat isn’t so oppressive for quite as long as it is in other parts of our world, or even other parts of our own country.
My sister lives in Orlando, FL and she once told me that the approach residents take to the heat of summer in Florida is like how we approach frigid temps of winter in the Midwest. She said, “you run from air conditioned building to air conditioned building or you stay in the pool”, in much the same way we run from heated building to heated building in the winter.
Working outside on a beautiful day is a pleasure. Working outside in the kind of heat we have been experiencing is miserable at best, and can even be dangerous. I think sometimes we forget that when we see pictures of people in warmer climates simply sitting under the shade of a tree. We might tend to think, “surely they could get up and do some work.” But, it’s not always easy when you’re battling the heat and there’s no where to go to find relief, even at the end of the day, which even most of us have if we do have to be outdoors on days that are this hot.
What’s my main point today? Is it really just the weather? No. It’s a challenge for us to consider how much more taxing we might find physical labor to be if we had to be doing it in these conditions day in and day out. As we live our lives, and as we try to seek ways to help those less fortunate than ourselves, we need to look at every aspect of a person’s circumstance in trying to figure out why they are experiencing the struggles they are. And, on a day like today, I am reminded that oftentimes we can point to things that are beyond everyone’s control – like the heat!!
Try to stay cool, my friends!