It’s raining and overcast and cool here in Chicagoland today. It’s about 50 degrees, which is below average for this time of year, although, that is to be expected since we hit 80 last week, well above the average.
Isn’t that what an average is? Some days are higher, some days are lower… but it all averages out.
So what does the Chicagoland weather have to do with anything?
“The Weather as a Terrorist”
If you listen to any meteorologist or Chicago native discuss the weather, you’d think that the weather was a terrorist organization. In the winter we have vicious cold snaps and brutal winter storms. Truth be told, the winter of 2010 was pretty mild, but you wouldn’t know that listening to the news promos and conversation around the water cooler. I’ve totally fallen prey to the “Weather as a Terrorist” mentality, often heaving reluctant sighs as I bundled up to go out into the cold. And in the summer, we have blistering heat and suffocating humidity. In the spring and fall, we have floods of epic proportions and hail the size of off-road dump trucks. But an even worse offense than “violent” weather patterns is when the weather is just about 5-10 degrees too cool or too warm. Oh, the hand wringing and sobbing that happens on the radio and in offices around the city – how could the weather be so cruel as to be BELOW average!
I actually had a conversation with an older woman that helped put me in a more accurate perspective. I was lamenting about how rainy it has been and she said, “Well, we need it!” And then I remembered that the weather was not just about me and my immediate comfort, but about a whole world that needs seasons, rain, snow storms, and heat. There are sweet little daisies that are ecstatic to get watered and happy little ducks paddling in the full ponds.
I look at God like the weather sometimes. In the winter, I forget about the lovely warm sunny summer days and I wonder, angrily gripping my steering wheel, if it will EVER get warm again. I think that’s how I sometimes go through the trials of this life: wondering if things will EVER get better.
And I can’t help but wonder at myself. Life is full of seasons and cycles and weather. Sometimes I get into a particularly bad pattern of weather (like now), but unless I lived in Antarctica (and I clearly do not), it’s bound to hit 70 again in the next 365 days. It is this attitude that I have (and many others have) that explains why God gave us the desire to write down stories. And not just Pollyanna/sunshine stories, but the stories about times where life SUCKED. Nearly every single life situation, featuring both suffering and joy, is documented in the Bible. And guess what? Sometimes the forecast calls for more “suckage” before it gets better.
The Small Rudder on the Big Ship
So even if you probably wouldn’t have thought much about the weather (unless it was particularly good or particularly bad), we TALK about the weather so much, it’s unavoidable. “Crappy day outside, hey?” “Yah, bummer, hey?” “Yah.” (I miss Wisconsin!)
What I say about the weather impacts how I feel about the weather, in the same way that what I say about my situation often impacts how I feel about it. I know, for those of you who THINK before you SPEAK, this probably doesn’t apply to you. Since I often think out loud, this is totally appropriate. Just a simple change of my attitude, changes my perspective.