Roller coaster of life and weather

By Gerry Lewis | Published Wednesday, April 11, 2018

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How about this crazy Texas springtime weather? I saw a post on Facebook over the weekend that said, “I know the calendar says it’s April, but it’s really January 93rd.”

Only in Texas can you have 80 degrees one afternoon and 26 degrees the next morning. Sometimes you can even have it in the same day.

It’s no wonder we have trouble staying healthy. Not only do we have those temperature swings, but allergy sufferers can’t get a break. The north wind blows some nasty pollen through. A day or two later, a south wind sends the same pollen back. It’s like a long ping pong match, and we are the battered and sneezing net in the middle.

But I’m not bitter.

I’ve struggled a lot with allergies this spring, but today I’m actually sick. My throat started getting a little scratchy yesterday afternoon and by the time I went to bed, it hurt so much to swallow that I couldn’t sleep. So, if this post seems a little more incoherent than usual, that’s the excuse I’m using.

Fortunately, I already had an appointment with my primary care physician today. It was supposed to be my annual check-up where he tells me how great I look. (It’s important to have a doctor who is older than you – or at least AS old as you – if at all possible, so his expectations are lower for how you’re supposed to look). Now, I guess he’ll tell me I look sick and tired. And he’ll get paid for that observation.

All this has got me pondering a bit this morning. Shocking, right? Remember that paragraph that started with “Only in Texas ?” I’m pretty sure they have big temperature swings in other states. But we – humans, not Texans (though some people from other states might make the accusation about us) – are pretty self-centered. It is really easy to imagine that the things that happen to us only happen to us, or at the very least, they happen more severely to us.

Self-awareness is not a bad thing. Lack of awareness of others is where the problems come in. If we are too wrapped up in our own stuff to the neglect of others, we miss some of the best opportunities that are available to us as residents of this planet. We play way too much “can you top this” and, as a result, we eschew the privileges and responsibilities of making significant contributions.

Another thing I want to remember is that we live in a world that has things like pollen, germs, carcinogens, mental illness, homelessness, financial crises, conflict and a ton of other dangers and uncertainties. There is only so much we can do to avoid those things. Our energies are not well spent worrying about things over which we have no control and little influence.

The truth is that life is a roller coaster ride filled with highs, lows, sudden turns, jerks and drops. We can come to the fatalistic conclusion that none of it matters or embrace the ride knowing our lives matter to God and He is developing enduring character in us.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4).

All aboard! (You might want to pack a sweater).

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association in Decatur.

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