This morning it was in the upper 40’s and it was cold. Cold enough to wear a jacket! Just two days ago it was 97 degrees and humidity was over the top miserable.
Coming down off of mid-life I have had several revelations of late. One of those involves this ‘cold’ weather in the upper 40’s with overcast skies of the darker, heavier thin altocumulus type. While attending school at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas I disliked the intense heat of the summer.
One summer I traveled with an International Campaign group to Germany and Austria and I was overwhelmed by the coolness of the evenings in the middle of summer…I loved it! And so, from then on I have associated cool snaps in the summer time with Europe wherever we have lived in the south: Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Louisiana.
It was only this year that I realized that my love for the cool evenings in Europe had its origins in my childhood days in Michigan, much like we are experiencing today. The high was in the 60’s with a low in the 40’s, the skies were overcast and mowing the grass was almost…almost…an enjoyable activity. Growing up with this kind of weather led me to appreciate it in other locales to the point that I forgot about those early experiences. Nonetheless, I longed for them.
Then the trips to Europe and Scandinavia became associated with cool nights and warm afternoons. And then it hit me, after 54 years: the reason I love the weather in Europe is because I love the weather in Michigan.
Which reminds me of one of life’s great lessons. Many of our attitudes, perceptions and values are shaped by times, places and people long forgotten or far away. One of the great tragedies of life is the unexamined life. Moving from one life event, family life cycle or crisis to another without contemplating how I deal with things and why leaves me rediscovering deja vu experiences without understanding why or how I got there. But, perhaps one of the greatest tragedies is the unexamined faith is when we accept what we accept because we accept it without considering its basis in reality. To live life with Christ without verifying, modifying or dispelling my beliefs…essentially, testing them, is to miss out on the adventure and to terminate the depth of understanding that comes with the life examined and tested.
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed” (1 Cor. 13:5-7).