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Friday, Mar. 7, 2014
Cold BloodedPosted Friday, February 5, 2010, at 11:57 PM
We've recently been enjoying the best winter we've had in many years.
By my standards a good winter isn't based upon snow fall amount or the lowest temperature possible. Rather, the best winter is based upon the number of consecutive days the temperature is below freezing.
At first I would watch as everyone wore layer upon layer of clothing in order to stay warm. Then, day by day I would observe people relaxing their apparel requirements. Some would walk through the snow while only wearing one coat and hat. I saw people no longer wearing gloves. Then I started watching people of all ages walk around with just sweaters on, especially if they were going from building to nearby building.
At the local Kroger I saw customers rushing in without any special clothing. Employees collected shopping carts wearing short-sleeved shirts.
Yesterday I saw four people wearing sandals while walking through the snow.
I've come to believe that the citizens of Putnam County are simply adjusting to the weather. The cold is no longer "cold" or as cold to us. Maybe after a few weeks of this wonderful winter weather our skins have become thicker. We've adjusted to it. And, we no longer are recognizing the dangers of it which can include frostbite and hypothermia, among other things. We think ourselves immune to it but can't understand why so many people are suffering from colds.
One of my favorite life lessons was taught to me in a biology class in High School. Our sadistic teacher gave us live frogs, friendly little creatures that simply wanted to jump around and eat flies.
Placed in containers with water and lids and thermometers, each "home" was then positioned on heating units. Degree by degree the heat rose without the frogs being aware of what was evidentially going to happen. Being cold blooded creatures, they adapted to the increasing heat until it was too late for them.
I haven't been able to eat frog legs since that day in biology class.
But I've learned a vital lesson. Adjusting to what is going on around us is an important part of survival. Yet, sometimes we simply need to pause, remind ourselves of the realities we face, and plan accordingly. Seems to me that many of us have been doing too much adjusting in days of late without thought of the eventual consequences. We thought we were adjusting, adapting, tolerating, or even beyond the reach of what has now come to be boiling points in our lives and in our culture.
Take any of the current "crisis" matters we face: Credit, home mortgages, obesity, lung cancer from smoking, etc. In earlier days we would have listened to wise folks telling us how to stay out of the "hot water." We stopped listening and got ourselves into a mess.
The list can go on a long time: Divorce, depression, spiritual malaise, abuse ...
We human beings are not cold blooded! We have a "normal range" we've simply gone beyond. Perhaps its time for us to re-evaluate, get out of the heat we've created, and get beyond the messes we've created.
Figuring out that we need to do is the easy part. Finding ways to successfully do so is the challenge.
I believe we're up to it!
P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.