Gifts Hidden in the Heat

Photo by Jennifer Upton

Photo by Jennifer Upton

It is hot. So hot. And it is only going to get hotter.

Texas summers seem never-ending. Somehow, when August hits and kids go back to school and people start looking towards autumn, it feels like a cruel joke here. August is our hottest month. Most likely the arrival of September will only mean highs in the lower 90s rather than the 100s. If we’re lucky. Sometimes we get this one day freakish cool snap (8o degrees) and we all go rushing for our boots and cardigans only to find ourselves sweating bullets again the next day.

I’ve endured a lifetime of Texas summers. Every summer I swear it’s going to be the last one. (Oh, dear God, Texas will always be home, but please move me somewhere with 4 distinct seasons.)

There is an art to surviving the suffocating temperatures. You have no choice but to slow down. If you must be physically active, you do it early in the morning (because the heat stubbornly clings to the evening and the mosquitoes are vicious). Any other physical activity had best involve copious amounts of water. Air conditioning is not a luxury; it is a life necessity. Mostly you move as little as possible and you consume gallons of water.

You rest and you drink deep.

***

It is hot. So hot. And I am desperately praying it will not get any hotter.

It feels like my heart has been trapped in an eternal summer. A relentless desert. Well-meaning people say, “It’s just a season.” But that ship has sailed. Seasons last for months, not years. And the heat had intensified to the point I thought I would faint, but then a freakishly cool day came. Only to lead me back into sweltering heat, weary and disoriented and panting for water.

I have no choice but to slow down. So many things have been stripped away, so many others have been let go. It is necessary for survival, to move past the luxuries and decide what is life necessity. There are secrets to living through the heat.

Rest. Drink deep.

I still desperately long for this summer to be over. Many days, I really think I just cannot take anymore. But it turns out the secrets for survival are gifts too. The chance to embrace stillness, to say no, to do less, to focus on simply being. The chance to drink deep, to linger in the hard questions, to find what actually refreshes my soul, to pursue what will quench my heart’s thirst.

I will most likely need to remind myself again. But there is hope. For me. For you if you also face intense, never-ending heat. Let’s embrace the gifts hidden in the blazing summer.

Let’s rest. Let’s drink deep.

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Filed under Hope, Rest

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