By Rev. Tony Marciano
Why do I hear this in July because it is “so” not correct? The temperature is 105 degrees. The AC won’t work hard enough to keep us cool. There is only so much sweet tea you can drink to cool off. When you jump in the pool, it’s as warm as bath water. It’s so warm, you get out just to cool off. Then someone looks at you and says these famous words: “I prefer winter. At least when it is cold, you can add layers to keep you warm. How many layers can you take off in the summer to get cool? Give me winter any day.”
That is not correct. Do you remember Jan. 2? Do you remember returning to work after your Christmas break and the air was 17 degrees when you stepped outside your door? When you got to the office, it was cold because the heating system wasn’t designed for 17-degree weather. You had an early morning meeting with your boss. You wanted to wear your overcoat. How could you wear an overcoat and look like you just walked out of the frozen tundra? Well, you did walk out of the frozen tundra. It was 17 degrees outside. How is that layering working for you now? Are you warm? Are you comfortable?
We will forget this cold snap in six months. We will forget how cold we were. We will complain about the heat the same way we are complaining about the cold. Don’t tell me in July that you can layer up in the winter to stay warm. It doesn’t work.
I think it is too easy in life to forget. I watch young couples get married. They are smitten as they gaze into each other’s eyes. Then the reality of marriage hits and the wonder of it is lost in the many to do’s of being an adult. I watch young parents take home their first child. There is that same wonder as they look at this gift of another human being they have been given. Then that child reaches age 2 and learns to say “No.”
I forget when I face the challenges of life. To remind me, let me take you back years ago to the days of the “Jesus movement” in the early 1970s. I had been going to a Christian coffeehouse every Sunday. One week I prayed I would become a Christian the following Sunday.
That Sunday came and I was scared to death to attend. I remember being in the bathroom and telling God I wasn’t going. Then I made a deal with him. The deal was if my friend Peter rang the bell I would go. The “amen” barely came out of my mouth and the bell rang. It was Peter.
That night we went to the coffee house. There was an altar call. I asked Peter if he was going forward. He said “No.” I did. A guy with blonde hair down to his elbows and an electric guitar strapped around his neck walked me through the Billy Graham booklet, “Steps to Peace with God.” I prayed and Jesus came into my life.
Peter left early. He never came to my door again to ask me if I was going. In fact, our paths never crossed for the rest of our lives. Yet he only lived a few doors away.
I almost forgot the wonder of that night, and all that occurred. For me, it was a life-changing moment.
This summer, when you see me, don’t tell me you prefer the winter. I’ll straighten you out – you forgot.
I’ll be back soon. Until then, live well my friend.
The Rev. Tony Marciano is the executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission.