Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV)
This has been an usually cold winter for our area. High winds, rain and temperatures in the 40s (don’t snicker northern friends). The problem with cold in Florida is we don’t really have the cold weather gear that we need. The only real coat I have is a leather motorcycle jacket. It is very heavy in both thickness and weight, but it keeps me toasty warm. At least my upper half since it is cut so as not to interfere with riding. I add in a scarf to keep my neck warm, gloves for my hands, and a hat unless I am going somewhere that I care about how my hair looks. I wear the coat because I am cold, but I do not like it. It is confining and cumbersome particularly when I am driving. If I forget to strip it off before I sit down in the driver’s seat, I find my driving impaired. The coat pushes my neck forward and my shoulders rise at the effort of holding up the weight of the jacket. I feel like a turtle must feel, all scrunched up inside its shell, bearing the weight of its protection but off balance and unsteady. When I wear the jacket while driving, I become easily annoyed at drivers (mostly with northern license plates) who either have nowhere to go or don’t know where they are going. The other day, I left a meeting almost too late to join my parents for lunch on my mom’s birthday. My dad called to see where I was while I was negotiating heavy traffic. One particular stoplight, I waited through four changes of the light before I could move through the intersection. I did all my usual stress relieving techniques, breathed deeply, sighed loudly, clapped my hands, called the driver in front of me a name (not where he could hear), punched the steering wheel and yelled in frustration (my windows were all up). None of it helped. Nor did the feeling of my jacket weighing me down, making my neck ache and my back tense. I just wanted the road to clear so I could get out of the car and take off my coat. Then, in the midst of my hissy fit, I heard God say, “There are a lot of children without coats in this cold weather.” Yeah, there are. I know I have seen them locally as well as around the world. How they would appreciate this nice warm leather jacket. I stopped my complaining and forced myself to relax and think about the protection that heavy jacket gives me. Funny how my attitude changed when I went from complaining to being grateful. It didn’t change my circumstances. I was still going to be late. I was still stuck in at the stoplight. I was still wearing that uncomfortable coat, but I realized I had a lot to be thankful for. How about you? Anything you should be grateful for instead of annoyed with?