Today you could tell that summer was upon Phoenix. Not only have the temperatures consistently been over 100 for the past week (or a bit longer) but attendance and moods at church this morning reflected the summer season as well. Isn't it interesting how we as humans are affected by weather? Here in Phoenix it is almost as if people realize that once Memorial Day comes around, its survival mode in the low desert, or escape to the mountains, coast, or elsewhere out of the heat. We've been spoiled with amazing beautiful weather since October, particularly this spring. Now, its pool and air conditioning weather.
Other places in the United States have similar seasons. Oregon and Washington have the rainy season where they can go months with only spotty sunshine barely breaking through the clouds. When I lived in New York, late January through February was called the gloom period, because the skies were overcast (gray), the ground was barren or covered in old snow (gray), the buildings were gray and the uniforms were gray. There was no color, and people kind of just buckled down and got through this time. Winters in parts of the country can be so severe that people bundle up indoors, stocking up on supplies and their moods go stir-crazy. On a positive side, a sunny day in Phoenix, Chicago, Denver, or Atlanta with moderate temperatures brings people alive.
Weather impacts us and affects our moods. I'm sure there have been studies done on this, but I still find it interesting when you can tell that people are showing up for church or a movie and their are drained by the heat outside. Or that it is a crisp autumn day and suddenly everyone has just a little bit more pep in their step.
Yet, even though we are affected by weather, we cannot let it control us. We all get in moods induced by many different things. They are a part of who we are. But they are never truly an excuse for wrong actions. If I think to the situations that I have handled poorly with others, I can usually point to some form of emotion or mood that clouded my actions.
I may be short with others because rush hour was particularly bad.
Actually, after a long day of work I may get very irritated at that very rush hour and express my displeasure (at least to myself)!
We may be down and not want to talk to others, even if they are in need.
Its not that such actions are wrong. Simply that we need to be aware of them and catch them. We need to bring every thought captive. This is easy to do when in a rational, calm state. But when we are hot, sticky, and sweating fifteen people back in a line outside a concert venue in the middle of the summer, its not so easy, huh?
I think we have the possibility of doing this, of having self-control, patience, kindness, etc. Of focusing on whatever is noble, true, or right even in the midst of an emotional roller-coaster.
In fact, I think part of this is the point of integrity, or honor. That we remain true to our core convictions even in the midst of shifting sand, or stormy seas (pick your metaphor!).
Truly, I am not perfect at this. In fact, I think I needed to write this simply because I'm a bit bored and annoyed at the ending of the weekend and the inevitable shrilling beep of the Monday morning alarm clock.
My vow for tonight is not to demolish that alarm clock for reminding me of the challenge of the day's Phoenix heat.