In the winter, the sun can be deceiving. Some days when the thermometer is at its lowest, way past zero, everything will be bathed in brilliant light. You can look out the window, and it will appear as if it’s warm.
I was in the bank, and one of the tellers looked longingly out the window. Like she was missing a day at the beach.
“Oh, look,” she said. “The sun is so pretty. It looks nice out there. Is it?”
Both of my hands had the beginning of frostbite just from the short walk from the car. I was astonished at her question because this lady has worked there for a really long time. If she had just flown in from Tahiti, this inquiry would not have been surprising. It’s just a well known fact that the most bitter of weather is accompanied by sunlight here.
“I want you to imagine crawling into your refrigerator, and the tiny light bulb is the sun. It’s like that outside.”
“So, it’s cold then?”
“You aren’t missing out on anything,” I said, trying to have enough feeling in my fingers to sign my name.
If you have to drive somewhere, it’s necessary to have sunglasses unless you don’t value your retinas.
The challenge on days such as this is how to get your windshield clean. Subzero weather causes the fluid to freeze instantly. So at times, you just have to wing it until you can deal with it later. In fact, your entire car can look like you went off-roading because of the salt and the sand that is put down.
You are in good company in traffic, though. Every vehicle looks the same, its original color muted and encrusted with a white ash, chalky like coating.
You really do not want to brush up against that. If so, your clothes look like you just came out of a fireplace. That white jacket that you just had to have will be in the wash every other day with a heavy dose of a whitening agent. The minute you dare step outside with it on, all the dirt in the world jumps on you.
One time, I couldn’t figure out why my steering wheel seemed to have a mind of its own. It wanted to keep veering me off to the right for some reason. I fought with it until I pulled into a parking lot.
My wheel wells were full of thick, heavy snow that was stopping my tires from working correctly. I had to kick it all off. From experience, if you let that sit long enough so it freezes and you go to use your foot to remove it, it’s like stubbing all your toes against a brick wall. You learn as you go.
So you would think there would be nothing new until there is.
I got into my car on a frigid morning, after an overnight temperature of thirty below. We have lived through a polar vortex, so while that might seem unreal to some, we don’t bat an eyelash. You can’t. They are frozen solid.
I pulled out into the street and put on my sunglasses because squinting leads to deeper crease lines and wrinkles which is the gateway to more purchases of anti-aging lotion.
While I was sitting at the light, I heard a weird cracking sound underneath my left eye. That’s when the entire lens fell into my lap. The cold air and the heat blowing at full blast onto my face had created a situation that had caused the plastic to split apart. Similar to putting an ice-cold object into a hot oven. The two extremes don’t mix well.
I examined them and saw the small but fatal crack. It didn’t seem fair to let one of my eyes be shielded while the other would take the brunt of it all. That’s what happens when you raise two kids. You apply it to all aspects of your life forever.
I had to forgo the shades, and I struggled to see the road, but I didn’t have that far to go.
The next few days were cloudy, so I forgot about not seeing until, on a Sunday afternoon, I found myself driving directly into a highly blinding sunset. With my windshield filthy, it was nearly impossible to detect where I was going. I tried to clear it, but it froze, which I then had to defrost. This caused a fog that didn’t help either.
To add to the challenge, I was going somewhere new and not close to home. I was listening to the directions being read to me.
I had this verse pop into my mind:
You walk by faith, not by sight.
No kidding. What about driving?
I made it to my destination, where I stayed until after dark with no glaring orange orb to fight with on the way back.
My sunglasses are an item so mundane, but they play a significant role in my ability to function. I don’t think many of us realize how important something is until it’s no longer available. We take it for granted. It’s always going to be at our fingertips until it falls apart, sometimes right before our eyes. Or on our face.
It gets me to think about what else I don’t give enough credit to. Hand soap, for example. Hand sanitizer. What if that was unavailable or paper products or over-the-counter medicines? What if toilet paper suddenly disappeared from every store shelf because people started hoarding it for no good reason?
Crazy, to think of, I know. Like that’s going to happen.
I can replace what has been damaged, so that’s a good thing. Other times, you just have to learn to go without.
Driving with my vision obstructed was not easy, and I found myself instantly asking God to guide me. Cars were zipping all around even while I was going the speed limit. So while it was slightly scary, I felt that familiar sense of protection encompassing my car.
There was no need to panic but to trust that everything would be okay. God has promised us a helper who is always available to send assistance no matter what occurs. It can be applied to any circumstance. In John 16:13, it says,
But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. (Message)
There isn’t anything that is beyond heaven’s help if we allow it. If you ask, even if it’s the most complicated request ever, there will be a response that will be given.
A highly respected spiritual leader said that her one and only prayer in the morning is this:
The rest of her time with God is gratitude. She doesn’t go through a long list of requests but feels that this is all that is needed for heaven to send what is required.
She has embraced Psalm 139:4 that says,
God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me, and you’re there, then up ahead, and you’re there, too, your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful—I can’t take it all in! (Message)
Sometimes you find exactly what you need when you pay attention to and apply what is simple.