Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)
I sit in my third-floor condo unit in an unprecedented heat wave. In Seattle, we are having record-breaking temperatures with one day topping out at 108 degrees. It is hot. It is so hot that some businesses have closed for the safety of employees. We are not widely equipped with air-conditioners in individual homes and small businesses. Usually, business related closures due to weather comes with snow because we are also not widely equipped with snowplows. Let us be real. It rains here. If we have a few days in the low 90s over the summer there is a lot of complaining and people go flooding to rivers, lakes and streams, malls, and movie theaters to get relief. This weather is extreme. It is dangerous and it is testing us.
The heat is stifling. Most of the time in the summer, my condo is warmer than the outside air. So, opening some windows and letting a breeze come through usually keeps things reasonable. That is not the case this week. My windows have been closed and drapes drawn until well past midnight. Keeping comfortable and functional has been a challenge. I have used frozen wash clothes, refrigerated water in a spray bottle, and fans. I have even taken a few drives to nowhere just to enjoy my cars air-conditioning. And of course, hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate. I am managing, but this weather is testing me.
This test is also a gift; an opportunity to reflect on gratitude. I find myself grateful for the things that I, like so many others, take for granted. I am grateful for cool running water that flows in abundance. I am grateful for consistent electricity that allows me to have refrigeration, make ice and keep the fans blowing. I am grateful for my home that does provide some respite from the excessive heat. I am grateful to know that this is temporary, as it will be cooling down very soon. I know that that there are many in this country and around the world that do not have access to these basics that are the norm in my life.
I guess I could have spent my mental and spiritual bandwidth regretting and lamenting my lack of a functional air-conditioner. There were a few moments were those thoughts dripped like sweat from my mind. But each time, my heart settled back to gratitude flowing like the water from my faucet and blowing like the breeze from my fan. I am grateful to God for helping me focus my mind and heart on gratitude.
Karla Koon is a Worship Leader and Eucharistic Minister at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, in the Greenlake neighborhood of Seattle. When not serving at church or working as the Director of HR Operations and Administration for Catholic Community Services of Western Washington (Catholic Charities), you can find Karla, reading, quilting, golfing, hiking, kayaking, and gathering with friends and family.