Baby, It’s Cold OutsidePosted: January 3, 2014
I can’t tell you what happened – maybe pigs have started to fly, maybe Tim Tebow met a TV camera he didn’t like or maybe Congress did something right – all I know is after years of threatening – it feels like hell has finally frozen over.
I’m one of those people who would rather be overly hot than terribly cold. 102 with humidity is stifling, oppressive and sweaty. 24 degrees – hurts. I can’t say I get comfortable in the hot summer sun, but I get used to it. I never get used to being cold. From the minute I go outside to the moment I sink into my recliner in my well heated home, I am miserable. When I’m cold, I never stop being miserable and I never quit complaining. No matter how much gratitude I have to be in a house, with a heater, drinking hot cider – I’m complaining. No matter how much zazen I sit, allowing my mind to find a positive or neutral spot to rest – I’m complaining (“Geeez! Even my cushion is cold!”). No matter how many people assure me that my vital organs are not growing icicles – I’m complaining.
Complaining makes me warmer or at least less helpless in my frozen state. Now, I know the therapists and pastoral counselors all tell us that when someone complains they aren’t really expecting you to fix their problem. They just want someone to listen. People, that’s crap. I WANT YOU TO MAKE IT WARMER! But, if you can’t – then be patient and drink my whine like bitter merlot harvested from grapes that were frostbit on the vine.
The only thing I like about the cold is the way online weather reports it.
Temperature 24 degrees: Feels like: 6
Wind 5 – 10 Mph: Gust of 34.
The online weather has a way of cutting through the vague comfort of numbers and tells us exactly how it feels. I have often thought it would be wonderful if people came with meters like the weather.
- Looks: Professionally dressed and accomplished. Feels like: Crap.
- Attitude: Friendly with a bit of an edge: Gusts of tirade.
Wouldn’t it help if you saw that on my office door? It would certainly help me if people took my inner world into consideration before blasting me with their issues, ideas or jokes. If I had one of those signs, no one would come strolling into my space and ask one of the three worst questions known to human kind:
- Can I ask you a question?
- Are you busy?
- Am I bothering you?
For the record:
- You just did, now go away.
- If I wasn’t busy I’d be in a hammock in the Bahamas
- If you have to ask….
The truth is – we all have an inner world, even those of us who don’t let it bubble to the surface every time the temperature gets below freezing. Wise are we when we remember that. Gracious are we when we accept that that truth without ever needing it confirmed.
In Zen we are taught to just be, and just let others be as well. We don’t have pry someone’s secrets out of them or ask others what is going on in someone’s world. We simply allow the fact that inner movement (sometimes turmoil, sometimes joy, sometimes peace and sometimes a set of feelings too complex for a name) is occurring in every being we meet, and we honor that.
Some people are easy. Some people are hard. All people are valuable. It is never too late, or too often to remember that.
And, honey, turn the heat up. I’m freezing in here.