Times of refreshing

When I started my car this morning, the display on my dashboard said it was -5 degrees Fahrenheit outside.  Poor Suzy the Cruz-e chugged into action despite the frigidity. I let her get her bearings while I took Chester outside for his morning ritual.  He did what was needed and then gladly went back into the house. Grabbing my bag, I rejoined Suzy for the short drive to the gym.

At 8:00 am, the parking lot was less than half-filled.  With most of the area schools closed this morning, many likely chose to stay at home and not force their cars (or their bodies) into action.  But I hadn’t been to the gym in a few days, and I was feeling the need to move a little bit.

I climbed aboard the elliptical machine, plugged in my headphones, and listened to the Today Show.  The gym seemed a little warm to me, maybe to overcompensate for the -25 windchill outside.  I had to keep pushing myself through the 30 minute workout because I was fighting nausea.

I did finish the thirty minutes, then did a little bit of work on the weight machines.  Still fighting nausea, I went to the locker room and changed into my swimsuit.  It’s always a bit of an internal dialogue to switch out of sweaty clothes into a swimsuit.

“Come on, you know you will feel better if you get in the pool for a little while.”

“But it’s such a struggle to undress and dress.”

“Stop whining.  The water will be worth it.”

“I could just shower — that’s water.”

“Put on your swimsuit.”

“Fine.”

Once the swimsuit was on, I took the mandatory pre-swim shower then headed to the pool.  The larger pool, which is around 80 degrees, was filling up with women in preparation for a water aerobics class.  But my destination, the 92 degree salt water therapy pool, had just one person in it.  I walked down the steps into the soothing water and was overwhelmed by the amount of sunlight in the room.  One whole wall of the pool area is glass.  It’s an easterly facing wall, so the sun, as it rose, was pouring through the glass.  I sunk into the water, lifted my face to the sun, and leaked an audible, “Ahhhhhh….”

For those moments that I was floating, walking laps, and stretching in the therapy pool, I totally forgot how cold it was outside.  With the sun beaming in, and the warm water soothing my joints, I could have believed I was swimming outside in the summertime.

I didn’t stop there.  I moved from the therapy pool to the jacuzzi and soaked for a little longer. Then, I showered again, got dressed, and headed home to start my day.

It didn’t sound like a great idea to climb out of bed and go out into the freezing weather this morning.  I didn’t really want to stand outside to let the dog take care of his business.  I didn’t love doing thirty minutes of aerobic exercise.  Or lifting weights.  Or changing into my swimsuit.

But I loved sinking down into the water. The warm, soothing water.  The healing, restoring water.

A lot of life is going out into the cold, waiting for a dog to relieve himself, and trudging away on an elliptical machine when you think you might actually throw up.  But every once in a while, more often than I am sometimes willing to admit, we get to sink down into some warm, soothing water with sun shining on our faces.  I don’t want to live for those moments, because a lot of good comes from the tough stuff of life.  But, when I get an opportunity to sit in a jacuzzi, I want to drink it in, soak it up, and be restored.

These are the “times of refreshing [that] come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

Isaiah 30:15

In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength.

Brrrrrr!

In the back of my mind I am thinking it is going to be a long winter.  It is only November 19 and I am already freezing! Now, granted, we have had some weird polar vortex cutting across the country, and we do have a promise of a slight warm up over the weekend, but guys, I am not used to Michigan winters!  The days are shorter and colder than they are in Missouri.  Yes, I realize that it’s cold in Missouri right now, too, but it won’t last.  There will be random warm-ups all winter long. Not so in Michigan.  It’s gonna be cold until March.  Brrrrrrrr!

I am a little worried that I might decide to hole up in my little house by the river wearing yoga pants and hoodies, ordering necessities online, drinking endless cups of tea and coffee, and getting all my socialization virtually.

I know what you are thinking — “January 5, Kristin.  You said you would be willing to go back to work on January 5.”  What was I thinking!?!?!?!  Why would I set my start date for the middle of bleak winter?

Because if I don’t have a job to go to by January 5, it is incredibly likely that I won’t leave my house until March!

Winter can be difficult, can’t it?  It can seem dark and cold and miserable.  Especially once Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are over.  The family has all left, the celebrations are over, and it’s only January 2nd!  What are we supposed to do until March?  Many, myself included, are tempted to stay in yoga pants and hoodies, watching hour after hour of Netflix, not wanting to leave the house.

When we were kids we would wake up on snowy winter mornings, turn on the radio, and wait hopefully for the announcement that school was cancelled so that we could stay home. We could stay in our pajamas all day watching TV, eat junk food, or go outside and play in the snow. One winter, after more than ten days had been cancelled, we were practically begging to go back to school.  We couldn’t take one more day at home!

I have to remember that.  I wasn’t designed to stay at home.  I thrive when I am out with people.  Or in with people.  We had a handful of friends over for dinner last night to celebrate our son being home.  Most of them were young adults who had been working or studying all day. They came in shivering and I offered them steaming chili and hot cocoa.  As they oohed and ahhhed over the comfort that the warmth brought,  I jokingly told them that I was going to stay in the house all winter and that I would have to make them meals from time to time so that I could get my socialization needs met.  They were all willing to commit to ‘letting’ me cook for them as often as I want.

I don’t actually think I will stay inside. Though it is bleak out there, and cold, I think I’m willing to brave it in order to be with people.  But, it’s nice to know I have a back up plan.

Hebrews 10:24- 25

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,

not giving up meeting together [even if it’s cold outside]…

but encouraging each other….