Cold Has A Name
Did you know that the cold has a name…actually many names? I suspected other names for the cold existed, but Texas was not the place where I expected to figure that out. See, I didn’t grow up in Texas, I grew up in the north where they have real winters, ya know rubber boots, warm, fuzzy mittens, snowmen higher than my head and school cancellations only if we couldn’t shovel the car out of the driveway in under an hour. That said, I married a native and after living here for over 20 years I can honestly say I love Texas and consider it my home. I can laugh while my relatives make fun of me for saying ya’ll, and find it humorous when they can’t believe I really live near a town called Cut n Shoot or that people wear cowboy boots to church and shorts in December. I love the beautiful wildflowers carpeting the side of the highway in springtime and my most favorite place to be during the month of October is Galveston Beach, barefoot, just me and Jesus, having an intimate conversation and marveling together at the beautiful sunrise.
Another thing I get a kick out of about Texas is its schizophrenic winters… warm one day and chilly the next, switching personalities at a moments notice. But because the predominant temperature is mild, most Texans, self included, seem a bit delusional. Many of us simply ignore the temperature as we step from heated car to home to office to Starbucks, shivering a little in flip-flops or a cute skirt and cowgirl boots, and eventually moderate temperatures become once again the principle identity and life goes on. But I have to confess to you, I have recently come to the chilling reality that bad weather truly does exist even in Texas, and I have not only acknowledged that it exists but have indeed become obsessed with it. Texas weather has become much more to me then “I wonder if it’s going to rain today” or “hmm which sweater goes best with this outfit.”
My infatuation with the weather started a little over two years ago when I began to volunteer my time at the Conroe House of Prayer better known as the CHOP. It has become my responsibility at CHOP to sort, hang and organize the donations of clothes, blankets, shoes etc. that come in from various churches, businesses, or individuals i.e. YOU! And because of that work I have become aware – acutely aware – that there are many, many people from all walks of life who suffer in the winter, even the mild winters of Texas. For example, did you know that some people, right here in Conroe, Texas for various reasons, some of them valid reasons, sleep under the stars every night, not because they’re enamored with the night time sky but because they have no where else to go? And that often it’s cold and wet. Or that despite the fact that the local Salvation Army takes in extras on really bad nights, beds and blankets can still be hard to come by. Many of these same people make their way to the CHOP every morning for a hot cup of coffee and then climb the stairs to look for some much needed clothing or blankets and while they’re “shopping” we chat and get to know each other. We talk, pray and swap stories, which leads to opportunities to share, teach and minister to many who are overwhelmed by life and to hopefully point them to the ONE who has all the answers and often we become friends. On behalf of those friends I would like to say thank you to everyone who has donated to the Resource Room at the CHOP. Or how about Compassion CoatRack? We are in full swing right now gathering coats and blankets to distribute to those in need. Would you like to be a part of that? A part of helping us, help others stay warm? And I do so desire your help, because for me winter is no longer just a season, a description, a temperature, it’s rather a foe, an adversary, yes even an enemy…something to be defeated. When the wind blows raw and biting I see before me the face of a young man who smiles at me even while he shivers in his shirt sleeves. Those grey clouds that wrap themselves around me misty, damp and chill, remind me of those I now know, those who I laugh with, those who I cry with, those who I care about but for whom the elements show no mercy. That rain which is a simply an inconvenience to those of us with shelter, umbrellas and extra clothing falls upon me like the prayers of those who are seemingly forgotten by man but not lost to God. So you see it’s understandable this new obsession of my mine, Cold for me now means a face, a story, a person and one who is familiar and dear…I could introduce you if you like….because cold has a name.
“Above all clothe yourself in love
which binds everything together in perfect harmony”