It snowed here in the metro DC area last night. So of course, my two little boys have to get out into the snow. I warn them that it’s really, really cold – it’s abnormally cold for our area, but they are insistent. So, I bundle them up – thermal underwear, jeans and sweater and full snowsuit, along with boots, socks, gloves, and hats – and we head outside. We stayed probably no longer than six or seven minutes. Their little noses were running in a couple of minutes, even though they were having a blast. I was really proud of them though – they came inside with no complaints – sticking to our agreement that we were only going to stay outside for a few minutes.
Tonight as I was heading home, the temperature indicator in the car said it was 17 degrees outside. When I got home, it was reading 11 degrees. As I mentioned, we don’t get this cold in Maryland. It’s FREEZING!!! And it reminds me to be thankful, so thankful, for the blessing of heat. I had a car to drive in that I was able to turn the heat on blast. I walked from my garage into a home that was nice and toasty. As I think about how I bundled up the boys this morning, I am reminded that there are people who are living in these temperatures. I cannot even comprehend that properly. It’s 11 degrees outside and I have to sleep outside? What madness would that be? Even if for some crazy reason I had to be outside, you can bet I’d be bundled up in my REI and Under Armor underwear, along with several layers of fleece, and a couple of pairs of wool socks. I’d be sleeping in my “ready for zero temperatures” sleeping bag, encased in a winter ready tent. But there are people who are sleeping outdoors in these temperatures, with none of the “comforts” I mentioned above. What should I be doing to help them?Winter, of all the seasons, seems to provide opportunities for us to think about how fortunate we are. And yet, apart from my sons’ annual “church visit to the homeless shelter”, I have to admit that I don’t often think of those who are surviving without heat in the cold. I don’t often think about how blessed we are to be able to pay our electricity bill so that we can have heat. I put on my sweaters and coats and scarves and boots and head out to my warm car without once thinking of those less fortunate. It’s time to change that.