I had to pick the coldest time of year to come to Chicago.
My sisters and I rendezvoused at my twin’s home in Tinley Park. I wanted to see Mom, whose capacity to snub her nose at Father Time has been quite remarkable. She’d recently had a bad fall, and I wanted to see her.
Flying into a city where the temperature is in single digits wasn’t my idea of a good time. I don’t own clothing to accommodate a polar bear environment. Gayle had to bring a coat for me when she picked me up from the airport.
Getting to the car from the terminal was brutal. I thought frostbite had already taken life from my toes and fingers.
We’re talking three minutes of cold air exposure.
I’ve lived in Orlando long enough to have acclimated to the heat and humidity. I do sweltering well. I’ve not invested in cold weather gear for decades. There’s been no need.
I should have saved some sweaters.
It became more comical when my sisters thought that walking in frigid temperatures was a good idea. With the wind chill at close to zero, Gayle wrapped me like a five-year-old going out sledding. Heavy mittens. Scarf around my face. Headband and head covering.
We were out for 45 minutes. After three, I couldn’t feel my toes or fingers. I pulled the scarf down to my chin because my nose and mouth were becoming claustrophobic behind the wool. My nose and lips were the next to lose feeling.
I was out of my element. Miserable. Nose running. Frostbite may still be in my future.
Gayle and Janet gently mocked their Florida sister. They’re used to this stuff. They’ve got what it takes to live in this.
I felt out of my element when I was with Mom as well. She’s become very fragile with age. Her hearing is going. Her eyesight isn’t what it used to be. I feared I’d break her when I gave her a hug. She’s a tiny thing, and diminishing more each time I see her.
This may be the last time I see Mom this side of heaven. I’ve no guarantee she’ll be there next time I manage to come up. That’s hard to deal with. I can’t just smack a smile on that reality and be good with it.
When taken out of my norm, I falter. The cold did it. Mom’s frailty did it. It’s uncomfortable and daunting.
I can’t control life. It doesn’t mean I don’t try. I do. Daily. When life doesn’t go my way, I’m out of my comfort zone.
Jesus knows the bigger picture. My whole life is held in His powerful hands.
The challenge comes in allowing Him to help me in those hard times. Listen to and apply His truth. Recognize that His blueprint for life–the Bible–is a valid source of power and hope.
Reality? This life isn’t my element.
And He’s not leaving me on my own to deal with it.