Last week our house felt like a sauna. No, maybe sauna is too mild of a term. I think it’d be more accurate to liken it to a lava bath on Venus. After two weeks of no air conditioning, (luckily we were on vacation for one of those), our home had gone from mildly uncomfortable to nauseatingly unbearable. Seriously. By Friday afternoon, with our thermostat reading ninety-three and climbing, our bodies began to revolt.
It’d been a rough week for all of us. The evenings were the worst. At bedtime, with the outside temperature barely dipping below ninety, there was no way to cool our house no matter how many fans you got going or windows you opened. Needless to say, the Slattery household was anything but cheery come Friday morning. Although we did have one thing going for us…the air conditioning guys were installing our new unit that day. Woo-hoo! Unfortunately, that meant Ashley and I had to stick around, in a hot, sticky house while they did it. And after a week’s worth of sweaty, itchy, crabby, sleepless nights, I was expecting fireworks. Or at least a few angry tears.
I was not anticipating any “precious-memory making moments” that day. In fact, I think I would have been happy just to get through the day without either one of us losing it entirely. And yet, despite the heat (or perhaps because of it) and lack of sleep, my daughter and I had the silliest, giggliest day we’ve had in quite a long time.
It started with time.
Despite a 92,000 word document desperately needing to be edited and numerous impeding deadlines, I shut my computer down and put it aside, along with anything else that required movement. (minus the occasional fb pop-in) And my daughter, too tired and hot to play outside or hide out in her room, hung out with me.
The giggles were initiated by dog-vomit
So here we were, dying, wishing we could head to Sonic for an ice-cold Cherry Limeaid when our mop-top started spewing nasty green stuff out of her mouth. So I picked her up and ran to the door, sending globs of bile shooting across the sofa, onto my daughter and leaving a trail from the den to the back yard. This quickly sent both of us into a fit of giggles and an afternoon of silliness–chasing dogs down with ice-cubes, Ashley sprawled across the wood floor in an effort to stay cool, us making goofy faces at each other. At the end of the day, a moment of discomfort led to some very special times between me and my baby-girl. And as I think back over our time, I can’t help but wonder how things might have been if one of us, just one of us, had reacted differently. What if I had thrown a fit when our dog started spraying our furniture with vomit? What if my daughter had lashed out when the vomit smacked her in the face? What if, after a day of roasting, her giggles had become “annoying” or my jokes “lame”?
An entire day worth of special, long-to be treasured moments would have been lost.
It makes me wonder how many other moments I’ve missed. On those days when I’ve allowed circumstances to control me instead of looking for the silly, ironic or down-right absurd. I think God has many blessings hidden among our day, if we’d but look past ourselves and our momentary circumstances. In fact, I wonder if even those seemingly terrible situations can be turned into our greatest sources of joy.
One of my favorite verses says: “Every wise woman builds her house but the foolish one tears it down.” (Proverbs 14:1)
Unfortunately, I spend way too much time tearing down. Getting frustrated, distracted, upset, whatever. And yet, it is just as easy to build up, with joy, giggles, words of encouragement and focused time. Air conditioning or not.