I am a southern girl. I do not like cold weather. If it’s below sixty degrees, I’m whining about the cold. So, the seven degrees (yes! 7! Degrees! BRRRRR!) this morning is more than enough to make me stay under my covers and be thankful I’m still on medical leave.
Thankfully, our school systems made some smart decisions. They opted for a delayed opening. Since I really wanted to keep my kids home and keep them warm today, I’m certainly not going to complain that they didn’t have to get out at 7am. However, I’ve seen some of my Facebook friends making fun of that decision (yes, even the southern folks). I was glad to see this post by Brad Panovich of WCNC.
Just a quick note about the cold, school delays, closures and other aspects of cold in the Carolinas. Many transplants from up North and even locals kinda scoff and laugh at this but a few things to remember. #1 Don’t assume every student has the proper attire for 7°. There’s a reason we do Coats for Kids drives. Let alone hats, gloves or scarfs. #2 Don’t assume everyone has proper heating sources. I know many people that only use space heaters in their homes around Charlotte. #3 Our building codes aren’t the same as up north. Insulation and depth of water lines are much different here than let’s say Minnesota. #4 School buses here don’t have Block Heaters they do up north. Some school delays are more for the buses than the kids. #5 This is a rare event, once every 10-20 years so better safe than sorry.
Yes. That. (Thanks Brad Panovich!) This is unusual. To compare us to anywhere north of the Mason Dixon line is ridiculous. It’s apples and oranges. We don’t have winters like this very often. To assume that we can deal with it like they can is foolish. Which leads me to the real point of this post.
Just as we can’t compare Carolina weather and our readiness to deal with it to anywhere with a different climate, we can’t compare our lives to others. We are all different. What drives us is different. And what stops us in our tracks is different.
We hear it all the time and it has become redundant, but I don’t think the lesson has sunk in. (Or at least I still have trouble with it!). Don’t compare your walk with anyone else’s! You don’t know their struggle and they don’t know yours.
We’ll use me as an example. I tend to look at things differently from other folks. Part of it is the writer in me, part of it is the clown. When my dad passed away, I used as much humor as possible to make the mourning process easier. When we would run across something of his, I would joke, “well, he doesn’t need it anymore!” Some people think that’s horrible! But, it’s just my way of dealing with the pain. It doesn’t mean I hurt any less from his passing than anyone else, it simply means I’d rather laugh than cry (and I had done my share of crying!). On the flip side, it also didn’t mean I was dealing with it better than those who chose to cry. It was just different.
And so it is with everything else in life. I think it’s so easy to look at someone’s life and say, “Oh! They have it so good!” or “Ugh, they should know better than that!” Not necessarily. That may be their “thing.” And we all have it. That thing that trips us over and over, even when we know better. Just as the northerners are laughing at us and our delayed school openings. But, they don’t understand. They’ve never lived our mild winters and surprise cold snaps that we’re completely unprepared for. And it’s quite possible that you don’t understand your brother’s or sister’s struggle because you’ve never lived it.
So….the lesson of the day? Offer some grace and love to those whose paths you don’t understand and let God sort out if they should be past that or not. Your path is different from theirs and you may need some grace and love someday too. And….this is the hard one!….offer some grace and love to yourself if you’ve stumbled. Don’t think because so-and-so was unfazed by a similar situation that you should be too. We’re all different. God made us that way. And He loves us all enough to reach us wherever we are. (And to use it!)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28, NIV
Be blessed and tell someone you love them! (And stay warm!)