The Coldest I Have Ever Been

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Last week, here in Florida, it got down to about 55 degrees at one point. It was Sophie’s birthday, so I went to a donut shop at about 5:00am so I would have them ready when she woke up and there was one other person in the shop when I got there. Based on what this guy was wearing, you would have had to assume he was about to hit the ski slopes.  I was wearing shorts and flip flops, and he had on gloves, his face and head were covered, and he had on heavy boots. 

In Haiti, in January and February, it will sometimes get into the 60s at night. You have never seen so many hoodies, sock hats, heavy jackets, and kids wrapped up in blankets in a Caribbean nation in your life. Jess and I are still sweating and wearing shorts and t-shirts and the kids bundle up like its winter, which it is for them.

Thinking about these things made me think about the coldest I have ever been in my life. I have been skiing a few times, I went to a football game when the temperature was in single digits and there was ice everywhere, and I have had to sleep in my parents house in the winter when they leave the windows open. But the coldest I have ever been was at a Georgia-Florida game right here in Jacksonville…Let me explain.

When we were driving down to the stadium, it was pretty close to 70 degrees and sunny outside. So I wore shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops to the game.  I don’t really remember who I was with, but I remember we got down to the stadium early and it was a night game that year.  As the game was starting, the temperature started dropping.  At some point during the first quarter, the rain came.  It was not a hard rain and we stayed out watching the game, but it was enough to get pretty wet.

Anyway, the bottom line is that the temperature dropped to the lower 50s, I was wet, and the wind was blowing pretty hard. We sat for the next 2 hours in those conditions, and it was by far the coldest I have ever felt.

You may be wondering the point of this blog.  My point is that context, in anything, is really important.  There is a reason why Haitians get cold if the temperature gets into the 60s, why people in Florida bundle up if there is the slightest hint of a chill, and why a temperature in the low 50s produced my coldest day.  Context is important in every aspect of our life. 

  • When you are studying the Bible, if you do not understand the context of what you are reading you will not understand the Bible.
  • If you do not understand the context of the people with whom you interact, then you will not understand why they say what they say or act the way they act.

We fully understand our own context and what we have gone through, and we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt.  When we are tired, busy, have a lot on our mind, stressed, etc. then we know that about ourselves.  When we are short or mean, we give ourselves a break.  Do we the do the same for our spouse?  For our kids?  For our friends?  For the people that we come into contact with?  Of course not.  How could we?  We do not know what they are dealing with.  It is important, however, to give people the benefit of the doubt and to be kind when people are struggling.

We must give this same break to our Haitian brothers and sisters as they fight for their own country right now.  Do not be scared to go back when things calm down.  Do not assume that the people who are rioting are “bad people” but maybe just fed up.  Do not think that the country is falling apart, but that maybe they are trying to fix a systemic problem that has been around since January 1, 1804 (Haitian Independence).  Basically, keep praying and do not grow weary.  These problems did not pop up overnight and they will not go away that quickly either.  Let’s join our brothers and sisters in this country and…


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