If you live in a warm climate, there are a few things you’re missing out on.
One of them is the ability to see your own breath.
(You’re also missing out on high heating bills in winter, backaches from shovelling snow, and frostbitten fingers, but I think you can do without those things!)
Why can we sometimes see our breath in cold climates?
With the combination of cold outdoor temperatures and the right humidity, your breath condenses as it is exhaled. It then appears as a misty cloud being emitted from your mouth.
It got me thinking: wouldn’t it be helpful if we could see our own words, too, and not just our breath?
By that I mean, if only we could see in physical form how our words affect others, we’d think twice about what we say.
If words came out of our mouth visibly shaped like the weapons they often are, we’d probably be horrified. If we saw what appeared to be daggers or fists hurtling toward the other person, we’d want to take back what we’d just said.
If you live in a cold climate, you’ll know that getting dressed to go outside in winter can be quite an operation.
This is particularly true if you have children. Getting your little one bundled up warmly enough to brave the frigid temperatures outside can take a great deal of time.
First, you have to make sure they have warm underclothes and socks on. Then, you might dress them in layers of several tops, and select pants made of warm, thick material.
Once you’ve put their winter coat or snowsuit on them, you’re not done yet. There’s still their boots, hat, scarf, and mittens to don.
And then what inevitably happens when you’ve finally wrestled a recalcitrant child into all their winter gear, and are poised to leave the house?
Your little darling suddenly announces that they have to go to the bathroom!
Dressing in layers takes a lot more time and effort, but it’s essential to ensure that we’re kept warm and protected in winter.
Similarly, Scripture tells us to dress in spiritual “layers” as well.
Is it just my imagination, or do weeds actually grow faster than the flowers I’m trying to nurture?
Gardeners will know what I’m talking about. Weeds seem to be gifted with internal steroids that accelerate their growth, outpacing the delicate flowers that we’ve brought home from the garden centre.
Weeds don’t seem to be affected by lack of rain or by intense heat. They’ll grow just about anywhere. They’re speed demons of growth compared to the flowers we try to baby along with regular watering and fertilizing.
I looked into this crucial issue on behalf of readers of The Faith Cafe, and found that weeds do have some competitive advantages.
Weeds which are perennials have the benefit of established root systems that have been alive for many years; these dormant roots have a lot of stored energy. Perennial weeds grow faster and are harder to kill than annuals.
Weeds are already acclimated to the region’s soil, and are highly adaptable. They’re usually native plants that thrive in the local ecosystem, unlike plants from the garden centre which may be non-native and need time to adjust.
Weed seeds are already present in our garden soil. They bide their time until the right conditions present themselves, and then race out of the soil. They’re often excellent self-propagators and are opportunistic growers.
All these things give weeds a head start over the flowers we favour.
This got me thinking:
Why do the “weeds” of our character grow better than the fruits of the Spirit?
Are there lessons we can learn from the natural world?