One of the things that I’ve been very aware of during these past few days of being on the streets is how vulnerable we are when we’re out in the elements. For instance, a 45-degree morning when the sun is out can be enjoyable, especially if you’re in a spot where the wind is blocked. But compare that with a day of cloud cover, and 45 degrees is still downright cold. Another example is the temperature in my tent in the morning when the sun comes up. When it’s in the thirties (or even twenties), when the sun hits my tent and begins to dry the dew and frost off the fabric, the temperature inside jumps several degrees—to the point that I need my makeshift heater very little or not at all. But a morning like today, when it’s overcast and breezy and there’s no sun on the tent, I can’t seem to get warm. Even while using my single burner inside the tent as a heater, I can still see my breath.
I’ve heard my mom tell stories about how cold it would get when she was growing up, back when there were fireplaces and wood stoves and people lived in old farmhouses with creaky floors and little or no insulation. Now I sit here in my tent appreciating those stories like never before. We’ve come a long way in the last seventy years since my mom was a child. We build strong houses with good heaters and lots of insulation, and things like the weather and elements don’t affect most of us the way they used to. A cold, rainy day is more of a nuisance than a burden and a hardship.
I wonder sometimes if we’ve insulated ourselves too much, not just from the weather but from life in general. I wonder if we’ve insulated ourselves so that very little affects us—we aren’t troubled by someone living in a tent; we don’t respond to the lady in the wheelchair who can’t reach the peaches on the top shelf in the grocery store or the single mom who needs an extra set of hands to manage her kids at church. In our insulated lives we don’t see life as it unfolds around us every day. What if we’ve isolated ourselves from the very things God wants us to see, touch, hear, feel—and maybe even fix?
I’m fifty-eight years old, but I know I’ll never look at a sunrise the same way again. It’s about more than “the big light” coming on. When the sun comes up it brings joy, warmth, hope, and life along with light. Thank you, God, for removing the scales—the insulation—from my eyes so I can see things in a new way. And thank you for “the morning light when the sun rises, a morning without clouds” (2 Sam. 23:4, AMP).