Monday, May 23, 2011

A Little Something to Ponder Concerning Seasons

Seasons and Community fascinate me. Here's an interesting take:
Hi Readers! Stan Cox, author of the new book, “Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World (and Finding New Ways to Get Through the Summer),” wrote a great oped for The Washington Post last summer about what life would be like if we still sweltered. As a person who is always freezing, I LOVE the idea of an un-airconditioned world, not just because it would allow me to peel off several (dozen) cardigans, but also because I believe in what Cox preaches: That when we HAVE to go outside for relief, we gain a lot more than a cool breeze. We regain the whole idea of neighborhood. And we regain a season! As he writes in his oped:
Saying goodbye to A.C. means saying hello to the world. With more people spending more time outdoors — particularly in the late afternoon and evening, when temperatures fall more quickly outside than they do inside — neighborhoods see a boom in spontaneous summertime socializing.

Rather than cowering alone in chilly home-entertainment rooms, neighbors get to know one another. Because there are more people outside, streets in high-crime areas become safer. As a result of all this, a strange thing happens: Deaths from heat decline. Elderly people no longer die alone inside sweltering apartments, too afraid to venture outside for help and too isolated to be noticed. Instead, people look out for one another during heat waves, checking in on their most vulnerable neighbors.
Children — and others — take to bikes and scooters, because of the cooling effect of air movement. Calls for more summer school and even year-round school cease. Our kids don’t need more time inside, everyone agrees; they need the shady playgrounds and water sprinklers that spring up in every neighborhood.
Okay — he sounds a little hokey. But only because we’ve become so divorced from the idea that we can stand a little discomfort that we dismiss the idea that we really COULD be happier while sweatier.

I’m not sure how to bring this revolution about, since we already live without a.c. in my house and it’s not like anyone seems eager to follow our lead. (Or visit in July.)  But it’s something to think about, while our teeth chatter next to the A.C. vent. — Lenore

A Sabbath Day Witness

Reading Elder Perry’s talk in the April 2011 General Conference has inspired me to record a few thoughts of my own regarding the Sabbath Day. I am grateful to parents who taught me as a youth so that as an adult I could reap the benefits of a deep-rooted ritual. Today my heart rejoices at the opportunity for regeneration I get each Sabbath. It’s my regularly scheduled break from world so that I may purge my heart of the unnecessary worldly cares.

Elder Perry says: As we consider the pattern of the Sabbath and the sacrament in our own lives, there appear to be three things the Lord requires of us:
first, to keep ourselves unspotted from the world;

I love being intentional about everything I do on Sunday. I love dressing up for church and all day dressing at least a little better than I do during the week. I know the Lord loves me even if I don’t, but I love drawing closer to Him through what I wear. I love avoiding certain programs, music, and activities so that I may remain as unspotted, as possible, from the world on the Sabbath. I love a day to set aside the cares and interests of the world so that I may focus on the cares and interests of another.
second, to go to the house of prayer and offer up our sacraments;

On Sunday I go to church, and I cleanse my heart and soul by offering up my sacraments unto the Lord. The sacred music, the company of Saints, the talks & classes, and opportunities to serve all help to purify and reconnect my heart with His. Even juggling 6 kids into reverence during a 70 min long meeting serves to deepen my humility and bring my heart closer to His.

and third, to rest from our labors.

I love having a day where I don’t go to the store. Yes, sometimes the ox is in the proverbial mire, and in which case I take care of needs as they arise. But I love doing what I can so that others can rest from their labors as well. And mostly I love having a day where I keep things as simple as possible so that the Lord can really be the focus of my day as much as possible.

And, of course, Elder Perry says it so well:
Let us remember the blessings and opportunities that are ours as we attend sacrament meeting each week in our wards and branches. Let us prepare and conduct ourselves on the Sabbath in a manner that will call down the blessings promised us upon ourselves and our families. I bear my special witness that the greatest joy we receive in this life is in following the Savior. May we keep His commandments by keeping His sacred day holy is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.