On Thursday morning, the temperature gauge on the dashboard read 2°. By any reckoning, that’s cold!
Of course, I’m probably not telling you anything you didn’t know already. The media reports that the so-called “Polar Vortex,” which came spinning in from the Arctic, created conditions in which more than 70 percent of Americans experienced below-freezing temperatures over the past week.
And even though we weren’t the hardest hit, we were in there shivering and doing our part to stand up to the weather.
All of our Adventist HealthCare facilities and institutions have extensive preparation and training for handling bad weather. That means we ensure that we have plenty of fuel for all our backup generators, we work diligently to be certain that we have addressed any potential staffing issues, and we stock up on the supplies we need to continue operation. We know that people are depending on us, regardless of the weather, so we check and recheck our plans and preparations.
We remind our employees, visitors, and patients to take extra time to drive. We encourage people to stay indoors whenever possible—and to bundle up with the proper clothing if they must be outdoors.
Most of us are pretty good at taking that advice to stay indoors and stay warm. We’ve got our eyes fixed on the forecast, which predicts a high of 65° by next Tuesday. A heat wave!
But there is one thing I’ve noticed about this weather: The colder it is, the more likely it is that we accept the obligation of personally taking a little better care of one another. Those elevator conversations take on a more meaningful tone. We share photos on social media that show how we are coping. Donations to organizations that are helping out go up a bit.
It is as if we recognize that even though the cold can be so intense that it freezes the words coming out of our mouths, it doesn’t freeze our hearts or our capacity to love and show concern. It may keep us indoors, but it doesn’t prevent us from going the extra mile in understanding and being a part of one another’s lives. As the temperatures fall, the sense that we share a lot more than just the weather goes way up—because we truly are in it all together, united in spirit as well as in shivers.
We’ll get through this. The forecast looks promising. Right now we are huddled together like one big freezing family. And we’ll stay that way at least until Sunday afternoon when the Super Bowl divides us (just a little) again.