For about a week now, I’ve been dreading today. I’ve been scanning my weather app several times a day to see if the temperatures would suddenly decrease for the forseeable future. No luck.
Living in Redding for over a year now, I’ve come to expect the hot temperatures. Three to four months of 100 degree temps is the norm. Even so, everyone has their threshold. Mine is anything above 110 degrees. When the weather app reads anything beginning with a one and a zero, I’m in a good mood. That I can handle. But when it gets above 110 degrees, I die a little inside.
Today’s forecast was predicted to be anywhere between 114 and 117. It’s the heat of the day right now and my car’s thermometer is reading 120. Yuck. Add that to the already smoky atmosphere from nearby fires and you begin to mistake Redding for hell itself.
Anticipating the hot temperatures, I planned ahead to beat the heat. Even though our travel trailer has AC, it can easily get 90 degrees inside with this heat. While my husband and son went on a hike to some mountainous waterfalls (the termpature should be a little more bearable for them in the higher elevations), I took my girls to the mall.
I wish there were more places to go in Redding when it’s this hot, but our options are limited. Plus, we’re not rolling in the dough, so we have to consider the cost. Basically, I just look for whatever is free–the library, the mall, the grocery store. Needless to say, we’re at these places a lot during the hot summer months.
So we’re feeling pretty good in the air-conditioned mall, but it’s time to head back home for dinner. We get in our overheated minivan and are immediately burned by seats, belts, and any other metal or plastic object. My poor 4-year-old practically cries as she climbs in her black car seat with the buckle burning between her thighs. “We can do this!” I tell my girls, with forced enthusiasm.
If we can just get home, we’ll be ok.
I had a bad feeling as I walked towards our front door and didn’t see the usual water dripping from the roof of the travel trailer (a sign that the AC is working). I walked in to a sweltering trailer and looked at the indoor thermometer: 99.1 degrees. The breaker for the AC had switched off, so the temperature had been rising for some time. “We can do this!”
I let the girls know that we’d have to leave again soon while the trailer cooled down. We made some smoothies and took some cold showers. The girls were screaming with delight as the cold water hit their skin.
When Nora got all dried off, she explained, “This is like my nightmare.”
“What do you mean?” I ask. “The trailer being this hot?”
“Ya, it’s the worst.”
I used this opportunity to encourage my daughters. “This is the hottest day and we’re in the heat of the day. We’re in a trailer that’s 100 degrees. This may be your nightmare, but we’re doing it! This is the worst of it and we’re managing just fine!”
As hot and miserable as these temperatures were, I am so proud of how well my kids can handle it. My kids rarely complain about the heat. The worst part for them is getting into a hot vehicle and sitting down in the burning seats. Other than that, my kids have surprisingly good attitudes–better than mine most of the time.
It’s crazy how we can have so much fear about something, but then, when we face it head on, we find that it’s not as bad as we anticipated. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, we have to be creative in how we spend our time. But we got this!
Today I had to remind my kids (and myself) that as bad as some experiences can be, when we’re brave to walk through them and get creative when need be, we’ve already succeeded. This is the foundation of hope. As Brene Brown says, “Hope is a function of struggle.” Hope is produced as we walk through our struggles, whether our struggle is walking through a painful divorce, learning something new, or just getting through an absurdly hot day.
Be encouraged that whatever struggle you’re facing today, there is renewed hope on the other side. You got this!