Our seasonal temperatures channel my thoughts to Torah (Bible) passages in which Israelites wander through the desert for 40 years.
No air conditioning, no electric fans, no popsicles in the freezer to counter the sun’s beating rays. Tents and close quarters, primitive sanitation, uncertainty about where they’re headed, doubt in a God who has promised liberation but so far has provided merely sustenance in an untenable land.
A leader named Moses who tends to disappear on mountaintops, tribesmen who challenge authority at every turn and scouts who insist that the future is bleak and foreboding.
Hmmm. Maybe summer in Phoenix isn’t so bad after all.
Maybe we have much to be grateful for, even as we yearn for cool breezes and gentle temperatures.
Maybe there are lessons to be learned from the persistence of an ancient people who survived for an entire generation in physical distress but still managed to celebrate faith in a higher being, joy in the notion of freedom and comfort in the strength of community.
Maybe we, today, take such things for granted when we could be more mindful of what we do possess in our comfort-driven lives.
The stories of our many religious traditions remind us – through folklore, mythology and tales of our ancestors – that life is often about struggle but faith reassures us that within that struggle rests much joy and delight in the mere fact of being alive.
Whether we choose to live in joy or live in struggle is largely up to each of us. All religions teach this. And so, each morning we awake to a new opportunity…
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