Earlier today I was chatting with some of the people at the feast here in Suriname, and one of the other Americans said that if she heard people complain about the heat, she would remind them that they could have gone to Alaska instead. All of this is true, but it should be remembered that Suriname is pretty beastly hot and we are eating and meating in a somewhat large building with concrete walls and a corrogated metal roof and no air conditioning, and then it all comes back to you that heat stroke is a terrible way to go. When the native brethren themselves are complaining about the weather, it gives those of us who are traveling a bit more license to do the same. I am from warm weather areas myself and have traveled to plenty of hot countries, but still, it never ceases to wear me out when I am spending time in the heat with somewhat inadequate water–at least here the hotel provides all the cool water we ask for, which is something I can definitely appreciate, without question.
Last year, I think it was, or at least earlier this year, a British comedian released a song called “Man’s Not Hot,” and the song went viral. I even chatted about the song with some of the Surinamese brethren here and they were familiar with the song and thought it was funny that I was singing “Man’s not hot, man’s never hot.” One young lady here mentioned that she laughed when she heard kids singing along with the song on the way to school. But on a day when one is walking to and from the church hall several times–to and from breakfast, for example, and then back again to grab some tea supplies for my folks, who stayed in, and then back to services and then back again to our welcome dinner–at least the weather wasn’t too hot the last time we were there. Being in the blazing heat for hours enjoying fellowship and occasionally trying to write, the song comes to my mind pretty easily, and at least it was nice that other people appreciated me commenting on it at least the point of being about to laugh about it.
In life, we are often faced with realities that we cannot do anything about. The weather in Suriname is out of my control. The mornings are pretty hot, the middays are beastly hot, and then the evenings are often cooled by some thunderstorms and enjoyable breezes. If we had all evening services, I would have no issue with the climate, but as our tradition is to have services in the late morning and early afternoon, well, it’s going to be a tough slog to get through. But if you have to get through it, and if that is the task you have assigned for yourself, you have to get yourself in the right mindset to do it. You can make it mock heroic, make it a more humorous thing, and find other people who have a similar good spirit about it. You don’t want to get caught up in the habit of complaining about reality. You find what there is to appreciate and find a way to make it bother you less, and you get through it. Survival, much less thriving, in an unkind world means that we have to find a way to make an unpleasant reality less unpleasant.
And I must concede that for some people I am probably a part of that unpleasant reality that people sometimes have to deal with. I’m not sure why that’s the case. I know the sort of people I enjoy spending time with, but I like to spend much time alone so it’s not as if I’m always trying to be around particular people, although like most people I have my habits. Still, when it comes to realities you may not want to deal with, I do not consider myself to be a particularly difficult one. Also, I consider myself to be the sort of reality that is easy to enjoy. Do you like food? Do you like intelligent and witty conversation? Do you enjoy being treated with polite interest and curiosity? Can you understand the words coming out of my mouth? It does not take much to enjoy me. I will not give you heatstroke or any other disease (thankfully). I don’t see why people think that I am such a hostile implacable reality, as that is something that just makes no sense to me. At least I can find some humor in that implacable aspect of reality as well.