Hey there! Hope everyone is surviving this summer heat. It’s hot and sticky here. Remember to NEVER leave children, pets, or elderly persons in a car, even for a minute! I’ll probably be singing that song until October. Please be careful! Pour yourself a glass of iced lemonade or something, find a cool place to relax and take it easy for a minute. It seems with rising temps, we also see rising irritation levels, and shorter fuses. I drove my grandson to McDonald’s the other day, about a mile from the house. That was long enough to witness several displays of discourteous road rage, and we weren’t even on a major highway!
Like I said, it seems like summer temps can bring out the worst in us. We get tired, we get cranky, we get more tired, and then we just give up trying to control our short tempers. So, what brought this post on? I drove to McDonald’s on a hot summer Friday about 1pm. I saw all sorts of rude, inattentive and downright hostile driving in less than a mile each way. Why do I tell you this? To give examples of what summer heat can do to us. You’ve seen it, intersections jammed, access roads full to overflowing, horns blaring, fingers waving, near-misses all around. Not a fun place to be!
Let’s talk about how we can ‘keep our cool’. First, stay hydrated! Lots and lots and lots of water. Skip the caffeine and alcohol. Oddly enough, water doesn’t need to be iced down. Just cool, and it will hydrate you faster and more deeply. Next, get plenty of rest. That means more than you think you need. Go to bed earlier, and don’t try to cram so much activity into the daylight hours. Slow down. The heat really takes a toll on our bodies if we’re not used to it. Dress for the weather. Actually, if you’re going to be outside doing chores, or on the water, a long-sleeved white cotton shirt will serve you better than a sleeveless one. And if you wear it over other clothes, soak it in cold water before you put it on. Use a cooling bandana of some sort around your neck. Wear a hat – not just a visor. And don’t forget the sunscreen! A sunburn can be just as serious as any other type of burn – and even with cloud cover we can burn. Watch especially for your face and the tops of your ears. Finally, allow plenty of time to get someplace. Plan for alternate routes if there is heavy traffic where you’re headed. Leave early, drive sensibly. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you are stressed because you’re running late!
If you do find yourself pushed for time, say because traffic is crazy while you’re at lunch and you have to be back for that big meeting, do yourself and everyone else on the roads a favor. Take a deep breath or two. Instead of giving in to irritation and semi-road rage, say a prayer for that lady who just cut you off. She might have a screaming toddler or two in that car. Instead of weaving in and out of traffic because you’re in a hurry, try going with the flow for a few miles. Haven’t you ever seen the guy flying in and out, making crazy lane changes and cutting everyone off, who gets stuck at the same traffic light with you a few minutes later? Yeah. So, relax and don’t sweat it! Use the exercise to practice patience. Practice blessing those who cut you off. Praying for those who don’t let you over when you need to move. Let someone else move over when you see a turn signal blinking. Having made the same commute every day for 8 years, I can tell you that the most time I ever saved by driving crazy was five minutes over a 30 minute commute. Know your alternate routes – know where you can go around that traffic accident that has everything at a stand still, and pray for the victims and responders and backed up traffic while you’re at it.
In both Matthew 6 and Luke 12, Jesus poses the question: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” Can you add a single hour to your life? No? Then why waste the energy on it?
If you find yourself wanting to talk to someone about road rage, or worry, find a pastor or a priest. They’ll be happy to listen, and help you to relax and trust that God has it all under control. He never loses His cool, no matter how hot it gets outside!