When you live in the Midwest, in the allergy and rust belt of this great country, there are a number of things that accompany the joy of living here. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that our weather has been somewhat atypical for St. Louis all throughout the Winter and Spring. Our Winter was warm, barely a snowflake to be seen all season long. In fact, if I had planted pansies, they would have survived the entire Winter.
The Spring has been unusual as well–lovely, in fact. Not too many stormy days, warm days balanced out with the cool days. My garden has never looked so lovely this early in the season. And the days are perfect for transplanting and splitting up perennials, so the garden continues to grow and take over the yard. More garden=less lawn.
But there is something to be said for the other aspect of the weather here in St. Louis. Humidity. It is pretty miserable to be this early in May and have 90° temperatures and 100% humidity.
This is the kind of weather that really speaks to my house in its own language, and for this reason I say that my house is a swell house. The exterior doors groan every time they open and close. (Apparently the middle class security system?) Even the interior doors stick when they are closed. And the windows? Well, there is mold beginning to grow on the joints. Sigh…time for a little bleach solution, I guess.
I decided to check on the allergy index today–feeling a little “swelled” in the old sinuses, and the sneezing is a pretty good indication of something being out in the great outdoors:
I guess there is a pretty good explanation for the “swell-ness” we are enjoying–
But as I have thought about the “lovely” effects of our high humidity (oh, I forgot all about the sweating concrete!), it got me thinking a little bit about a different kind of swelling–what happens when a sponge gets wet? It swells–that is its nature. Some things deflate, others inflate. So, if we consider our bodies, or even our egos…swelling is really dangerous. We joke about people having a swelled head, or too big for their britches…but seriously, when someone really acts that way, it isn’t funny at all. It’s painful, like a sprained ankle that is swollen.
So with every groan of my door, I am now reminded of the verses that address this very thing:
J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
1 Corinthians 13
1-3 If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foretelling the future and hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but the very secrets of God, and if I also have that absolute faith which can move mountains, but have no love, I amount to nothing at all. If I dispose of all that I possess, yes, even if I give my own body to be burned, but have no love, I achieve precisely nothing.4 This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience—it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.
5-6 Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
I don’t want to be that unloving, boasting and braggingly irritating person that no one wants to have around. Nor someone characterized as having a big head or ego. My desire is to love with integrity and intention. There are so many things that get in the way of truly loving others, but usually it’s just me getting in the way. But the wonderful thing about the love of God is that He continues to work in my life as it is yielded to Him. He is persistent and patient. Kind and gentle. As I allow the Potter to make me into what HE wants me to be, I release to Him control over my life. That relinquishing is scary, but that is where true love and complete trust are married in the heart. I take God at His word, confidently, knowing that He will complete His work in my life. It is by faith that I trust Him with my life and the molding process.
So, if anyone asks me how I am feeling, don’t take it the wrong way if I say I’m not “swell”.