Around 10 months ago, I moved to Texas. If you’ve ever been down this way, you know that it gets, and stays, pretty hot in the summer months. For the last few weeks, our temps have been in the 90s. With the humidity, the “real feel” has been closer (if not over) 100 degrees.
Because of this, I have been staying indoors. I do prefer heat over cold, but I also have my limits. Once it starts hitting the triple digits — whether in actual temp or in how it feels — I’d rather be inside surrounded by cooler air.
Today it also happens to be fairly windy out. I’ve caught myself more than a few times, just sitting and staring at the trees across the street as they thrash about in the wind. The bushes close to my office window have been moving quite a bit too, which has made it even harder to concentrate. I catch the movement out of the corner of my eye, so I am constantly looking to see what’s outside.
For the last few minutes, I’ve allowed myself to get carried away in the movement. To get lost in the way the wind makes the branches sway. To listen as it hits against the window, almost sounding like it could take the entire house down.
Now that I think about it, I am a lot like the wind. When I have passion for something, I move. Sometimes that movement is soft and swaying, like when I’m trying to help a friend or family member who is going through a rough patch. Other times, my movements are more aggressive, more sharp and intent. Like when I was in charge of the police reserve unit and didn’t like the way the group was handling a particular incident. It was the only meeting where I ever said the F-word in anger and frustration. I still regret it, but I do believe that it helped me make my point.
I’m also a lot like the wind in that it varies in how I affect the world around me. Think about it. On hot days, the wind is incredibly welcome, begged for even. It helps take the edge off, making the heat more tolerable. Pleasant even. Yet, when the wind blows on cold days, you find yourself muttering under your breath. You curse Mother Nature for what she is putting you through, swearing that, once it warms up, you’ll never complain about the heat again.
In much the same manner, sometimes I make the world a better place. Like when giving the neighbor girl pictures to color to keep her busy during this time of social distancing or when mailing face masks to my sister, a hospice nurse, to help her and her staff stay safe until they can get the right gear in. Or the time I showed up at an accident scene and held a man’s skull in place until EMS could arrive. I’d like to think that, on that particular day, I made his world a better place.
Other times, I know that my presence creates the opposite effect. Like when I’m short on patience and snap at my husband for something stupid or while talking on the phone with my mom. I know it’s wrong, but I do it anyway. I could say that “I couldn’t stop myself,” but that’s just an excuse. I have the power to stop any behavior I so choose. We all do.
Moving forward, my goal is to be the right kind of wind. The kind that lifts others up, eases their discomfort, and provides just a little bit of relief when life feels a bit too hot. The kind of wind that, once it arrives, makes you feel better again.
Will I always get it right? No. Sometimes I’ll come in too strong and other times I’ll come across as too light. But I’m going to keep trying to figure it all out. In doing so, I hope that more times than not, my effect is welcoming. As long as that is true, I’ll know I’ve done my part.