The VOICE of Inspiration
By Don Lindsey
During the holiday season, I had a chance to catch up with family and friends that still live in Ohio. In just about every conversation I had, I heard about how cold it was. I would then tease about how “cold” it was here and that it was so cold, I’d probably be forced to go swimming sometime soon. That always got a laugh and a playful explanation of where I could take my warmer weather which didn’t make any sense considering that the place they were telling me to go, already had the warmest temperatures one could imagine.
While I enjoyed the back and forth teasing, talking about winter in Ohio compared to here got me reminiscing about the fun I had playing in my home state’s version of the winter season. When it got too bad snow wise, my friends and I would thoroughly enjoy our snow days, which would be the equivalent of the days off school that the children here got during Hurricane Irma. We would make snow forts, play football and laugh at the hilarity that chasing a frozen football around can provide. Couple that with making snow angles, falling into a frozen creek and then hightailing it back home to change into warm clothes and then finishing the wintery day of fun with a warm shower and hot cocoa, made winter my favorite time of the year.
As I entered adulthood and had responsibilities, my opinion of winter changed. Instead of being excited when it snowed too much to go to work, I was now upset because that meant I’d miss a day of pay. Instead of enjoying the crunching of snow under my feet as I walked to work or wherever I needed to go, I was now annoyed with the fact that the snow and ice were keeping me from getting to my destinations as fast as I would have liked. Then there was the shoveling of driveways, sidewalks and then salting those areas when you were finished to help with the ice under the snow. When I was a kid that seemed fun to me and opened a monetary opportunity for my friends and me because most people over the age of 30 didn’t want to be bothered with going out in the cold and would pay neighborhood kids well to do their shoveling for them. I understood that desire to stay inside unless I had to once I got older.
When I moved to Apopka I was thrilled to see that Florida really didn’t have a winter. I like to joke that we as Floridians only experience two seasons, one of which repeats itself; two Springs and a Summer. Watching people freak out when it got under 70 degrees was an enormous source of comedy for me. I was walking around in a t-shirt and shorts while everyone else it seems was ordering winter clothes off the internet. I can still remember one of my first visits to see my wife Tammy. It was in January, and where I’m from, you can’t really go out in the January winter unless you have a few layers of clothes on. Here, however, I was walking around the neighborhood in 75-degree weather, wearing light clothes and smelling the wonderful aroma of people grilling out. I was shocked to say the least and briefly wondered if Tammy hadn’t abducted me from my home and relocated me to some new planet.
Looking ahead to now, my blood has thinned, and I can honestly say that the low temps we’ve seen in the last week alone have gotten to me. I no longer laugh at the folks freezing because I’m one of them. While my brain knows that it’s not too cold outside, my body begs to differ. I find myself wishing that I was a kid again so that I could handle the bone chills I get by walking out the door. I also find myself wishing that I could experience those fun times with my friends again.
At the end of the day, I think the bigger issue isn’t about being cold or facing it, I think it’s more about enjoying life and making the things that you do fun. Cold weather was just as miserable when I was a child as it is now, but instead of seeing the negative, we found a tremendous amount of joy by playing in it. At some point, the fun stopped mattering to me and I only saw obstacles when winter hit, and I realize that I’ve done that in various spots in my life, not just with temperatures. I’m sure that I am not alone in that mindset. We are so riddled with tunnel vision most of the times between achieving success or chasing it that we miss a ton of opportunities to enjoy the positivity that happens around us at any given moment. For me, I’ve concluded that I am going to start off 2018 by looking more for the positives in situations that seem negative. I’ll start now, I’m still facing a bad cold/virus but there’s a silver lining here…. I get to lay around and watch T.V all day. God bless.
Don Lindsey is a follower of Christ, son, husband, father, and a survivor. Originally from Dayton Ohio, and resident of Apopka for six years, Don sees his life as a dedication to his wife, parents, children, and community.