August 5, 2011

Nothing New Under the Sun

No doubt you've heard that we're sizzling in the middle of the United States. Seriously, sizzling. Adding insult to injury, voluntary water rationing began this week so we're supposed to limit outside watering to every-other-day, between the hours of midnight to noon...when I'm usually either asleep or at work. So, for the foreseeable future, it looks like I'll be up at 5:00 a.m. every-other-day to water, which leaves me with some time on my hands to write about the things I have been tossing around in my head.

As we have watched weather records fall this summer with temperatures reaching new highs, I have found myself thinking that every generation needs its very own summer from you-know-where to tell their children about. I grew up hearing all about the summer of 1936, when not only was there no air-conditioning, but my mother's family didn't even own a fan. My friends' kids grew up hearing tales about the summer of 1980 when, mercifully, central air-conditioning was pretty standard. The thing I remember most about that summer was when the day came that the high was only 90 degrees, it seemed as though everyone in town was driving around with their windows down to feel the "cool" breeze. The summer of 2011 is another one of those summers that generations to come will grow up hearing all about, thinking it will never be THAT hot again. But the truth is, there will be another summer like this...we just hope it will be decades from now.

Each generation has to learn truths about life for themselves. My mom gets a kick out of watching the epiphany as each generation of parents stumbles onto something "new" that isn't new, at all. You should hear her on the topic of lead paint. "Do they think they're the first ones to figure out that lead paint is dangerous? What, do they think we were feeding paint chips to our kids? Honestly, how do they think we survived without them?"

I found myself doing the same thing a couple of weeks ago when I was watching Today. Natalie Morales, who is in her late 30s, was doing a segment on how GenX women are re-inventing 40. Seriously? They think this is new? I remember Jane Pauley doing almost exactly the same segment a little over 20 years ago, and I feel sure that Barbara Walters probably did a similar segment as she approached 40. It's only new to today's generation of late 30-somethings because they weren't paying attention 20 years ago. There wasn't any reason for them to notice it. They weren't ready for the story about reinventing 40 when they were in their late teens. It had no relevance for them.

Spiritual truths work the same way. We all have to discover them when we're ready. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but we're not. It takes us time to catch up - not to where He is - just to where He wants us to be at any given point in our lives. And He is always willing to wait patiently for us to get there, knowing that when we do, we'll still have further to go. He will show us exactly what we need for that part of our journey, preparing us for what's ahead, when He'll show us a little more...

Until next time,

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; 
there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)


  1. yea!!! you're back with your usual wisdom, candor,
    and humor.

    i got married the summer of '80 and remember that
    heat very well. i think this summer exceeded the

    "forty shmorty!"

  2. Loved it. Couldn't agree more. Can't stand to watch the insipid morning shows for that very reason.

    Hope that cooling temps come in. I also hope that we'll see you before November!

  3. Good to see you back Margaret. Stay cool! :)

  4. Thanks, ladies. It's good to know you all haven't given up on me.

    Lea, I agree that this summer is worse than '80, although I suppose 31 years could have dulled the memory a bit. ;-)

  5. I haven't been visiting many blogs lately either, so it's good to see you are still here too.

    Great post, and so true...!

  6. Welcome back! I was just thinking about this today at church actually. The students led our service this morning, and hearing them talk about epiphanies they had had this summer reminded me about my own experiences as a teenager. God teaches us all lessons at our own pace. And thank goodness that he never gives up when I don't learn very quickly. :)