Walking outside, though, is far more interesting. I have found huge limbs fallen off old live oaks that I would never have seen otherwise because they are so far from the house. I have discovered that my impatiens were completely devoured by the deer. I have found gopher tortoises lumbering across the field. I even had a bobcat sprint across the drive in front of me. I also have a furry companion who keeps me company and who is just as slow as I am these days. But in the summer, the heat is far more oppressive and the sun beats you like a woman pounding a dirty rug with a broom. The biggest advantage is that when I have walked a good two hundred yards from the house I can't just quit—I still have to turn around and go back.
The other morning Chloe and I were both near the end of our heat tolerance. She was panting behind me with every step and my own were less than steady. Then we turned a corner. I had not noticed the breeze because it was behind me, following along just like Chloe, but suddenly it was in my face. It may have been a ninety+ degree breeze, but it felt like heaven on a soaking wet and weary body. Suddenly walking was much easier. Is this why they say that simple things are "a breeze" to accomplish?
I felt the same way when our congregation began assembling again in the late summer. We had been away from one another for over four months, not even hearing from one another. We could not take advantage of the online "assemblies" because Keith is deaf, something most people cannot seem to comprehend. We had our own services, and while we had some of the best Bible studies I have ever sat in, and enjoyed sharing it with one of the single ladies in our group who also had no family nearby, it was not the same.
Less than a fourth of us met that first time because many of the rest felt it was too dangerous. We are "at risk" ourselves, but followed all the protocols and safety guidelines. The audience was sparse and scattered, the singing was muted, the sermon was short, the Lord's Supper was a bit awkward as we all served ourselves, especially the poor folks having to deal with those pre-filled cups and tasteless paper-like wafers rather than something homemade, but it was like a breath of fresh air to see those faces and hear those voices again, to see the smiles in those eyes above the masks, and hear the genuine joy of meeting as God's people once again. Do you think we complained about one single thing that day? Not on your life. We now understand like never before why God wants His people to meet and worship Him together. It was like a cool breeze on a hot day. Things may still be unsettled in our lives and more difficult to handle, but that day made the next week the easiest we have had in four months now. That day made it possible to get through the next and the next and the next, and those weekly meetings will do the same until finally this crisis is over, or until our lives are over, whichever comes first. Now we can turn around and make it home, one way or the other.
And since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Heb 10:21-25).