Weather gets hot.
Food gets hot.
Tempers get hot.
A new love is hot.
Weather gets cold.
Food gets cold.
Feelings turn cold.
Love grows cold.
Weather is warm.
Food is kept warm.
People are warm.
Love feels warm.
Would you rather be hot or cold?
Do you like food warm or piping hot?
Do you want a lifestyle of exuberance, subtle affection or stoic abstinence?
Should love blaze as a log laden fireplace?
Sink into the comfortable indentations of evening sand?
Or exist as a corked up wine bottle inside the refrigerator door?
We will all have experiences. But they won’t be like a king-sized blanket that keeps each person’s extremities covered. No. We will experience things at varying degrees. There will even be degrees of degrees.
Let’s say, for example, there’s the likelihood that we will experience a blazing hot summer day in the area where we live. Some of us will make plans to travel to our winter homes. When it gets cold, we’ll travel back to our summer homes. Those of us who cannot afford this level of living travel from the swelter upon wheels of frenzied complaining.
Others of us will just forge through the day with a few cups of iced coffee. No big deal. We’ve discovered that fussing about the weather is futile. However, you may hear a few choice words when our cups don’t have the appropriate proportions of latte to ice. And those of us who avoids such nonsense altogether because we drink our coffee hot even in the summertime, may later find ourselves crying into our beers because the love of our lives forgot it was our anniversary.
Personal preferences aside, what we decide to accept and tolerate will depend upon a few things. It will take into account our tolerance levels, which inclusively also will take into account a few things. The things of past experiences, personal needs, upbringing and timing.
If the degree of our past experiences were extreme, then our tolerance levels may be low. But due to shock and numbness it may be high. Perhaps we’ve become staunchly self-sufficient because of our experiences. Or, we may’ve become needy in many ways. Upbringings can range from nurturing and disciplined to not knowing the idea of authority and love almost from birth. And timing–well there’s no time like the present until it’s something unexpected.
How we address and cope with the varying variances of our lives will say much about what we are about. It may even provide us with insight into ourselves when we pay attention.
Yet, the degrees of degrees is not about perception and perspective, which is more about “where” we are. It’s about the inability to avoid life’s experiences–small or great, good or bad-because we’re living. It’s about awareness of the scope of imperfect life. It’s about not adding to its mandates by expecting things to be perfect. It’s about how we’re navigating.
It’s also not about conceding or acquiescing. These are like atrophied muscle. We’ll need to exercise our minds, work it vigorously, to find that within these varying variances there is conquest in understanding and gratitude.
Ah, yes. Gratitude. A powerful word. It’s powerful, because it gives us options when we have no options. All we may seem to have is the experience of whichever degree that cannot be changed. But then when we look closer, we notice gratitude. Now, we have options. We can handle the experience solely. Or, we can create a co-existing experience by also adding gratitude. If we do the latter, we’ll be able to choose which experience we want to embrace as part of our history. Options.
Speaking of gratitude in this setting will likely bring to mind the phrase, “It could always be worse.” True, it could always be worse. But, let’s take a step back into “perspective” for a minute. I don’t like the spirit of that particular phrase. It sounds like the scraps of food leftover on a plate of leftovers that you’re having to eat because there’s no other food. It’s something that’s said when there’s nothing else to say. It’s like a victim’s fine print clause. It negates the degree of the experience. I much prefer, “Thankfully, it wasn’t worse.” Ah, yes. There’s that gratitude thing again.
I lost my mother to illness at age 13. It could’ve been worse. I could’ve lost both my parents simultaneously. But, I didn’t. Thankfully, it wasn’t worse. Now, did you feel that? Thankfully, it wasn’t worse. It’s assertive. Decisive. Conquering.
Now, to be honest, a blazing hot day in summer can almost make us hate the season. We’ll readily toss the concept of vacations, outdoor recreation, and breaks from our routines. Fun in the sun–who said it was necessary?
Then, in the midst this blazing hot day, while standing in line somewhere or sitting at a red light, we suddenly recall that we longed for this time. We get pounced with thoughts of frosted windshields, relentless pewter skies, assaulting winds and remember how eager we were for it all to end.
Yes, we longed for this degree. Though not to this degree. And although the longing was for something more tolerable, we begin to come into an understanding. We realize that there have been variances. Each day has in some way been different. Tomorrow will be different, and soon we’ll be longing for this time once more.
We find the gratitude. We feel the gratitude. Gratitude that despite the varying variances, we actually made it through to the next degree.