You know there are seasons in a person’s life when joy comes a little easier than other times. Well, let me tell you hot season in Niger is not one of those. This has been an especially challenging one with a couple of days when we had no electricity (not to mention the regular interruptions), three consecutive days of +48C (47C in the shade!). I have had to remind myself over and over this week that joy is a decision and that I am going to choose joy and look for the good (this is a real challenge when everyone around you is complaining about the weather and there is a lot of good reason to do so). So, I prefer to think of this as mango season and the mangos have been exceptionally good this year. When the sweat is dripping off every portion of your limbs that extend in any direction what so ever I try to think of it as a weight loss plan—I know that loosing water is not really weight loss, but carting around the sweat soaked clothes that weight an extra few pounds in sweat has got to count for something.
There are also the extra opportunities to relate to those around you because you can’t greet someone without making at least a few comments about the weather or the power. I had the opportunity to make a new friend the other day; we went to a restaurant that we knew would not only have air conditioning but also has a generator (so the air still works even when the power is out everywhere else). There was a mom with a six month old there, trying to do the same thing we were—escape from the heat even if for only a half hour. So we started talking to her about her time in Niger and her plans (she had decided that she needed to head home to France for many reasons) and we told her about what we were doing here a bit. I got to hold and have a good visit with her daughter so that she could enjoy her chocolate cake without “extra help” and then we went our separate ways. I don’t expect that I will every meet my new friend again, but you never know when God will use those small encounters for something beyond what you thought possible and I can at least pray.
Note: I started writing this a few days ago and this morning as I post this I feel anything but joy, but I guess that is where the choice comes in!