Friday, December 12, 2008


Tonight, after I got back from a mission (after midnight), I was hurrying on my way back to my Containerized Housing Unit (CHU; aka, Dumpster) and passed by the thermometer I'd glance at when the weather was so hot, a few months ago. It felt *really* cold as I trudged along (I'd not brought a jacket with me, preferring to leave it in the office so I'd be sure to have it for my next mission), and I couldn't wait to get back 'home' and into bed.

Despite the cold, I spun around and retraced my steps back to the thermometer, because I wanted to know just what the temperature was. After all, I'm old and remember that my maternal grandmother always kept the temperature of her apartment on "broil" when I was a child, so I've been afraid that same phenomenon is about to happen to me, too.

This is the thermometer that read 130 degrees Fahrenheit one afternoon within a month of my arriving here, and 105 degrees one night as I was leaving the office long after darkness had set in. After a while I figured I needed just not to look at the darn thing, because knowing the temperature was just giving my broken brain more of a chance to do nasty things to my psyche.

I eventually weaned myself away from looking at the thing. Probably just as well.

It's easier to engage my well-honed powers of denial if I don't have all the information ready-to-hand.

This morning, having been warned in a dream or something, I put on my PT jacket over my PT shorts and long-sleeved shirt before going outside and down and around in order to do "personal hygiene" as they call it in the Army. (I sure won't miss having to go to two entirely different buildings to accomplish that mission, once I get home to the States!) An arctic blast assaulted my bare shins and sandaled feet. Good thing I'd remembered to pull on a knit cap before venturing outside!

Coming back from the shower was a delight. Not.

Anyway, I returned to the thermometer to compare its reading tonight (well by that time, it was this morning already, actually) with the 130 degrees I'd seen back in August.

Thirty-eight degrees Fahrenheit.

That's a full ninety-two (92!) degrees lower than the 130 degrees I experienced less than 90 days ago.


Sure would be nice to curl up in front of a crackling fire right about now.

Instead, I'm practicing being satisfied with remembering all my loved ones back home, and basking in the warm glow of gratitude for your presence and action in my life.

Try it sometime.

Blessings and peace to you in these troubled times,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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