Cold Showers

Every morning for as long as he could, my grandfather slid out of bed before the sun rose and took a cold shower. Now, granted, he lived in the warm climes of southern Alabama, and the waves of heat there appear more like tsunamis of heat. But let me tell you, cold showers in the early morning of southern Alabama feel pretty much the same as cold showers anywhere else. They’re cold.

Every evening, my grandfather came back to a house without air conditioning. He did prop a fan in the window, but that seemed more like a concession to his wimpy family than anything he needed. In a house he’d built himself that had little insulation and a tin roof, the fan pretty much blew hot air around.

But he just made it work. These inconveniences weren’t a challenge; they were opportunities. No water heater? Take cold showers. Three channels on TV? Talk when nothing’s on. No clothes dryer? Hang them up on a line. No phone? Go to your daughter’s house and use hers (though I can’t remember him ever doing so). Something breaks? Don’t buy a new one; fix it.

When I pull myself away from my iPhone, I’m sometimes struck with how different my life is. There’s never a drop of cold water anywhere near my shower. My first instinct is to buy what I need, never to make it. In the evenings, I have to force my mind to stay present on my family instead of drifting away to what important social media updates I’m missing.

But it’s not really the technology differences that hit the hardest. You see, there was a depth to my grandfather that I’ve found much harder to emulate. I’m often too distracted to get there. He just moved and breathed faith; it naturally flowed from his character. Yet I struggle to stay afloat in an ocean of distractions.

Perhaps those cold showers really would do me some good.

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