Feeling the Heat

August 25, 2017

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

August has been nothing but “feels like” temperatures over 100 degrees, twice-a-day trips to the barn to doctor a horse who is getting a little fed up with the routine*, buckets of sweat, changing my clothes two and three times a day, and trying to muster enough energy to keep up with the rest of my life. When I think about the past few weeks, I think of the word “heat”—both physical heat, and the “heat” of adversity.

Caring for an injured horse in August in Florida qualifies as adversity in that it’s physically grueling, expensive, worrisome, and the time and energy I’m expending taking care of him is being drawn from other areas of my life. It’s not a devastating situation, but it is challenging.

Life has turned up the heat—and while I may complain about it, heat is not all bad. We cook with it and create beautiful and useful things with it. Heat both softens and hardens. It strengthens and refines.

Heat—adversity—in our lives does the same for us. It distills and purifies our best qualities. It both softens our hearts and hardens our resolve. Sometimes it brings to light our worst qualities so we can acknowledge and work on them. If we never face even the smallest amount of adversity, we’ll be ill-equipped to cope when one of life’s inevitable traumas occurs.

Richelle E. Goodrich wrote in Making Wishes, “If you couldn’t sense heat, you’d not be alive. And if that heat never grew uncomfortable, you would never move. And if you were stagnant—unchallenged by unpredictable flares—you would never grow capable of shielding yourself from harsher flames. So yes, life was meant to drag you straight through the fire.”  

Coping with Tank’s minor injury has forced me to overcome laziness, become more creative, and plan more carefully so I can keep up with other responsibilities. I’ve had to pare away some inessentials because I simply do not have time or energy for them. I’ve had to push myself when I wanted to quit, and I’ve had to lie down and take a nap because I was too tired to do one more thing.

I like adversity about as much as I like August (not much, in case I’ve been unclear). I don’t wish for it, but I also try not to wish it away because I know there’s value in it. I learn, I grow, I become a more refined version of me. One better able to handle whatever adversity life chooses to throw at me next.

What has adversity taught you?

*Turns out, Tank has an abscessed tooth. The facial wound he presented three weeks ago was probably made by rubbing his face to relieve the pressure. The vet lanced the abscess, put him on antibiotics, and I continue to flush the wound twice a day. It’s just as much fun as it sounds.

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  1. Poor Tank. I hope he's getting better.

    1. I think he is, slowly. Thanks for your good wishes!

  2. Dear Kathy - was hoping Tank was doing better and you were starting to see cooler temps.
    Having been through some adversity myself - I totally get it friend - we have to go through it at times and it can work good in us if we allow it.
    In the meantime the "going through" to get to the other side can be challenging. Hang in there girlfriend - you will come through. Hugs!

    1. Debbie--Jury is still out on whether current treatment will be enough to solve Tank's problem. The good news is, it's not life-threatening, or apparently, even very painful at this point. We're watching and waiting to see if he has to have the tooth pulled. The weather...well, we won't see cooler temps for a while yet--just have to endure. I'm trying to be patient and present rather than wishing the time away, but I admit that it's tough.