I keep my phone's weather option on several locations: here (currently 46), my hometown (39), favorite vacation spots (Camden, ME, 27), and pipe dreams (Bogotá, Colombia ... 68?! let's all learn Spanish and move to Colombia!). I scroll through all these places when I'm getting ready for bed and I'm bored out of my gourd, and I've seen some terrifyingly cold temperatures. Not here in Texas, of course, but all over the planet. Poor Camden: Being a coastal town is of no benefit when it drops to -9 degrees. Most of you would laugh at the pathetic Texas weather, but 30 degrees is still no day at the beach (unless that beach is Lincolnville Beach just north of Camden, ME).
Enter my Anglican rosary.
On days when Chris gets home from the nightshift and has no interests but sleep, it's my job to let the doggies out at 11:00AM. (It used to be noon, but Hammy keeps pushing it back. He still isn't allowed out at 10:00AM though.) I sit on the couch in the garage (yes, we have a couch in our garage), pray my little rosary, and bring Bors back in because Hammy's an idiot and wants to stay outside for hours. One particularly cold day, I got a fourth of the way through my rosary, and Bors and I ran inside. Later, another cold day, I determined to say the whole thing. I was in jim-jams and a light hoody, and it was cold. And it began to occur to me: Sure, I was freezing in the ten minutes it took to say prayers to Mary, but there were people who were in the cold who had little covering and no warm house to run into when their business outside. The homeless get kicked out of their shelters, should they have stayed in one, in the morning ... then what? If it's below freezing, the Presbyterian Church will open its doors early (that's also where the soup kitchen is). But to be below freezing here is a feat indeed, and hypothermia can set in at 50 degrees. Bleh.
So I use my time with my rosary to meditate on the homeless. If I were really awesome, I'd come up with prayers just for the homeless and poor to say on the beads, but I've only been Episcopalian for two months after about 8 years off, so I'm out of practice.
In spite of the catalogs showing up at my door with their spring lines already out, we're just in the middle of winter. Last year's batches of hats are off in Idaho, but I still have an extra coat I can donate, and the need for socks and underwear and gloves is ever-present. There's prayers to say and things to do and stuff to give. So just because Christmas goodwill is over, and it's Epiphany season, and Lent is fast-approaching--don't let those things stop you from helping those who need it most.
(By the way, rosary by Rachel Rode.)