"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!" We have all heard this phrase, haven't we? It is usually offered as pithy cliche advice, and is the simplest of messages. Don't be or do what you don't want to be or do. Its that simple. Or is it?
Up until recently, I did see it as just that simple... Because when we are "being and doing" what we want to "be and do," we DO stand the heat. We do what needs to be done. We have no problem "being" because we are at peace -- in the "heat" of our challenges, or in the "coolness" of our triumphs. "Getting out of the kitchen" in this case is not an ultimatum, then, it is a consequence! It is a consequence of discovering if the "heat" we find ourselves in is worth it for our long-term vision of who we envision being.
This is not the first time I have humbly discovered that perhaps I was a bit naive. Because I wasn't emotionally prepared to deal with this phrase LITERALLY, as both of ISDDC's 30-year-old air conditioning units took their last gasps a couple of weeks ago, leaving us with a sweltering spiritual home during the summer's most intense heat wave.
"If you can't stand the heat..."
Now it was feeling like a challenge from Spirit, both literally AND metaphorically...
As a community, we're being asked, "can we stand having our services and other events in the steamy sanctuary?" at the same time we are being asked "can you stand the heat of having to face the hard truth of a huge price tag to replace these units?
As leaders, we who serve as ministers and trustees are being asked "can you stand the heat of having to make swift and potentially difficult decisions in order to resolve this issue that MUST be resolved in order to continue providing a comfortable and convenient space for all seekers to celebrate Spirit?
As a pastor, I am being asked "can you take the heat of being the face of this issue? And for shepherding the issue through until success is reached?
The thing is, we're being asked if we can take the heat as we literally are IN THE HEAT. And boy, can that heat wear you down.
So, we take baby steps. We have a portable AC in the Fellowship Hall, which has given us some relief, and allowed us to once again experience being comfortable in Sunday Services and at classes.
The Board of Trustees has been having ongoing meetings to review financial options that will help us get a new AC system as swiftly, and responsibly, as possible.
I will continue to find ways to keep us cool in our downstairs space while maintaining the sacredness of our spiritual offerings. I will have the tenacity to encourage those members who made their annual pledge at the beginning of the year to please do their best to fulfill that pledge. And I will have the audacity to ask those members who HAVE been financially supportive of our Spiritual Community consider donating even more to help us reach the $10-$14K that it will cost to get new units.
I am pretty sure that most of us have had some significant discomfort with heat at some point this summer (likely to the point of not being able to stand it) so I ask everyone to do a little more than just getting out of "the kitchen." I am suggesting that we work as a community to ensure that we actually STAY in the "kitchen," supporting the solutions that cool down soon, and that keep it cool for at least another 30 years.
So yeah, I went there. In talking about the "heat" of this summer
in this blog post, I turned it up even more.
Because soon, when we are sitting in our cool, comfortable Sanctuary, I want us to look around, smile at one another and know that when the heat got turned up, we as a community said, "bring it on...we got this..." We'll have "kept our cool," and manifest yet another Miracle for our magical Spiritual Community.
The heat is on!
But we are soooooo cool.