Heat Seeker


"The world is a lizard's furnace."
from Ellen Melloy, in "The Last Cheater's Waltz"

Now that the high-altitude weather is warming, it's pretty common to find quick little lizards basking and skittering away across rocks by our dirt hiking trails. Lizards are cold blooded. Grade school text books say so. But, reptiles don't actually have 'cold blood.' I just learned that experts use the word "ecothermic" instead. But both terms say the same thing and it all means a lizard's body temperature is not stabilized. Most of their heat has to be derived from their surroundings. Some get darker when it's cold and lighter when it's hot, in order to absorb or reflect the sun's rays. And, I find myself drawn to the lizard because sometimes I feel similarly ecothermic. I am a heat seeker.

If the world is my furnace then I am almost always trying to turn up the thermostat. I am usually cold. Even though my internal temperature runs pretty consistently at 98.6 degrees I am constantly managing heat. My friends know it and let me borrow socks and sweaters, or cover me with their throw blankets. I force my sweating children to wear extra layers because of my own inner chill. My menopausal friends offer me the hot-flash layers they have just shed and I offer to fan them in return. And, when it's overcast and rainy like today, a scalding hot shower or bath beckons me the same way a sun-baked rock calls a lizard.

Next week, our family is going backpacking for 4 days. We are all looking forward to it, even though there are times when it's really challenging work. The packing has to be intentional. The course has to be carefully mapped and chosen. Food has to be measured out and planned. And, keeping a positive attitude is perhaps the most difficult aspect of it all. Trekking out of civilization into the wilderness has taught me that the most radical and remote beauty in life is free, but hard won. And for me, the most difficult struggle in pursuing wild beauty isn't about food, or the trail ... it's about holding my heat. Nothing will ruins my attitude quicker than rain and cold. Cold is the enemy of the heat-seeker.

My current chill from the rain has me thinking about the other ways my life needs heat. I'm not talking about my body anymore. I mean the kind of inner heat that warms the life back into a soul. Lately I'm thinking about that type of inner lightness & heat. And lately I've been evaluating where I need to go to find it.
I'm the kind of person that needs to consistently time-out myself in order to be alone; "alone time" as my sons call it. After being with a lot of people, I need a battery re-charge. But there's a flip side. Too much alone time, turned into isolation, can make me feel depreesed, rainy and cold. When that cold sets in, it gets hard to move. My ability to find light slows down. I get sluggish and despondent. I lose perspective and don't choose what I need. I need 'heat.'

Practically speaking, it takes a while to figure out what small things help fan the warmth of life back into cold places. It means a watching for the places to bask ... the sun-baked rocks. These things are our personal hot spots. And, for me, they are the things of relationship. My warming places are deep conversations with friends, writing, time with my family, reading God words, and engaging God's Spirit with prayer or worship. These are things I have to choose to receive and engage. They are interactive gifts that reflect the Being who created them. My sun-baked rocks wake me up and point me back to the one big flaming Energy Source in my life. I just have to choose to be a little more lizard-like, find the rock, and soak in the heat.
So, what are your sun-baked rocks? What are the things that renew your energy, reheat your passion, and refuel your soul?

Today's thought fits into 5 words:
"Seek heat. Soak it in."


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