Whether the Weather

Everybody talks about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it.

Mark Twain (maybe)

When you arrive in a new area, one thing everyone wants to tell you about is the weather. Usually, why the weather where you have just arrived is weirder, more unpredictable, or generally worse than the weather anywhere else on the planet. Maybe I don’t move to the right places, but I don’t recall moving anywhere and having someone tell me how great the weather is there.

It snows a lot in upstate New York—yet it didn’t, that year. The sun never shines in Germany—yet it did, a lot. It rains all the time near Seattle—yet we’ve had a fair bit of sun this week. Why are people so quick to point out what they see as the drawbacks of their local weather? Have we become a society of “the glass is half-empty” types? Perhaps. I think we just like to complain and to catastrophize.

I was in the grocery recently behind a woman who was have some difficulty with the self-checkout. It wasn’t that she didn’t know how to operate it, she just had a few items that the machine was reticent to recognize. She made a comment to no one in particular about how it always did that and the dumb thing never seemed to work right. We overlook the thousands of items it instantly works correctly and focus on the handful that it doesn’t.

We ignore the string of sunny days and focus on the rainy, windy day. It is an easy habit to fall into but it makes us unhappy, discontented people. This is why we are so fixated on the “problem of evil” while ignoring the mystery of the good. Evil is still an anomaly in most people’s lives, and we should be thankful that is the case instead of fixating on the bad.

The bad seems ingrained in our collective psyche, though. We always talk about the leading causes of death and injury. That’s a losing battle; no matter what we do, there will always be a leading cause of death. All we can do is shuffle them around a bit. Why not be glad how many causes of death and disease we have reduced if not eliminated. Not many people die of the black plague anymore. Smallpox, measles, whooping cough, and a whole host of other ailments are in check. When’s the last time you had a neighbor mauled by wolves?

I expect it to rain some days. I spent a summer in Iraq where it didn’t rain for months. Not even a cloud in the sky. When I saw the first little cloud after a few months of that I was reminded of the story in 1 Kings 18 when Elijah tells Ahab to get moving lest the rain stop him, even though it hadn’t rained in over three years.

All weather is good weather, even if it might not be good for what you want to do at the moment. When I get a chance to introduce someone to a new region, I will try to make an effort to tell them how great the weather is. Maybe it will help them see the sun and the rain as the gifts of God they are.


1 thought on “Whether the Weather”

  1. Dennis Prager, in his book Happiness Is a Serious Problem, calls this The Missing Tile Syndrome. You have a ceiling of tiles, all of them can be perfect, but you notice the one that’s missing.

    The weather here in Hawaii is great! You should visit sometime.

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