Wednesday, June 24, 2009

An Ode to Air Conditioning

The air is hot and so am I.  Work in the yard and garden is restricted now to just the earliest hours of the morning, and even then, I come in drenched with sweat.  Like most other people, I'm keeping the temperature in the house much higher than I have before, but the compressor still seems to run most of the time anyway.

At least it is comfortable.  I know what it is like to live in this area without air conditioning.  When my folks first moved to Texas, they rented a large house near downtown Dallas for a couple of years.  The house was quite old, and built to help deal with the extreme heat.  Deep porches and awnings over the windows kept the sun's rays off the interior windows.  Windows themselves opened easily and were situated to maximize any possible breezes.  Deciduous trees were strategically planted to provide the best shade in summer and the most sun in winter.  An upstairs screened-in porch provided some nighttime relief for sleep.  Smaller rooms could be closed off from one another, so when we did finally break down and purchase a window air conditioning unit, we could keep at least one section comfortable.  Even with all this, the house was just pretty darn miserable for the summer months. 

I don't know who invented air conditioning, but I surely am grateful to that person and to all who have improved the temperature control systems over the years.  Without those systems, this city and many others in the deep south would have stayed quite small. 

Discomfort is a great motivator for creative minds to get to work and come up with ways to relieve it.  I often hear of people speaking of "comfort zones" in a negative or disparaging way, as though there is something wrong with comfort itself.  I think comfort is very much like money--there is nothing intrinsically wrong with either.  It is only when money and/or comfort become the object of our worship and the center of our affections that they become problematic.  As the Bible says, "the LOVE of money is the root of all evil."  Not money--money itself is necessary for many things.  It's the love of it, it is the making of it the center of our lives that causes problems.  Same with comfort--by all means, let us seek to be comfortable.  Let us enjoy our comfortable settings, comfortable rituals, comfortable patterns, comfortable relationships.  They only become wrong when comfort becomes more important than giving honor to God and living in right relationship with each other.

As I muse a little more on my comfort, I am forced to confront the fact that there are some who have little.  Some do not have air conditioning in their homes, or can't pay for the electricity in order to run those the units they do have.  This looks like a hot summer coming up.  People will die from unrelieved heat, especially the vulnerable elderly.  I wonder if all the comfortable ones would consider making a daily check on the ones that they know that may not be as comfortable.  Do you have an elderly neighbor?  Friend who might be in such financial straits that they can't afford to cool their living spaces?  Why not give them a call, make sure they are OK, invite them to spend the night or find some cool daytime relief at your place?  A little move out of your own comfort zone might save a life.  Just something to ponder as we seek first the kingdom of God, knowing that in so doing, all things are added to us.


Rain said...

I really thankful that a/c units were invented for it really helps people like me who really needs cool air. I can't afford to sleep if it is not cold and headache will come on me if the environment is warm. Thanks I had already installed our new split system air conditioning on my room.

Naoki Dieter said...

It is nice of you to be considerate to your neighbors. It is rewarding to know that you can help others in simple ways like sharing the comfort of having an AC at home. That is why I keep my AC units up and running by having a regular maintenance especially during summer. Don’t you just think they are awesome little machines?

Darryl Iorio said...

“Discomfort is a great motivator for creative minds to get to work and come up with ways to relieve it.”--- Yeah, I have to agree with this. Worrying over a certain problem gives me a reason to do my best to create a solution for it. You may find it strange, but there are really some people who are somewhat motivated by distress. Moreover, it’s great how good you are thinking about the other’s comfort. Well, if you can share the comfort that an AC can offer, then why not? It’s really a good idea!

Georgia Fuller said...

I’m thankful too for W.Carrier for inventing the AC! This little machine is a big blessing especially during the summer. I can’t imagine one summer day without an AC! Anyway, that’s very generous of you to think of sharing your AC! Sharing your blessings is a very good act! Keep it up!

-Georgia Fuller

William J. said...

An air conditioner that simply won’t come on may indicate a problem with the thermostat. Set your thermostat to cool and bump down the temperature setting, then check your electrical panel for a tripped breaker or blown fuse.