I was a bit suspicious on Saturday evening that something wasn’t just right in my attic. Metaphorically speaking, of course, there’s always something a bit screwy in my attic. At this point, though, I’m referring to the literal attic that sits right near the top of our old house, the big empty wooden room that gets hotter than blazes in the summer and colder than frozen britches in the winter. It’s also where the furnace and ductwork for the second floor are located. The same ductwork from which tepid air, not cold air was flowing on Saturday evening. A clue.
The other clue that something wasn’t quite right was the fact that the temperature reading on the little electronic control unit on the wall was eighty-two degrees and the thermostat was set on seventy-eight. Another clue.
Of course, the big clue that set me on the path of discovery leading to the others was the brace of warm air that greeted us when we headed upstairs to bed Saturday night. So, we opened some windows and cranked up the fan. Not great but tolerable.
So as not to be accused of jumping to conclusions and wasting money due to some thermal panic, I held off on calling our heat and air repairman. By bedtime Sunday, the upstairs temperature had climbed up to eighty-five, a bit higher than is comfortable for sleeping in my spoiled life of wanton indulgence. So, we opened the windows again.
What a fine breeze was blowing in from the north! Our house has twenty-five functioning windows and another half-dozen fixed pane units plus three more basement windows. I contented myself with opening only nine of the ones that are designed to open. Within fifteen minutes, the inside temperature had dropped noticeably. By morning, it was sixty-eight degrees in the dining room.
I celebrated by calling Sharp’s Heating & Cooling. The nice lady who answers their calls assured me that Dave would be here the next morning at nine-fifteen. He was. He came and checked the electrical contacts, re-charged the AC unit with refrigerant and washed out the cottonwood seeds that had pretty well sealed the vents around the exchange unit. Even though the air conditioner was working fine then, we left the windows open for another day.
Sometimes, undesired challenges bring us unexpected blessings. It was refreshing to have cool air in July, a very pleasant coming of cool breezes. But I have learned, too, that we often deceive ourselves into believing that a temporary reprieve is a long-term fix. Any time a drug addict quits using for a week or an abusive spouse acts nice for a little while, we try to convince ourselves that the problem is gone. When we ourselves go for a month without slipping back into our old pattern, we want to believe we’re fixed, even though nothing has really changed on the inside.
When it comes to sin, shame and broken lives, moratorium is not the answer. We need more than a brief breeze of relief; we need the winds of change.
We need healing.