It's been bitter cold these past few weeks. Bitter cold. The "this makes me not want to ever go outside" kind of cold. Temperatures in the low teens every day, sometimes dropping into the frigid single digits. It's all I can do to make it from the door to my car that is parked in the garage. I'm just glad there is never a significant windchill here in Utah.
The severity of the cold triggered a distant memory that I had all but forgotten. It was one of those moments in life when you sit back and think, "Thank God that I am blessed with what I have."
In March of 2008 we were driving back from a family vacation and we made our way through scenic Wyoming. It was getting pretty late and after fighting with some severely tired eyes we decided that it would be a good time to stop at a motel for the night. We found some cheap, musty hotel just off the freeway and I ran inside to book the room. The freezing air whipped all around me as I jumped back in the car with room key in hand. We parked in our appropriated parking spot and jumped out to unload the kids and the necessary bags for our quick night's stay.
I opened the back door of the car and pulled out my little 4 year-old boy who was fast asleep. We had to climb some stairs to get to our room, and their were lots of bags to haul in, so I needed him to stand up and walk by himself. When I placed him on the ground he stumbled because of the drowsiness and howling wind. He began to cry because it was so windy and unbearably cold, and he was going to have to walk alone up the tall staircase.
As I bent over to put his coat on, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I had a coat for him to wear. My mind caught a small glimpse of what it would have been like to have to take my poor children and travel with them across the plains as did the early Mormon pioneers and other settlers. I had something they didn't. I had the luxury of putting a coat on my child, and a nice pair of shoes, and I had the liberty of telling them that they would be in a warm place in just one minute.
Can you even begin to imagine the heartache and pain of having your children exposed to the harsh and frigid elements and not being able to do anything about it? Not being able to place a warm jacket on them or bring them into a nice cozy home warmed by a nice modern heating system? Those dear pioneers who lost children due to exposure - my mind and heart can't even comprehend it.
God bless all those who are out in the cold. God bless all those children who need a blanket, a nice meal, and the assurance that they will soon be somewhere warm.