Flip-flopping and Fires

Illinois and England are worlds apart in numerous ways, but one of their commonalities is weather-orientated conversation.

As a well-versed Brit, I’m adept at bringing the weather into any small talk because no doubt there is rain to bemoan, surprising sunshine to wonder at or clouds that cause us to ponder which weather front is around the corner.

Here, in Illinois, it’s more of an extreme flip-flop. On a Monday we might be in snow boots and wooly hats but by Saturday the shorts and t-shirts are back on and we’re bbq-ing in the garden. It means that the boys are constantly bemused by the fact I’m insisting on them wearing trousers when they distinctly remembers shorts being the order of the day not long ago. They’ve already forgotten that cold snap that took us by surprise as we found ourselves halfway to the park before we realised that coats were very necessary.

We’ve just come to the end of a gloriously unseasonable hot November week. It felt like a final attempt to push back the imminent winter isolation that these Covid times bring. We filled our week with people in parks, and playdates in the backyard, and making the most of the freedom of meeting up outside. Bonfire night style sparkers were even waved around while in t-shirts. The cold is edging back in now, and as the sun slips away by half four, we find ourselves thinking it’s night time before our final meal has even been eaten. Billy often races to get his pyjamas as he sees the sun going down, assuming that bedtime is just around the corner.

We’re grateful that, despite the drop in temperature, our church small group are still meeting outside in our backyard. The fire is lit, hot mugs of tea nestled in gloved hands, sleeping bags and many layers are on, and we continue to share life and dig into Jesus-pointing truths that remind us of that certain, unchanging hope we have as everything else – including the stats and seasons – shifts and shuffles around us.

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