"It Was Better Than Nothing"

“It was better than nothing!”

We both laughed after she accurately described the benefits of a “swamp cooler” during the hot summertime, back in the day. She spoke with 94 years of accumulated wisdom. Today’s worst central air system excels by far the best air conditioner of yesteryear. However, as Billie said, if a swamp cooler was all you had, it felt pretty good.

The main cooler we had was located in the den and blew across the supper table. It pumped water-cooled air and plenty of humidity into our house throughout the day and night. Sometimes the little water pump went on the blink, and my sisters and I took turns going outside and wetting down the cooling pads with the water hose. The hum of the motor required everyone to raise their voices a bit, but no one seemed to mind. It was much better than sitting in the sweltering heat inside a lightly insulated house.

The summer I was born was one of the hottest in history. Many of the summers of my youth included countless days with temperatures in excess of 100 degrees. In 1980 there were over 100 straight days of temperatures above the century mark. The days were hot, and my dad and I spent most of them working outside. Trying to beat the heat, Daddy sometimes adjusted the workday to miss the worst part of the day. I doubt that the neighbors appreciated it when we fired up the cement mixer just after the sun rose.

When we made it home, we were grateful for the swamp cooler’s effect on the air inside the house. It was better than nothing. It was the best we knew about. I am sure we thanked God for it – often. Godly gratitude spotlights what you have!

How about you? Do you make a big deal of the things you have and thank God for them often? Do you enjoy the positives in life or begrudge the negatives? Do you overlook what you have, while wishing for what you don’t have? Many, if not most people, do. Contentment is something that must be learned. When we learn the lesson well, we can say with the apostle Paul, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

Philippians 4:11,