Whenever I'm in trouble, I pray. And because I'm in trouble all of the time, I pray almost constantly.
- Isaac Bashevis Singer
I try not to write about the weather. It feels like a copout. But how can I ignore this blistering heat wave? I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. It’s making everyone’s life miserable.
I was out on our block, West 30th St., walking Millie extra early this morning and already the city air was shimmering with heat, the humidity rising as fast as the temperature, another hot and slimy day in a seemingly endless onslaught of dangerously high temperatures.
Normally I think the dreaded “heat index” is as silly as the “wind-chill factor.” The temperature is the temperature, right? Why create measurements that make it seem even worse? This weather, though, has me worried. The heat index was predicted to be well into triple digits today. There are a lot of people who could suffer.
I live with two females who not do well in warm weather, which means a heat wave like this is double trouble for me. Julee, my wife, can never decide which she hates more, heat or humidity, so she complains about both with equal vehemence and keeps the air conditioner on high continuously. I am forbidden to adjust it. “You should live in a mall,” I always tell her.
And Millie is pathetic, especially considering that she was born in Florida. “You should do fine with this weather!” I tell her. Instead she droops her head, her tongue lolling out, panting, as she slinks to a crawl. She looks up at me as if it is all my fault, as if I’ve somehow let things get out of control. Last night one of the guys at the newsstand poured a bottle of cold water over her head. That helped a little bit.
So this morning we got out extra early in order to beat the heat. I was a little worried about waking Julee up. Not a problem. You could hardly hear anything over the roar of the air conditioner.
Millie and I walked east and uptown a block until we found ourselves in front of St. Francis of Assisi Church, on West 31st St. A few Franciscans were milling outside in their heavy brown cassocks. How do they deal with the heat dressed like that? I wondered. Most New Yorkers were wearing as little clothing as possible.
Millie wiggled her way over, eager to say hi. She is the most sociable dog I’ve ever had and the heat does not inhibit her in this regard. She always wants to make friends. One of the Franciscans crouched down to greet her.
“How is she doing in this heat?” he asked.
“Hates it,” I said.
“Give her lots of fresh water.”
“With a little ice in it.”
“May I say a prayer for her?”
“That would be great.”
“Father of all creatures, please keep this gentle, beautiful animal cool and comfortable today, and all those who are like her. Amen.”
“Will you say one for her friend Winky too?”
“I will pray for Winky.”
“And add one for my wife, when you get a chance?”
“Certainly. God bless you.”
“Thank you, Father. You too.”
Millie and I turned the corner and headed home. I think there was a little spring in my dog’s step. Prayer can do that. I would remember to say a few of my own for all the people who are suffering in this heat wave. It’s the least I can do until the weather breaks.
What are you doing to keep cool in this heat? Post below.
Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of Guideposts Publications. Edward lives in New York City with two blondes—his wife, Julee, and Golden Retriever, Millie, who has been featured in his blog and popular videos. Edward loves cycling, hiking with Millie at his house in the Berkshire Hills and Wolverines that hail from Michigan.
If you need a little boost of inspiration, pick up a copy of Edward's book The Promise of Hope: How True Stories of Hope and Inspiration Saved My Life and How They Can Transform Yours.