Standing in line at the coffee shop all we talk about is the weather.
Cold enough for you? We sure could use some rain.
But what else should we talk about? What could be more important than the clouds, or simpler, or more beautiful? Or the wind or the rain? In fact, nothing is more important than walking to the window and looking at the sky and remembering we have bodies. That we live and we die.
In fact, nothing is more important than walking to the window and looking at the sky and remembering we have bodies.
This is why we talk about the weather: because there’s nothing we can do about it. Because the light, it comes and it goes. Because the clouds are now streaming in and they are moving above us, tearing over the rooftops and the trees.
To talk about the weather is to be in solidarity with everyone else who talks about the weather. We are all bleary, after all, and empty and dull, waiting for our morning lattes, and who knows what waits for us, down the long corridors and in the lonely rooms? What indifferent voices? What flickering screens?
Moses wanted to see God face to face but God said no, no one can see me and live. But here’s what I will do. I will put you in this cleft in the rock, and I will put my hand over the cleft, and I will run past you shouting my name—I AM! I AM!—and at the last moment, when I take my hand away, you will see what you will see.
This is why we talk about the weather: out of humility. Because the wind and the rain are all that we can bear.
I am protecting you, and you are protecting me, from our terrible loneliness. Our terrible grief.