Saunas have magical features. They include circulation, warmth, contrast, and a renewed sense of peace and contentment. I willingly testify to and strongly affirm the traditional benefits. Something magical happens in the contrast between temperature extremes. Whatever it is, it improves when you share it with a friend. It is a life affirming moment that reinforces the best within and potentially highlights what needs to be brought into battle.
It is in the latter that I find a rarely discussed in the heat. You cannot hide from what is. You may not be able to talk about it, but you know it is there. You may name what you see, but you do see a glimpse of the truth that is clearer than at any point in your life. For me, the sight is simply what is there. I do not sense a meditative judgment of good or bad; just recognition of what is already true. The sight does not come when everything is moderate, just when it sits on the edge of serious heat. Most individuals can cruise with a 200 combination (Fahrenheit plus humidity). When one increases it to the combo to 220 or higher, it begins to get intense. It is in this intensity that reality sees its birth.
Last night, if I was candid, I would have shared my perspective; “our wrongdoings pile up before you, God, our sins stand up and accuse us. Our wrongdoings stare us down; we know in detail what we've done: mocking and denying God, not following our God, spreading false rumors, inciting sedition, pregnant with lies, muttering malice.” (Isaiah 59.12, 13) We live in an ugly world, often of our own creation.
Yet the sauna story never ends in the heat, at least a complete one. There is always a dip to highlight the extreme. As the cold hit my joints right up through my core, I knew there was more without than within. Our God is greater than my evil. Our God is bigger than my failure. Our God restores, recreates, and gives us peace.
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