The power of warmth is singular and undeniable. I am speaking about warmth in all its various forms.
Everyone can identify with sitting in a building, where the central air conditioning is blasting; turning comfortable coolness into a frigid chill that usually threatens to put you to sleep. Using every means at your disposal, whether it is putting on a sweater, pulling a blanket over you or running in place, one is left with no choice other than to just go outside and warm up.
The moment that you emerge from the frigid cold to the over 90 degree heat is transcendent. In those first few moments, you can’t feel the stifling heat that typically threatens to steal your breathe, with prolonged exposure. All you feel is this comfortable, cloaking warmth that seems to seep into every pour of every exposed inch of skin. It compels you to smile, despite the type of day you may be having, and turn your face up to the sun, absorbing every cell-thawing ray.
What about lying in a cold bed? Whether the bed is cold because of an over ambitious AC unit or whether it’s cold because the bite of winter is seeping through invisible cracks in the walls; we all can identify with lying under cold covers; rubbing your legs and feet together desperately trying to warm them, when someone walks up and takes a blanket, fresh out of the dryer and drapes it over you. The warmth from the blanket is pervasive; and almost immediately lulls you to sleep.
The state of the natural world is one of unimaginable cold. There are plenty of barren planets in the universe that spin through the cosmos, wastelands of cold, mostly devoid of life. But when a sun is present, radiating heat; that’s typically when the magic happens; and the precise reason that Earth was able to become what it is.
That same magic happens between individuals as well. An exchange of warmth can come in the form of an embrace, a kind word or even a smile. All of these gestures are effortless, timeless and don’t cost a dime. Despite how cost effective they are, these acts of kindness are becoming few and far between. Although technology is a wonderful thing; it has made communication far more impersonal. People cannot even exchange a smile, as they pass on the sidewalk, since we all have our faces buried in our cell phones.
The best way to stoke the warmth in our daily lives is to give it to those around us. Trade in complacency for kindness. Just because you live with your spouse, your parents or your children; and just because you have certain expectations about the things that they are responsible for, doesn’t mean that we can’t say thank you for their efforts.
A genuine smile and a kind hello can brighten some of our darkest hours. The warmth of human exchange can lead to greater understanding and could save us all; bringing us closer together, rather than tearing us further apart. If warmth is strong enough to spark planetary evolution, maybe it could spark human social evolution as well; and truly be a force against cynicism and nihilism.