Are we spoiled? That long spell of hot days kept a lot of people inside, or riding in an air-conditioned vehicle. Several of my picnic meals were inside, due to the heat. Let’s look at the word “spoiled.”

1. Reminiscent of some unpleasant odors, spoiled means “made unfit for use,” such as in rotten apples or potatoes. 2.Generally, when speaking of a cushy lifestyle or naughty children, we use that word. In this context it means “pampered, giving too much attention.” I hear about children being spoiled, and I have seen a few. I’d even admit to being a grandparent who does a little spoiling. By that I mean when a grandchild asks to play a game outside, go to the playground, sled ride, or play table games, I drop everything. It doesn’t mean there are no rules. It doesn’t mean I allow them to do something dangerous to themselves or others. To my way of thinking, “spoiled” is spelled “T...I...M...E” and I make no apology for it.

But today I’m thinking of being pampered beyond what we knew in past years. One case in point is that of having air conditioning almost everywhere. I know of outdoor and non-air-conditioned settings, especially farming, highway workers, and building or fixing and painting things in the out-of-doors. Perhaps those who work in those circumstances look forward to getting in their vehicle and drive home to a cool house.

Until about 25 years ago, I didn’t have AC in my car, now I “need” it. It was about 20 years ago we got central air in the house. Before that we used fans, and back to my childhood, we had neither. My school and church had no AC either. I never imagined having cool temperatures in most places we go during summer.

These days, I get cold in the produce and dairy sections of the grocery stores. In the old days, Kline’s grocery store in Kratzerville was our weekly one stop shopping center. There was a space in the store where we could visit with neighbors on Saturday night, but there was no air conditioning. I did play hide and seek in the much cooler basement of that store where there were shelves of shoes, toys, clothes, farm products, automobile oil, coal buckets and various other needs for local residents.

I realize you are not all as “mature” in age as I, but probably most of you remember days when you had no AC. In those summer days we played and worked inside or outside without it. The farmers may have looked for a shade tree under which they ate a quick lunch. But now, many farmers even have AC on their tractors, and kids play inside AC homes.

I love the outdoors for gardening and walking the streets of New Berlin, but admit to enjoying our AC house and car. Spoiled? I guess I must plead guilty to the pampered meaning of the word. When Paul worked at Boy-Ar-Dee’s (through all the name changes) his working temperatures reached 120. I felt sad about that, and was proud of his fortitude in the work place.

Our daughters and grand kids reminisce sometimes about how hot it was to sleep upstairs in my parents’ house. I well remember living in that house and agree. The only difference in our home where they grew up was that we used fans. Now we all have AC. It’s amazing how we get used to things, and then think we can’t live without them. Spoiled? Yes, we are.

I always like to make a spiritual application to my column, and I came up “cold” for a few moments. Then I thought of how the soldiers in the Civil War wore long-sleeved wool jackets and trousers in the summer. It makes me itch and sweat to even think about it.

But the heat that ultimately comes to mind spiritually is that of what the Bible calls Hell. The description of it is worse than anything we could imagine. A fire that is never quenched.

But I won’t leave this column on a negative note. Matthew 25:46 says the unsaved “will go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous (repentant and saved by the blood of Jesus Christ) will go into Heaven with eternal life.” God has given us a way to escape eternal punishment, but also the way to live a more abundant life right here, right now. This is by believing in Jesus Christ (in his own words in John 14:6) “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me.”

So now we have AC in the car, in the house, at church, in schools, theaters, and everywhere in between. And a solid hope of life everlasting with our perfect, Holy God.

Betty Blyler lives in New Berlin. For comments, questions or speaking engagements, e-mail:

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