Futral’s 81º Symphony

I am not a musician and on a scale of one to ten when it comes to musical ability, I am generally about a minus two. In fact, to tell you how bad it is, the other day I was walking through the office singing and they were about to call 911 because they thought that I was in pain. Now while I may not be able to sing or play an instrument, I do listen to music. I appreciate some music, and I try to be tolerant of just about all music. This article is about Futral’s 81º Symphony. You may be familiar with Beethoven’s Symphony 5 or some of the works of other great artist of years gone by, but this one is different. It was August in Mississippi and on this particular day, I was up and heading out to get my morning walk in before 5 o’clock. The local news said that it was going to be hot and muggy, but then they gave the temperature before 5 o’clock and it was 81º. They went on to talk about the fact that our overnight lows were setting records for being high. Before any of the sunrays even began to penetrate the atmosphere, it was 81º and my kind of weather. So I headed out into the darkness. They were right! It was warm, humid and a Mississippi summer morning. I had not walked more than a hundred yards when I began to hear unusual sounds in our neighborhood. Normally, I am listening for the birds’ chirping, the squirrels’ noises and to all of the wildlife waking up, but I heard none of that. I began to hear the clicking, whirling, moaning and groaning of one air conditioner after another. As I walked, it seemed as though every air conditioner in the entire neighborhood was coming on or in the midst of struggling to pull the temperature down and maintain an inside atmosphere that was cool. With an 81º temperature and the sounds of air conditioners, I thought it sounded like an 81º Symphony. The further I walked the more the sounds seemed to intensify. My mind started to drift off and think about all of the huge electric bills that were piling up, but I refused to go there. I listened to the symphony of the ACs and thought about what a wonderful blessing God had given us. What a world we live in that in the midst of incredibly warm temperatures, suffocating heat and humidity we are able to find places that are cool. I remember growing up in this state when our family did not have an air conditioner. We did have one of those wonderful, modern, attic fans, but even then whether it was in the day or at night it was hot Mississippi weather. So the sounds I heard were as though a symphony was taking place among the air conditioners cooling off one family after another and providing music to my ears. As I walked and increasingly got warmer and the symphony of coolers continued, my mind was strangely drawn to that wonderful verse in James’ book that says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). I thought about how grateful I should be to live in a day with the technology that enables us to be cool when it is hot and to be warm when it is cold. I found my heart focused directly on the Lord. One after another in every sound I heard, God was providing blessings for my life. I just kept thinking about all of the things that I should be thankful for and that I may overlook and maybe I am not thankful for and possibly I even complain about. I thought about my work in a day and time when so many people are looking for work. I not only have a job, but I have a wonderful and meaningful job and work with the greatest people on earth. I thought about my health and the problems I do not have and the mobility that is mine. Whether it is getting in a car to go somewhere or getting out of the car and walking a great distance to get somewhere I am blessed. I thought about the mental clarity that God allows me to have to read, to think, to talk, to relate, to interact, to help, to react and to literally be involved in life. I thought about the capabilities that He has given me and at the same time the deficiencies that have been in my life that seem to strengthen me. God is good! Almost with every breath, well absolutely with every breath I am reminded that the next breath is also a gift from God. So as I finished my early morning walk it was still dark, the sun had not come up, and the air conditioners were continuing their symphony. With joy in my heart I got ready to go out and face a Mississippi summer day with a heat index of over 100º with joy and delight.

Jim Futral
Executive Director-Treasurer