June 17, 2020
Part of my typical Sunday morning routine is to stop by the tech booth in the Worship Center, chat with the crew and check the temperature and humidity levels. The humidity level in the Worship Center varies quite a bit, and that variation influences the way our equipment works. What has been a frustration of mine is the fact that our air handling system brings in so much outside air. That means that in the winter, we are trying to heat really cold (and very dry) air, and in the summer we are trying to cool really hot (and very humid) air. It seems to me that if we didn't have to bring in so much outside air, our system would run more efficiently. However, that is "how it seems to me," not exactly how it actually is. In fact, what has been a frustration of mine is actually a very good thing, as I am learning.
Our air handling system is not faulty. It works according to standards established for buildings designed like ours, and now, I am really glad. Here's why: Six months into the pandemic, we are learning more and more about the disease, how to treat it, and how it spreads. There is a lot more to learn, but so far, researchers have found out that while the virus can live for a time on surfaces, it is unlikely to be spread that way. It is much more likely to be spread through close personal interaction (like laughing, shouting, coughing and sneezing) in smaller spaces where there is poor ventilation and air circulation.
For example, it would be a terrible idea to put 100 people (with one or two of them infected with Covid) face to face in an enclosed railroad car treated with allergens, in order to do a cough and sneeze study. If you put those same 100 people spread out in a large facility with good air circulation that is being ventilated from the outside, then you have an entirely different setting and result.
I am guessing that you have been in one of our services and wondered, "Why is it so muggy in here?" or "Why is it so cold in here?" Well, again, part of that is probably due to the outside air that the system is required to draw in. But that outside air that I was often frustrated with is actually a blessing, and is actually a major contributor in keeping us healthy and together. Once again, it is good that life is not always "what it seems to me."
So, this Sunday, when I check the humidity level, and the tech crew is responding to some of the equipment surprises that it brings, we can be a bit more grateful. That really shouldn't be a surprise. There have been so many things in life we see as a pain in the moment that actually have wonderful benefits. It is such a good reminder to me to not assume that I know everything about everything (like how air handling units ought to work, amongst many other things) and to be mindful that the Lord cares for us in ways in which we are not always aware.
Grace and peace,