As we rapidly approach another changing of the seasons, I am once again reminded of just how inevitable change, itself, is in our lives. Oh, we may not like it. In fact, some have an outright disdain for its harsh realities. Despite the unpleasant nature of what may be ushered in with each turning of the pages of the calendar of our life, no amount of wishful thinking, complaining, sheer desire, use of the “force”, or any means of defiance can prevent its arrival.
“Winter is the bane of my existence”, I vividly recall one of my students boldly stating. Indeed, deeply rooted within many, may exist perfectly valid explanations for such reasoning. Seasonal Affective Disorder can be a mountain-sized problem which carries people to the summit of sadness. At the peak of despair, it then promptly, and without concern for safety or compassion for their suffering, drops them down the other side. This plummet into depression may seem to last forever. However, this free-fall does not have to result in a catastrophic splatter at the base.
How do I know that this too shall pass? How do I know that there is a permanent parachute attached to your back ensuring a safe landing? How do I know that there is hope and happiness ahead? Well, for one, through the very existence of our ever trustworthy friend who I’ve already alluded to, Change, we can be sure that we will not be stuck in time or abandoned in some desolate place for all eternity.
I also know that all such challenges which we must endure during any season of life are for our benefit, for the Lord, Himself, has declared it. “And if thou shouldest be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murders, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. “ Our literal, living, loving Savior continues with this encouragement and these promises. “Therefore, hold on thy way. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, (I will add, Mother Nature), for God shall be with you forever and ever.”
Being a seasoned golf instructor and addict, along with my fitness training duties, I am personally acquainted with the let-down that always comes at the end of Autumn. I fully understand what the onset of Winter can do to me. I will, once again, miss the color green terribly. I will, as in every year in Northeast Ohio, long for the smell of freshly mowed grass and for the sight of beautiful blossoming buds. “I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.”–Joshua Graham The seeming doom and gloom of this season will not linger longer if we keep our eyes fixed on what glorious blessings are shortly to come. “Each of us will have our own Winters–those times when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We will all experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again.–Joseph B. Wirthlin But, I testify to you that Spring will come! No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Spring will come!
“We generate fears while we sit. We overcome them by action. Fear is nature’s way of warning us to get busy.”–Dr,. Henry Link In that spirit, I would counsel all who deal with S.A.D. to some degree or another to keep themselves busy. Through your devastating and almost all-consuming depression, you can find hope. If you can look beyond your own troubles, you will always see a Light. This Light gives everlasting life to all who come unto Him, who is the Light and Life of the world. As we serve others, as He did, in the midst of our personal struggles, we will find a sweet release from our troubles. I have found this to be the key to unlocking the massive door of darkness, doubt and discouragement. Of course, I am going to encourage you to exercise, eat healthy, and attempt to get sufficient restful sleep. These time-tested ingredients are necessarily unchanging in a world around us that is ever in a state of flux. Do something for someone today, and I promise you that you will begin to feel better immediately. Hey, Spring is only 108 days 10 hours 47 minutes and 30 seconds away as I finish writing this! Hooray! We can make it! We must! “If we are to fill the world with light, we must first face any tattered remnant of darkness that remains in our own souls.”–Jeffrey R. Holland