The days are about to get darker, shorter, and rainier. I am a firm believer in having a pre-conversation before we are head-over-heels in hate with what is about to go down. So let’s talk about this now, instead of waiting until we are trudging through February wondering why we’re bummed out and irritable.
Let’s remember a few things…
1. We are all under the same sky. Everyone else- your neighbors, co-workers, spouses, kid’s teachers, all of them- is living with less light and bad hair days. Their alarm clocks are screaming at them in the pitch dark too. Let’s have patience for one another and hand out extra doses of encouragement.
2. Vitamin D is your friend. This is no Dr.’s joke.
3. Be the light you long to see. Bring someone a candle. Drop off a pot of soup. Send a card. Stop and help the guy on the side of the road changing his tire in a torrential downpour.
4. Don’t hibernate. We are not bears. Don’t close your fall door, not to be opened until spring. You will start to shower less and maybe stink. You will get too cozy in sweats and not want to to put on jeans in spring. You will start making blue light your replacement for sun light. Don’t do it! It will suck you in and kill your brain cells and zap you of your zeal for life! Go for a walk and collect fall leaves. Take a snow day and sled down your street even if you can still see pavement. Put on your best coat and a plaid scarf, and frolic through a park pretending you are in a GAP ad.
5. Umbrellas poke people in the eyes. Just go for it. Get your hair wet and wear the rain with pride. Run through puddles and jump right in the middle of one holding your kids hand. Let the downpour hit your face on a good long run and yell “Briiiiing it!
6. Become friends with the pleasures that summer sunshine doesn’t offer. Drink hot coffee. This is what we are known for here in the PNW. Get a good cup, one that fits your grip, and enjoy every sip. Light a fire. Put on fuzzy socks and read one of the ten books you have been wanting to read. When the power goes out, play hide and seek like you are 6 again. Make chili and invite the widow over. Sit and listen to her story over hot cider. And don’t forget apple crisp. Go find the apple tree that someone is neglecting and pick those gems. Peel their sun kissed skin off, slice them and then douse the top with the delicious taste of brown sugar, butter and oats. Bake and enjoy with vanilla ice cream! Let’s be grateful about the things winter brings that summer does not.
7. Remember the dahlia. They might be dead soon, nowhere to be found. The flowers fade, but those dahlias in all their majestic colors, they will be back. Magenta. Pale pink and white. Fiery orange. Crimson Red. Bright yellow. Spring will come, but first winter. Enter into this season, for God has something for us in winter too.
8. Have the courage to reach out. Don’t let seasonal affectiveness get the best of you. Don’t find yourself lonely or bored, wondering why. Don’t wait for the birds to fly back and the weather to perk up before you act like you again. Call a friend and go bowling. Who cares if your game is in the gutter. Go volunteer at the food bank. People need sustenance and you can help. Invite someone into what’s going on, on the inside, not just the out. They do share the same sky, remember.
9. When you’re tired of walking to your car in the rain, loading groceries in the rain, exercising in the rain, don’t forget that there are others who live in the rain. Their sleeping bag, their tent, their grocery cart of belongings, are all damper and colder and most likely lonelier than you. Every day that it rains and you find yourself complaining about Washington and thinking about moving to California, stop yourself. Instead, replace that head space with compassion. Every time you grab a coffee at a drive through, grab two. One for you and one for them.
10. Lastly, live victoriously. Jesus said there will be troubles in this world but He has overcome the world. The winter blues, depression, endless darkness, and anything else you or your loved ones will experience this dark and rainy winter will be overcome. You have got this people! You have access to Light that shines in any darkness. You have access to Hope that is bigger than any despair. You have access to a God who puts death to shame and instead brings forth life again and again and again. Just like the dahlia dead in winter, it’s brilliant colors will pop out again real soon, we too will overcome.