This past weekend I had the pleasure of going back to Texas for a long weekend. As I woke up the first morning, I noticed a sound that I had not heard for so long. I lied in the bed just listening. My brain was still waking up & I almost thought I was dreaming…. it was the sound of birds chirping and singing to each other. It was such a sweet sound. As I became more awake, I realized I wasn’t dreaming. They were in fact singing their morning praises to each other. I laid there soaking in the sound. You see, birds don’t sing to each other like that in the fall/winter up north. Because it’s too damn cold. Birds are wise. They fly south somewhere warmer & wait out the winter. And while they are somewhere warmer, soaking up the sunshine, they sing; because they are warm & happy.
Winters up north can be tough. Tough on many levels. The skies become gray. The temperatures drop for many months and your body starts to become depleted. Your body misses the sunshine. Your skin misses the feeling of the rays warming you. Your body becomes depleted of Vitamin D & serotonin. But unfortunately if you don’t remedy it, quickly someone can get S.A.D. – Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is the depression from the effect of the season. I have heard of many remedies: extra doses of Vitamin D3 supplements, injections of Vitamin D, getting light therapy, going to the tanning bed, and the best one – taking a vacation to somewhere tropical or warm.
I know I have personally struggled with this over the last few years. I mean I am a Texas girl at heart. My body (and soul) loves the sun. I love the feeling of the sun on my skin. It not only brightens up my complexion (and 1001 freckles) but it also brightens up my whole outlook. So without the sun for a long period of time, it is a no brainer someone can get SAD. And strangely enough, the more I talked openly about it -The more people I heard talking about how they struggled with it, too. And the more I talked with others about it, the more I came to understand this a more common than I ever thought. Especially in the deep of the winter. So instead of feeling totally lost and like a weirdo for feeling this way, I saw it as just a winter sickness that needs attention. Just like if I got a cold or terrible virus. And just as if I had a terrible cold, I would go to the doctor or take some medication. So why wouldn’t one also remedy themselves while experiencing this in the dreary of winter?
But I am a Christian, shouldn’t I always be bright, cheery and full of optimism??? Sun or not?
I would love to tell you that is true but then I would be straight out lying to you. Just because you are a Christian, doesn’t mean you are happy 24/7. There are struggles in life – believer or not. Sun or not. But I will tell you, having God on my side does allow me to see life more clearly. He gives me strength on my tough days. And allows me to have hope of a better day yet to come. Isaiah 40: 29-31 “He gives strength to the weary…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength…”
So what do I do when the birds stop chirping for the season?
I prepare myself for what is yet to come. I increase my Vitamin D3. I try to workout regularly to increase my serotonin levels. On the days there is sunshine (in the brisk cold), I try to get my face out in it in some capacity – even for a few minutes at a time. And yes – I try to plan a vacation somewhere warmer if my budget and calendar allows. And lastly, I remind myself this is just a season. Just like it states in Ecclesiates 3:1 “There is a season for every activity under the heavens.” The birds will come back. The chirping will resume. The sun will appear more often. The warmth will rise again. And best of all, my 1001 freckles will pop out and remind everyone that all is right in the world again.
Till then, I will enjoy the snow. My boys will build snow forts. We will have hot cocoa by the fire. I will cook endless varieties of soup. And we will marvel how the trees glisten in the morning from the fresh layer of snow. I will enjoy the season of it being winter. Because unlike Texas, Illinois does have true seasons. And each season does have its own magnificence beauty, even though on some days it is hard to see. So until my freckles reappear, I will enjoy the wonder of winter.