An Antidote to Seasonal Sadness

Are there certain times of the year that are more difficult emotionally for you than other times?  There is so much I love about the season of autumn.  The backdrop of deep blue sky against the red and gold of the rolling hillsides.  The crispness in the air that anticipates roaring fires in the hearth and chili simmering on the stove.  Pumpkins, football, hot chocolate!!  What is there not to love about fall?  And yet it was in the fall of 1975 that my mother’s cancer returned.  It was on one of those glorious fall days a week before Thanksgiving that we buried her at age 50.

And so as the autumn winds begin to blow away the heat of summer, they bring with them the painful memories of loss even 39 years later.   Awareness of this experience through the years has certainly helped me understand what is taking place, and enabled me to take measures which help.   Things like physical exercise, healthy eating, and meaningful relationships have all helped asuage a heavy heart or depression.

There is also another means which has proved helpful in my life when these emotional difficulties arise.  I experienced this particular means recently when I was approached about taking a meal to a visitor to our church.  It seems this young woman, a single mom with two children, was recuperating from a recent surgery.  I signed up along with many others to take a meal on a designated day.  Following the prescribed protocol on the e-mail, I texted to get directions to her home to drop off the meal.  I drove up to the back of a small red brick house at the end of a cul de sac, and knew I must be in the right place.  A swing set, bikes, and an assortment of toys were strewn all over the driveway and backyard.   A small blond curly haired girl of about three ran to meet me.  Behind her running to keep up, but with the biggest most contagious smile, was her mother.  Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the second daughter on the swing set, an older girl of about 10.

After making our introductions, the mother introduced her girls and began telling me their stories.  Her older daughter with special needs was adopted from China, and her second adopted daughter was born 26 weeks prematurely, weighing one pound at birth.  As we continued to talk, I realized I was standing on “holy ground”.  This young woman had chosen to forgo much of what our world deems successful in order to bring these precious young girls into her home and her heart.  Most of her delightful conversation was saturated with words like “thankfulness,” “blessing,” “gratitude”.   It was such an encouragement to simply be in her presence.

As I drove away that beautiful fall afternoon I did so with a heart that was full, almost singing!  What a reminder to quit looking “in”and begin looking “up and out”.   While it is true that the seasons may sometimes bring the memories of loss and sadness, there is still much in our world that brings joy and gladness.  How are you this season?  Are you experiencing seasonal sadness?  I would encourage you to look “up and out” and see what, or maybe who, God will bring in your life.





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