I’m still deciding whether to believe Punxsutawney Phil when he predicts an early spring. These last three days, the Polar Vortex in the Midwest sure fooled me! Here in Michigan, we have been dancing between temperatures ranging from 0 degrees to 4 degrees, and that is not factoring the crippling wind chill that plummeted temperatures into the negatives, ranging from 10 degrees below zero to 50 degrees below zero. Just about everything wound up closing, including postal service for the last two days. I’m thankful for that, because we were all able to stay safe indoors.
Could this be the first shred of hope after a short period of extreme winter? A few weeks ago, we were all joking about how mild of a winter we were having. I can imagine God laughing at us all that the joke is now on us. It’s not over until it is over, the adage reminds us. I feel bad for putting a slight comical twist on this, because the bitter cold can cause so much damage, killing people in the process. Damage was done, including frostbite and hypothermia, and some lost their lives, or were injured, and I am praying for them and those who love them.
The promising fact is that over the course of these next few months, the sun will be out more, making the day last longer and longer. As a result, the temperatures as a general trend will start to go up. Really late this week reminded us of that with the “record-breaking” temperature of 50 degrees. As I’m writing this, a devotional idea that stands out is that hard times do not come without a glimmer of hope waiting on the other end for those of us with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that is different from other forms, as it tends to stick around for a season, and it is a regular occurrence each year that season comes around. It has to do with the difference in how long the sun is out towards the summer, and how long the nights are in the winter. The Circadian cycle in our brains regulates our sleep and wake cycles, and when that is thrown off, there are some who can adjust easily, while the risk of depression rises for others.
What often gives us hope in the winter is knowing that after the winter solstice, the sun will stay out longer and longer each day after. If you are going through this, please tell your story. I would love to start a conversation!