Oppressive Skies (A Testimony of Seasonal Affective Disorder and Grace)

This is one of those days…

The sky looks like one endless slab of slate and it’s hanging low, barely hovering above the tops of the mountains.  There is steady drizzle.  Just enough to be annoying because there is no speed setting for the windshield wipers to adequately deal with it.  Either my vision is blurred by the rain drops or my ears are cringing from the squeak of rubber on not-quite wet-and-not-quite-dry glass.

I hate days like this.

This is the kind of days when I realize that my doctor isn’t nuts.  There really is such a thing as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and I really do have it.

Days like these I self-medicate with excessive doses of coffee and resist the urge to drink 5 Hour Energy by the jug because every ounce of energy is drained from my body, my mind… my soul.

Days like this, when the sky turns to slate and lowers itself down on my world, blotting out the sun and drowning the world in shades of gray and oppresses my soul, I realize just how helpless I am.

Normally, I am an independent person.  I take pride in being one of those people the Apostle Paul described as being gifted with singleness.  I don’t mind eating by myself, because it gives me time to read.  I like being able to go where I want, when I want.  I enjoy hopping in my car and pointing it in unknown directions, going where the Spirit leads me.

I like to camp in the solitude of the forest with no one but my trusty and faithful dog for company.  I enjoy (crave) silence.

And I can take care of myself.

But then days like this descend upon me and remind me that my journey through this world isn’t about how independent or self-sufficient I am.  That all the personal strength of mind and body and will in the world isn’t enough, because moments of darkness will come… and then what?

I can’t control what happens when the low-hanging clouds stand between me and the sun.  I can’t control the sudden draining feeling.  I can’t control the yawns, the sleepiness, the need to crawl into a bed, pull the covers over my head and disappear into a mound of pillows and blankets and mattresses until a ray of sunshine can pierce through and bring happiness back into my life.

Days like this are hard for people like me.  But they are also important reminders that I can’t and don’t exist in a vacuum.

Today, the comfort I have is that tomorrow morning, whether the sun is shining or not, I will rise and go to worship with a church family who loves me and supports me.  Today, the comfort I have is in a community gifted to me by God.  Some of them are like me–tired and weary on days like this.  Others are not so burdened by the oppressive skies and will give us a reason to smile.

I am reminded that not everything in this life is easy or comfortable.  Not every thing I is going to be bulging with joy.  There will be moments of darkness, moments of hardship, moments of despair.  There will be moments that I can’t control.  And there will be moments that I absolutely cannot handle alone.

That wonderful community that will lift me up tomorrow is just a glimpse of the sort of supporting, strengthening love that God gives… and so as difficult as days like this are, they remind me just how much I rely on God’s grace and how much I need it.

And these dark days remind me just how much a blessing the sunny days are.

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