Every year as December rolls around, I began to feel a dimness that seeps into my very bones. The days are short and clouds linger in our typically blue, Oklahoma skies. Previous years I caved to this feeling of dimness and spent time scrolling though hours of Pinterest, or gapeing in horror at our messy fireplace begging God not to let the children need anything. This year, however, I am playing with a new frame of mind.
It all started with an ad… (odd I know) an ad for a photography course. As the author described the mood of winter, the need to get off the couch and find our beauty. To define cozy and express it through our lens. I felt my spirit lift. Could I do that without even buying anything? Could I look for the beauty and cozy in those days of clouds? What could I find that would automatically lift my heart when the nights were long? What is beautiful in winter? Why is it that some people choose winter as their favorite season. This started me on a journey to discover the beauty of this season.
I have chosen to battle despair in other phases of my life with the search for beauty, delight in the Creator, and the act of continual gratefulness. Why should winter be any different? I started writing out the feelings and textures of winter. The smells and tastes that it brings. All the things that I had never thought to be grateful for, because usually I am focused on the fact that nothing is growing and there is no sun.
Here are some things that reflecting upon has caused my spirits to lift. Pulling out all our furry blankets. Cutting delightful smelling pine boughs and poking them into places around the house. Starting every morning with a purposeful cup of coffee. Running my fingers over the soft texture of chunky sweaters. Making piles of stuffed animals with the boys. Writing beautiful quotes onto my hand. Pillow fights and movie cuddles in bed with sick kids. Making a window seat in the brightest room of our home. Holding tiny mittened hands. Focusing on the tongues of flame in the fire rather than the bark strewn about. Savoring the smell of slow cooker stews and breads.
As of January 11th, this has been enough. Enough to break through my own mental clouds. Enough to bring joy when the lights of Christmas have faded into the background. Enough to give me something to celebrate.
I do not know if this will be enough to last the whole season, if not I may get a lamp to help drive away the gloom. But for today I feel the joy of a mother hen as she pulls her chicks under her wings.
* I feel like I should add a disclaimer. This isn’t intended to be medical advice. I know that everyone’s state of mind is affected in different ways. If you need to take medication or other forms of treatment, my sharing of my journey isn’t intended to cheapen or dismiss yours. We all deal with our own mental health in ways that is helpful to us.