'SAD' apparently and I'm sure many of you would concur but this isn't so much about me as the condition 'Seasonally Affected Disorder'. I don't know who comes up with these titles, but I've an awful suspicion that someone somewhere is being paid a huge amount of money to take a word and then create a nemonic which fits a condition.
Anyway, this is the time of year (for those of us in the northern hemisphere at least) when this weird condition seems to grab hold of it's unprepared victim and insists 'thou shalt henceforth go around with a black cloud over thine head until the third week in March' at which time with fair winds and increased warmth (if you're lucky) we shake it off and break free into the sun.
At this point, I should point out that I'm somewhat sceptical about this disorder and that the grumpiness that both my wife and children have had to put up with in recent weeks is down to a dismal Ashes series down under and has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that it's cold, wet, miserable and all I want to do in the morning is lie in bed and pull the duvet up and hibernate till spring. Hmmm, who am I kidding?! The reality is that while some people can ride out this time of year and are sickeningly optimistic, most of us will at some point find parts of January to be dark and depressing at the very least. Looking forward can bring a sense of dread rather than excitement. The future for some is far from rosy. The warmth of summer is a distant memory and we long for the sunshine, at which point our neighbours emerge and we 'chew the cud' and find the pace of life a little easier and our own sense of well being and productivity greater.
So, confession time, I'm struggling at the minute with....whatever it is. Even those things I can usually rely on to bring a sense of 'all is well with the world' or a confirmation of why I exist on God's earth, have failed me miserably.
The other night, as I usually do, I wandered into their bedrooms to kiss my children goodnight. I had assumed, wrongly, that the nocturnal one was asleep and I was met with 'Dad, I was asleep! Don't blame me if I'm grumpy in the morning!' (This wasn't the time to tell him that he obviously lacks sleep most nights if that's the case!) Undeterred, I went next door to his sister. This can be quite humourous as when I whisper in her ear she tends to sleep talk. So sure enough, I lent over and whispered in her ear 'Daddy loves you' to which the response came back .......'whatever!'...... I kid you not. At this point, I then made my way to bed to talk to my long suffering and compassionate spouse about how useless and vulnerable I felt.............ZZZZzzzzzzzz went the long suffering and compassionate spouse!
I picked up the book passed on to me by my brother to read by way of light relief........Inferno by Dan Brown....and decided within the space of two pages that tonight was not the night to be filling my mind with the various stages of hell! Faced with that or Alex Ferguson 'My biography' I decided to check my Facebook page to find that PL, my 'good friend' down under had for the fifth and final time put up a photo of his grinning bambino to signify another win for the Aussies and the death knell of English cricket! With that happy thought, I turned the light off and waited for sleep to descend!
Sometimes though, the problem is exacerbated by another condition called IF - 'I'm Fine' and we're all guilty of it. Someone approaches us in the street when we've got the blinkers on and are in 'solitude' mode. 'Hello, how are you' they say cheerily and we respond 'I'm fine thanks, but I've got to dash' and off we dash to wherever it was we weren't dashing to before we were greeted! Sometimes, the greeters are just casual acquaintances and to be fair, we're not going to offload to every Tom, Dick and Harry but sometimes even our close friends aren't allowed in. Why do we do that? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we should dump off every time we meet true and trusted friends with how rubbish we are and how sad life is to the extent that everyone becomes miserable, but you know what, we need each other to get through these dark and difficult times. God didn't design us for solitary confinement, He created a natural support network around us called family and friends. When a community is working well, it exists to be a support framework for every one in it. Some will need it more than others but there is no hierarchical structure in place that favours one over another. The bible talks about the support structure by giving the example of how we are made and goes on to say ' the foot cannot exist without the leg and we need ears, eyes and nose. We are perfectly formed by an amazing creator God. In the same way that He wants us to have dialogue with Him, He wants us to develop and build real and meaningful relationships wth those around us. Relationships not built on superficiality but on trust and acceptance and understanding. Today you may be needed as a supporter, tomorrow you may well be the one who needs supported. We need each other.