This has been a tough winter in Juneau. Until recently we have had mostly dark, rainy and warmer than usual days. The weather forecast seemed to also reflect the mood of many of us. With no snow and only rain the nights are dark and it's hard to see the roadway when you drive. With no snow the kids (and others) can't go sledding or skiing or do any of the other outdoor things we are used to doing during the darkest time of the year. Along with the dark and dreariness have come the colds and illnesses that pass from person to person quickly when we are inside cramped quarters awaiting the freedom of the slopes. When you combine the darkness, dreariness and illness you are prone to become just a grumpy person. Together we become a grumpy lot of folks if we are not too careful.
How do you deal with these days? Do you curl up with a good book and read the winter away? Or do you hibernate and pray for better days to come? Do you grump around at friends and family members? Or do you go for a walk in the dark, dreary night anyway?
The playwright Arnold Bennett has written, "The best cure for worry, depression, melancholy, brooding is to go deliberately forth and try to lift with one's sympathy the gloom of someone else." I think he has something there. We are all in this together. And when things get tough for one of us, things are usually tough for many of us.
If you haven't noticed, the days are getting longer now, and there is even some snow around town. But we still have a few more weeks of darkness to endure. There are times when we are tempted to withdraw and wait for things to get better. Now is not the time for that, however. I believe it is time for each of us to stick our heads and necks out and try to help one another get through these last weeks on winter darkness. All it takes is a friendly "hello" or a wave and a smile when you pass folks on the street. Slip a note to a co-worker or a friend saying "hang in there tomorrow's coming." Look for the funny things that happen each day and laugh a bit. Share a good story with a friend. Or if you have reading books all winter, pass them along to someone else who could use a good book to read.
It won't be long now until we will be on the other side of this season. We'll move into spring and summer, and life may feel better for some of us. But the time for good deeds and acts of kindness knows no season. Once you start, keep up the good work. One good deed, one kind word, can turn someone's life around. And with each life that is brightened, so shines our community. Come on, folks. This too shall pass. Let's have a good day together.
Kim Poole is the pastor at Jubilee Community United Church.
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