Summer in Winter

After all the pretty lights and decorations of the holiday season have been taken down and the final after-Christmas sale has ended, we are confronted with the cold, harsh reality that it is now winter—though a rather confused Southern California version.

The only things to look forward to for the next few months are credit card statements, perhaps some rain to moisten the incessant wind and, finally, the tax deadline. If this isn’t dreary enough, add to the mix days characterized by long periods of darkness interrupted by short bursts of sunlight.

Perhaps you are thinking, “It’s not all that bad,” and if you are, that’s good. A therapist friend once told me, “Your head is not your friend.” Given free reign, our minds have the ability to create a mountain of despair from a few dark days in January. Conversely, we have the ability to color our world in brighter and warmer colors regardless of the time of year. We can, in fact, bring a little summer into the middle of the winter season.

Whenever I am tempted to despair, I consider all the gifts with which I have been blessed. I have life. I have family and good friends. I have a roof over my head. I have more than enough good food to eat if I choose, and I can walk and run if I choose.

In my work environment, I have the opportunity to be part of a team of wonderful, talented and compassionate colleagues. Together, we attend to the needs of amazing, unique individuals who are struggling with the impact of pain and disease.

When I consider all my blessings, something begins stirring within me. Like the trees and plants that seem lifeless in this winter season, I can envision the new growth and anticipate the healing warmth of the sun.

by Chaplain Ron Hyrchuk

January 18, 2007