IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE, IT'S THE MOST INTENSE TIME OF THE YEAR, when emotions are exaggerated: sex and sexual attraction the most intense, marriage issues the most stressed, job dissatisfaction at yearly highs, yearnings for things and finances to be more, better and different are all at their peak.
Today, the lady from my Shell gas station where I sometimes buy gas and a good cup of coffee with a chat about the state of the world looked at me forlornly when I asked how she was doing and if she'd gotten her 9 grandchildren handled for Christmas----we'd run into each other in Dollar General a few weeks ago shopping for kids stuff:
My nephew killed himself last week, and I can hardly do anything but cry, I'm so depressed.....
I was utterly dumbfounded and speechless. I, I am so, so sorry to hear this.
She went on, He has a wife and two little kids. They were having some marriage problems and had separated....he was on something for depression.....We were all waiting for him to come to our family dinner last week and started calling and calling...there was no answer, so my brother went to his house and found him. He hung himself....
A terribly sad story any time of the year, but especially now. He was known and loved in his community...some said he didn't have an enemy in the world.....except, of course, himself. If only we could hang on to the reality that no matter how dark, how bleak things seem in the moment, when the chips are down and the days are short, the light will eventually come back and shine to heal and encourage us, if only we let it. Far too many people, especially young people, give up to the despair and darkness far too easily these days when better days are just around the corner.
Tomorrow, December 22, the day will be just a minute or two longer than today, the shortest, most intense day of the year. We can thank God for small blessings. And hang on each and every day.