Yes, those are my initials. It's funny because I'm usually the opposite of sad (which, as every 4 year old should know, is happy.) My motto is "if there isn't anything in your life to smile about, smile anyway so that you attract the happiness." Unfortunately smiling isn't always so easy.
S.A.D. stands for something else: Seasonal Affective Disorder. While I don’t believe that I suffer from that particular type of depression, it is true that the gloom of winter usually finds me…well, sad. The wet blanket of clouds that hide the sun, the biting wind that chills my core and hurts my hands and the fact that illness seems to linger around my home longer during the colder months always tends to weigh me down just enough that my smile is a touch slower than it is during sunnier times. This year, we managed to avoid most illnesses until right before the Christmas break. My son missed the very last day of school before the holidays thanks to a tummy virus. Luckily the rest of us don’t usually succumb to that particular bug easily. Instead we were each treated, in varying degrees, to a nasty upper respiratory infection that came complete with fever and general body aches. It waited until Christmas Eve to hit me. I’m sure you can all imagine how wonderful Christmas is when you are shivering with fever and clenching in pain while waiting for the children to finally fall a deep sleep so that you can, um, unlock the door to let Santa in. I couldn’t turn to my wonderful hubby for help because he had to go to sleep early for work (yes, he sometimes works on Christmas. Actually the schedule seems to have him working on Christmas more often than not for some unlucky reason.) Besides, he doesn’t have much experience in… unlocking the door for Santa, so I wasn't sure he would have really have known exactly what to do even if I had been able to beg off of that particular duty, I mean, joy.
I toughed it out, waiting until all of the presents were in place before finally downing a dose of nighttime cold medicine (have I ever mentioned how really awful I have to feel before I take that kind of stuff?), soaking in the hottest water I could fill the tub with and then finally climbing into bed. The next three days are somewhat hazy. It took nearly three weeks to finally start feeling like myself again. Even today there is a tiny bit of cough that sneaks up on me at least once a day. Yeah, I know :::whine, whine, whine::: Get over it, right?
Monday evening I was sitting in a car line listening to the music from my iPhone playlist compete with the chilly rain that was pitter-pattering on the roof of my van. It was just cold enough to feel slightly uncomfortable, but the motor of my van stayed off because, well, have you noticed the price of gas lately?
Car line is my quiet time. It is when I’m supposed to be working on my book. Instead, all I really wanted was to end the day and go to sleep. I wondered "Where has inspiration gone? Is it hibernating? Will it ever return?"Rain by Breaking Benjamin began playing and I thought "Yep…that’s what I’m feeling right now. "
But that was Monday. My mood lifted a bit as the week worn on. Yesterday as I was listening to the radio, I heard the DJ's talking about "My One Word" and I wondered...can I change my word from SAD to something more in line with what I want to be? The idea behind One Word is that rather than make the same old list of New Year Resolutions that we start with the best of intentions and then let fall away, we look at the person we want to be by the year's end, choose one word to describe that person and commit to it. Then whenever we hear, see or think of that word, we should be reminded of the direction we want to steer our lives. That sort of sounds like the "cue" word I used to use with my oldest daughter when she was much younger. I let her pick out the word and she knew that whenever I said it, she was supposed to stop and think about her words and the tone she was using. hmmm...she is 17 now and I'm thinking seriously that we need to start using cue words again. But I'm getting off subject...
When considering my "one word" what leapt to my mind first was TRUST. Of course, choosing that word wouldn't mean that I'd suddenly start trusting everyone and everything around me. If I did that, I'd have to quickly change trust to naive. No, my trust is reserved for the One that guilds my life. The thing is, deep down, I know that I do already trust in that way. Sure I need reminders every now and again, but even so, the word trust doesn't really describe how I want to change. So, which word does? What is my one word?
Well, why not the most obvious? I want to be new. I know what you are saying "Hon, you are 43. That's waaay closer to old than it is to new." Yeah, yeah, but that's not the kind of new I mean anyway. Let me explain. Right now there is a philodendron in my front yard that is looking pretty droopy thanks to the recent cold temps. This is the second year in a row that we've hit lows that harsh. The first time it happened, last winter, I wondered if he was gone for good. Then spring came around and after I cut away the dead leaves, I was happy to see that Phil had a new stem growing, ready to replace what had been lost. By the summer's end, he was brilliant again.
That's what I want. It's time for me to cut the rotten and dead away from my life so that I can make room for the new to bloom and grow. I know that it will come in cycles. Just as my poor Phil has to take the toll of winter before re-inventing himself, I know that I'll find myself facing challenges that will shape me. For now, I'll just trust that I'll overcome the frost of life...and find myself new once more.