This time of year in New England, I find it particularly difficult to be optimistic about life. The cold, the snow, the early darkness: it’s all very oppressive, physically and spiritually. This time of year can be especially hard for divorced Catholics when there is no one around to share this drudgery with.
Practically speaking, I find it particularly difficult to deal with all this snow. I look out my window and I get angry at God because I don’t have a man around to help me with all this snow! How silly is that, really?
After a divorce, there are very real difficulties in trying to handle all of the responsibilities of running a house, taking care of children, and having a job. It’s hard to do these things well when the sun is shining and the temperatures are warm. It’s even more difficult when the weather doesn’t cooperate.
If you are, like me, dealing with the winter blues this time of year, there are a couple of things that may help you to stay on the right track.
1. Countdown until spring. I keep a countdown of how many days until spring. Granted, it may still snow on or after March 20th, this is New England after all. It’s just a little something that I can look forward to—a rite of passage if you will. I don’t keep this countdown to rush through the days, but to look forward to something. Perspective is important; it helps us to keep our attitudes in check. Is it any surprise really, that Lent comes at this time of year?
2. Don’t push yourself too hard. I find it physically difficult to handle shoveling all the snow. It’s okay to admit when you need some help. Get some friends or family up to your place—ask some college students or teens in your area if they are available. It’s true what they say—many hands do make light work—and an impromptu gathering for hot chocolate after cleaning up the yard will be sure to brighten your day.
3. Surround yourself with beauty. A fresh plant or flowers go a long way to remind us of the joys of spring. It’s not extravagant, it’s beauty. We all need some beauty in these dark days.
4. Pray with friends. Finally, gather some friends and head on out to Eucharistic Adoration. Afterwards, share some coffee and dessert. Seeking God’s will in all things is so important. Getting some support from friends while doing so is also a big help. God has created us to live in relationship—be sure to do your part to keep the relationships in your life vibrant and active.
Remember this too shall pass. It may take a couple more months and a flooded basement from all the melting snow, but one day soon Spring will come!