“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:5
Not sure if you read or even paid attention to the claim that this past Monday (January 21) was supposed to be the “most depressing day of the year.” Also known as “Blue Monday,” it came into being on January 24, 2005. The day after Johnny Carson and my Dad died. Understandably, self-involved with the weight of grief, I couldn’t have agreed more with this ominously named day.
A University professor supposedly came up with an equation to prove the description:
Supposedly the date was calculated by using many factors, including: weather conditions (winter’s cold gloomy days), debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since the glow and festivity of Christmas, time since failing new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action. Interestingly, some say that a travel agency had something to do with the promotion of the equation.
Mental Health organizations, however, claim the concept has no foundation in scientific research and believe calling it the most depressing day of the year is dangerously misleading. “Those of us who live with depression know that those feelings aren’t dictated by the date. Implying that they are perpetuating the myth that depression is just ‘feeling a bit down,’ something that doesn’t need to be taken seriously.” Stephen Buckley from a mental health organization in Britain says that “Blue Monday contributes to damaging misconceptions about depression and trivializes an illness that can be life-threatening.”
If you or someone you know is struggling, speak with a doctor, check out the following resources online.
Canadian Mental Health Association – https://cmha.ca/
Kelty Mental Health (for children, youth and families) – https://keltymentalhealth.ca/
Health Link British Columbia – https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/hw30709
Mood Disorders Society of Canada – http://depressionhurts.ca/en/default.aspx
As a people of faith, we know that there is darkness in life, but we are also called to notice and follow the light. We are called to be light for others and for the world. Sometimes it is easier than other times, and that is when we lean into the light that others hold for us. In this season of Epiphany when we remember the Magi who followed the light of that wild star, revealing the child who became the light of the world, we give thanks for the gift of light in our lives. Light that illuminates paths, light that shows us the way and light that can bring a sense of comfort and warmth. This light comes in many forms. I leave you with this poem from Joyce Rupp
Leaning on God
Some people lean against fence posts
when their bodies ache from toil.
Some people lean on oak trees,
seeking cool shade on hot, humid days.
Some people lean on crutches
when their limbs won’t work for them;
and some people lean on each other
when their hearts can’t stand alone.
How long it takes to lean upon you,
God of shelter and strength;
how long it takes to recognize the truth
of where my inner power has its source.
All my independence, with its arrogance,
stands up and stretches within me,
trying to convince my trembling soul
that I can conquer troubles on my own.
But the day of truth always comes
when I finally yield to you, God,
knowing you are a steady stronghold,
a refuge when times are tough.
Thank you for offering me strength,
for being the oak tree of comfort;
thank you for being the sturdy support
when the limbs of my life are weak.
Praise to you, Eternal Lean-to,
for always being there for me.
Continue to transform me
with the power of your love.
With love and hope, Jen