I suffer from seasonal depression.
Every year as we turn our clocks back and the clouds roll in, I get sad. Driving at night, I feel almost as if the darkness is trying to reach into my car windows so it can devour my soul. Kind of like Harry Potter’s Dementors, but without form. I can become withdrawn from humanity, losing my appetite for human contact, and at the same time, feel desperately lonely.
I’m less motivated: I want to sleep more, eat more, and cry more. Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year; that honor belongs to the month of July. So, since mid-November, I’ve started to make what I like to call, The Joy List. I’ve tried to notice and remember things in my life that bring joy. I hope you enjoy reading mine, and in turn, are inspired to create your own.
The grandpa whose life was saved from what could have been a fatal freak accident and now gets to spend his golden years with his grandson, playing cars and trucks on the floor, laughing and holding each other close.
The auntie who visits her niece’s freshmen dorm to deliver the surprise that’s she’s been secretly saving for her niece’s college education for years…and the dream she holds to study abroad, the one she had been praying for that morning, is not only going to be a reality, but it’s going to be paid in full.
The friend who invites you to dinner, the one who has already attended her mother and brother’s funerals, has some news to share. You squeal with delight and embrace in a hug because she is pregnant!
Joy is eating dinner with friends. Part way in you realize the food is so good, and you feel so relaxed and at peace, but the real reason you feel at rest is because of the people sitting with you; they know the real you and love you so much.
Joy is running into your little nieces and nephew while you are in town. Everyone lights up and is so excited. Every time. The littles share their news and their love. There are rounds of hugs and kisses before everyone goes on their merry ways.
That extra day off you weren’t expecting.
Your second cup of coffee.
Joy is standing in church to sing. You catch the harmony and sing it out strong. Suddenly your whole body is participating in expressing what is deep in the soul. Joy is closing your eyes in that moment, imagining yourself standing before the throne room of God, earnestly pouring it out, this overflowing expression of gratitude Thank you, thank you, thank you, but in this dream you are standing there in this cute black and white party dress, with shiny red heels, whole and complete, but even then, you realize, the thing you want most, is still the love of God.
Joy is sitting in the living room by the fire.
Joy is watching the sun rise, painting the sky with fiery pink.
Joy is working hard to pedal up to the top of the hill in the park, pumping my legs, throwing my back into it, lecturing myself, You can do this, or your name isn’t Jenny HILL! Come on! Joy is finally reaching the top and then sailing down it like a little kid.
Joy is giving your friend a second big hug, because the first big hug just wasn’t enough.
Joy is holding a wee baby, new to the world. Kissing his head and whispering in his ear: You are precious.
Joy is celebrating with your friend who, after many years of work, has finally published his manifesto.
Joy is wearing pink and feeling pretty.
Joy is dancing around your kitchen to songs that make you happy.
Joy is discovering the beauty in the person you just met.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13