The sun is very bright today here in the west side of Denver. This morning I photographed an extended family who was finally able to come together to celebrate a little one born during the CoVid-19 quarantine. The photos will show spring’s arrival. I then had lunch outside with a friend. My arms soaked up the sun, giving me a nice tan line. Here in Colorado we crave the sun after a long winter. Everyone else seems to be outside and happy, but we can still feel grey inside.
I have spent many a sunny day wondering why the world seems so happy and hopeful when I am struggling with a loss, a season of grief or a recent trauma. As an ICU nurse, loosing even briefly known-to-me patients create experiences where other’s happiness and my melancholy self just doesn’t seem to add up. Our community has come together during these past two weeks to grieve the 10 lives lost during a recent shooting. It’s a tragedy which affects countless others. Our personal family has gone through stress and fear while a family member was in the hospital this last week plus, too. No matter who you are, we all have seasons and situations which are more difficult than others. The hard part for me is when my grey season doesn’t align with the sun shining and I perceive that everyone else seems to bask in its happiness.
Finding the strength to sit in our own experience is key for our resiliency. We need to be able to work through the hard stuff in order to find those sunny days. Let’s not forget..our experiences are just as important as anyone else’s. Everyone has seasons of sunny days and grey days. When grey seasons persist, depression might occur. (If you believe you are depressed more than a grey season, please talk to a medical provider or a mental health provider.) A few of us choose professions where we help others find their way out of their traumas, pain and stress. We must find ways to process and move past these experiences or we won’t be able to sustain when rough seasons hit our personal lives.
Comparisons: Being jealous of other people’s happiness can robe us of finding our own. Comparing ourselves to someone else’s happy seasons will never get us out of our grey ones. Comparisons may even prolong ours. Being envious of another’s season may also cause us to struggle when asked to celebrate someone’s happy moments. We might miss some incredible memories which could help us find our own joy. A word of caution: We can lean on other people’s happiness, but in doing so, be careful to not steal their joy and ruin their experience.
Gratitude: Gratitude is the antidote for feeling sorry for our own experiences. Gratitude allows joy to fill our hearts and minds, and allows us to find some new perspectives. It can take our eyes off our hardships and bring life to our lives. Joy comes when we do the hard work to work through our stuff. We can all find joy and strength to get through the grey seasons.
The sun is out, and hopefully, you are enjoying a sunny season. If your season is grey and difficult, it’ll be okay. You can do the hard work. You can find the joy to move forward. I encourage you to find your safe people to be present and process with. Be reassured, it’s okay to let the sun shine and to let the grey season linger a bit longer while you are doing the work. I believe it’s in the grey seasons where we have the greatest potential to grow. Take heart, you will find your sunshine again.
If you practice the faith tradition of Easter, may tomorrow be full of joy, blessings and sunshine.