I’m one of those people who are weather-sensitive. It’s not bad enough to call it Seasonal-Affective Disorder, but I suspect it has something to do with light levels. Or perhaps it’s barometric pressure. Or maybe it’s just part of being attuned to the world around me. I have more energy when the sun is shining. Too many gray days can throw me into a slump. And living in the Midwest, where our four seasons can all take place in one day, can lead to a great deal of emotional volatility.
As I get older, I’m discovering more ways of dealing with this sensitivity. I check the weather forecast. A lot! I plan fun activities for the gray days. I dust and clean on those sunny, energetic days. I get outside as much as possible. I let the light wake me in the morning. And I recognize that sometimes a bad mood is just a reaction to too many clouds, and I don’t blame it on something or someone else. I’ve learned to love a good thunderstorm and even a day of rain (although I’d rather it be in spring or summer than on a cold winter day). I’ve overcome my dread of February and I’m working on accepting November’s gray skies. I love my fireplace in the winter and, yes, I’ve learned to love air-conditioning in the summer. But I would never want to be in a completely climate-controlled environment with air-tight windows and a constant temperature.
Much of this new perspective is learning to be in the present moment. If there’s one thing we can’t change in life, it’s the weather. It is what it is. For all our attempts to predict it, we don’t even get that right much of the time. Sometimes I’ll be all set for a dull, rainy Saturday and God surprises me with sunshine and blue skies. With St. Francis, I’m learning to praise God in all weathers and at all times:
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and fair and stormy, all the weather’s moods,
By which you cherish all that you have made .
One of my favorite lines from Francis: The Journey and the Dream, is this:
True worship, true celebration in Francis’ mind was like tramping the roads in spring, the wind blowing in your face and the larks showing off overhead. And you lifted your arms and heart to God and shouted, “Amen,” even when a thunderstorm was mounting above you.
Learning to live in harmony with the weather, with all God’s creation, is a significant step in learning to live with all of life’s sunshine and storms. I can be as sensitive to other people’s moods and interpersonal atmospheres as I am to the weather, but that’s another post for another day.
I don’t always get it right. And I still want to know what’s coming. But I am learning that God is always in the present moment and that if I stay there, I’ll find him.