Sunday, November 11, 2007

Someone Coin the Term, "Permacloud"

As clouds settle into their fixed location above South Bend for the next three months, there is a particular danger of being overcome by seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Info here. Especially for freshman who are struggling to stay on top of the overwhelming wave of gray in a scary, new world, SAD is more than just a phase; it is a potentially debilitating persistent mood which can disrupt the normal flow of life, lower grades, and decrease motivation.

You might think: “A few clouds and a freshman starts flunking? What a wimp!”

I tell you, the sun is more than that which gives us warmth, food, and light. In our very experience of that sun – the seeming eternal giver of life on whom Plato, Aquinas, and even Jesus Christ Himself depended – we obtain transcendent happiness which is not wholly present in our conscious but which sustains us and gives us the energy to carry out a day to the fullest. Though we are unable to identify this unusual quality of the sun working in us, we know when it is gone.

We see the effects of its absence in ourselves as laziness, misjudgment, moodiness, etc. We find ourselves longing to hole ourselves up in the dark caverns of our rooms and sleeping through the day. And I myself know the perilous dangers of hibernation eating. Without the sun, our lives, once bright and vibrant, turn dull.

Yet, there is hope. There is always hope. We have faith that, in a short while, we will see the sun again, and we know that at that time, we will be greeted by the sun with its warming rays. But hope is more than the faculty by which we expect a future event; it is the power and strength and encouragement we gain by our determination to work towards that event.

Who will be most able to enjoy fully the warmth of spring when it comes? Will it be those who have holed themselves up all winter or those who have allowed themselves to persist in their moodiness? Of course not. The ones that will be able to most fully enjoy the coming spring are those who have been not only anticipating it with a joyous heart, but living as though that spring were today.

Hope is strength. Therefore, freshman, live your lives in hope that you will see the sun again.

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