Some of you might remember me talking in a previous blog about the major depression I went through in the last year or so. What you may not realize is that I have had another kind of depression since I was a child: seasonal affective disorder (SAD). When the sun goes down early in the winter, when the days are gray in the spring, or when I am inside a lot, I get depressed. I need light. It helps me feel better.
I am affected greatly by light to the point where it impacts my memories. All my sad or unhappy memories are gray…even if the day was sunny. All of my happy and pleasant memories are in vivid color…even if the day was gray. I associate light or the lack thereof with emotion.
Recently a friend gave me a full spectrum light lamp that she no longer needed. Earlier today when it was rainy and gray out, I sat near the lamp for a while. When a day is sunny, even if it ends in rain, I get the light I need and I am fine, but when the day starts rainy and gray, I lack energy and feel blah. Sitting under the full spectrum light this morning gave me energy to start the day.
Light impacts most people to at least some degree…even the blind. Have you seen the recent commercial for a drug that helps with a circadian rhythm disorder that affects 70 percent of the blind? Due to the lack of light those affected by the disorder have difficulty staying awake during the day and sleeping at night. They do not have the light necessary in their lives to get their bodies on a good sleep/wake cycle.
Light is a blessed gift from God. On the very first day of creation, he created the light, even before he created the givers of light (the sun and the stars) according to Genesis 1. One of the plagues he sent the Egyptians when the pharaoh would not let the Hebrews leave Israel was a plague of darkness. The absence of light was so intense for the Egyptians that it could be felt. The Hebrews, though, had light. Light helps us to see the beauty of the earth, keeps us from stumbling in the darkness, and lets us look into the eyes of loved ones. Light is a gift.
A much more blessed gift, though, is the Light, Jesus Christ. John 1:4-5 says, “In him (Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” These two verses speak volumes. They tell that the Christ light is our very life: both spiritually here on earth and eternally in heaven with the Triune God. We also learn from these verses that the light of Christ is more powerful than the dark forces of sin, death, and Satan’s domain. Christ’s light is both illuminating and powerful.
Think about the gift of the Christ light. It keeps us from the despair of eternal separation from God….a despair that is greater than any depression faced here on earth. It lights the way back to eternity in the loving arms of God. The Christ light illuminates for us truth, wisdom, and knowledge. It shows us the path to peace.
As someone who has suffered from depression due to lack of light, knowing that Jesus is my light gives me great joy…even when I faced the darkness of depression. There is no grayness in the Christ light. He is a day to day reality of color exceedingly more vivid than the colors of my good memories.