Temperatures are in the single digits. The wind cuts to the bone and never stops blowing. It’s dark when we go to work, and it’s dark when we get off work. That’s if we can go to work at all; many of us are out of jobs for the season because the ground is frozen or the temperatures are unsafe. We’re dealing with lay-offs and Santa lists and debts that keep adding up, along with all the expectations for us to keep providing. We’re dealing with pipes freezing and power going out and vehicles breaking down and car accidents on slippery streets. We’re dealing with sore joints, sick kids, our parents’ failing health, finals week at South Dakota State University, and one thing after another. For some of us, it seems like every time we see a light at the end of the tunnel, it's just another hit coming.
Did I mention it’s cold? And dark? When you’re experiencing struggles with mental health, it’s already hard enough to get out of bed in the morning and cope with the things that need to be done. Add in the cold, dark deadlock of December in South Dakota, and even folks who don’t normally deal with depression are talking about feeling down and discouraged.
This month, my church is highlighting Brookings Empowerment Project as our Community Partner focus for December. We planned this on purpose, back in the early spring, knowing it would be right on time by the time we got here. Partnering with local organizations to support awareness is one way our church is working to share grace in our community. And this month’s Community Partner focus is especially relevant for a season of life that’s hard to talk about, when it becomes more than just the cold and the dark getting to us this time of year.