January in Pennsylvania is that month that feels as though someone has sucked the love out of everything we see, touch, taste and breathe.
After wallowing in the lack of brightness and my body’s lack of Vitamin D, I could no longer pretend. Even the usually lovely starkness of the season and itty bitty snowflakes falling on my nose just didn’t feel like love.
It is true. I am only human.
What a downer, right? Well……not necessarily.
Sometimes love is actually the absence of love.
Whaaaat? Stay with me. The brilliant theologian, writer and philosopher John of the Cross discusses this in his poem “Dark Night of the Soul.” Instead of pretending all is cheery, he encourages us to find MEANING in suffering, meaning in the absence of God.
Dear John’s description of the “spiritual night” is a temporary absence of love whose primary purpose is to instill a deeper faith in God. No better time to grow in faith than when you cannot feel God.
I think this is a lesson that our culture has much to learn from. It is easy to love when all is warm, fuzzy and euphoric, but can one love when the sensations are missing? Think about it. There is a lot to love about that.
Oh criminey!!!! Love.
Having said that, I am no saint. Some days, this was consoling, or at least able to bear, but other days, a distraction was necessary. What did I do this month to try to distract myself from this apparent lack of love?
- I read a TON of young adult literature of the dystopia genre. You seriously need to check out Divergent, and Insurgent, The Maze Runner series and The Giver series including Lois Lowry’s new installment, Son. Woah.
- I salivated over spicy food that reminded me of warmer climates like fermented jalapeños. A lot of Mexican food graced my plate.
- I coveted warm soups like this potato and leek soup and experimented with some of my own.
- I got down and dirty with some bone broth which took me through virus number two. Broth+more broth=healthy.
- I sprayed lots of my homemade air freshener/natural disinfectant all around my classroom and home. Mine is similar to this natural air freshener, sans the baking soda. Twenty drops of rosemary +10 drops of tea tree oil+ 4 Tbsp. of alcohol+distilled water to fill spray bottle=Magic.
- I debated the semantics of “natural” with a guy at the grocery store.
- And I moisturized with copious amounts of coconut oil, which is this frugal girl’s solution to a hair/face/body moisturizer in the winter. This post can inspire you to use it in a variety of alternative ways.
So when you just can’t distract away the somber month anymore, remember: no love is sometimes the greatest kind of love.