God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Dark Days Bring New Challenges


Photo by Till Krech  via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Till Krech
via Wikimedia Commons

While working in Alaska some years ago, I noticed the deteriorating effect of the long, dark days on the Eskimos and all of the people in Bethel. This community, the largest in Western Alaska, had a population of 3,500, the majority being Aleuts Eskimos.  With only 4 hours of light during the winter months, along with the fierce, unrelenting cold, a heavy depressing spirit would possess our spirits.

Personal disagreements increased and negative attitudes towards life escalated as the dark months wore on. Life took on a grim look with few laughs and uplifting happenings.  For nine months of the year, Bethel has no outlet to the world except by jet plan form Anchorage.

Many tragic incidents took place in personal lives and in family circles. Cabin fever, not listed in the medical books, came to be a sickly reality in the lives of all our people and in mine too.  We Chicagoans face a less fearful winters season than the Bethel residents.

Nonetheless, we come upon a time filled with possibilities of depression and pent-up feelings of tension and loneliness. I encourage all to work diligently to bring light, laughter and relaxing diversions into our family life.  I offer a few suggestions in dealing with these real threats to our spirit of peace and joy.

Fill our homes with much light. Turn on some extra lamps.  Brightness lessens the effects of darkness.  However, at suppertime, try to use candles and soft light for the sake of atmosphere.  A joy-filled dinner together helps fight against loneliness.  Other ideas:

. . . Use bright, cheerful, lively music to lift up our spirits.

. . . Phone friends more often, especially shut-ins.

. . . Refuse to take out our “down feelings” on the rest of the family

. . . Support each other with good natured kidding.

. . . When dispirited, get out of the house and walk through the supermarkets and shopping malls.

. . . Meet people for lunch.

. . . Buy games that all the family can play together to build up a notion of togetherness and oneness.

. . . During the dark days ahead, refuse to make mountains out of ant hills, Laugh, laugh, laugh!

Fr. George Mc Kenna

January 16, 2016 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. Thank you Fr McKenna for your insight and priesthood!

    Charlie Smith

    Sent from Outlook Mobile

    Comment by Charles D. Smith | January 16, 2016 | Reply

  2. Thank you for your splendid ideas, which I will try to enforce in my life and my husband’s. I hope you stay warm and healthy.

    Arlene Johnson

    Comment by Arlene A. Johnson | January 16, 2016 | Reply

  3. Thanks Father – once again you made my day!

    Comment by Bartholomew Timm | January 16, 2016 | Reply

  4. Thank you Fr. George! You remind us to never forget…joy & laughter are gifts to share…simple actions can “activate” smiles & kindness…bringing His Mercy & Grace into the lives of those we meet along this journey. You are such an incredible shepherd for “The Chief Pilot!” Blessings & Gratitude & Love, Marianne

    Comment by mcs | January 16, 2016 | Reply

  5. Fr., a friend sent me your blog. I read it and your ideas are certainly some good practical ones, but what about suggestions that include praying a family Rosary, and reading the Bible together, with discussions afterward? If we assume that people will think to do these themselves, we might be making an error, after all, you would think people would know to do the practical suggestions you state but obviously not all do. Your story about “holding the infant Jesus in our arms and talking with him all day and taking him with us whereever we go and in whatever we do” is great encouragement for thinking about Jesus so close to us naturally, but we still need traditional prayer, especially the Rosary…I recently realized that if I am not saying my Rosary, I am leaving Our Mother Mary alone in prayer…that thought “depresses me”, and motivates me.

    Comment by Ava Eadie | January 17, 2016 | Reply

  6. Amen. Thank you!

    Comment by Tom Dubrick | January 17, 2016 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: