Monday, January 6, 2014


I'm feeling a little restless. OK, a lot restless. OK, a little stir-crazy.

The temperature this morning was -45C with the windchill (someone at work said that we were colder than Mars). This is after a December that saw an average temperature of -20C. At these extreme temperatures I don't leave the house more than I have to. I recognize writing this perpetuates every stereotype about the frigid Great White North, but it's not usually this cold for this long. Sure, we can brag, "That's what makes us prairie folk tough." But who really wants to be able to brag about freezing your extremities in nanoseconds?

The cold weather is keeping the kids inside too. Have I ever mentioned our kids are loud? I know, all kids are loud. I'm talking born without a volume control permanently stuck on 10 louder than a 747 and Pearl Jam concert in a gymnasium kinda loud. Oh, how I long for the children to play outside!

We affectionately call this restless feeling cabin fever, and it usually hits in February or March, near the end of a long winter. Being cooped-up so long so early has me feeling restless—I want to get out and enjoy the snow, go skating, point the toboggan downhill and go for a ride, even just go for a walk down by the river.

We know there are links to cabin fever, or seasonal affective disorder, and vitamin D. For some reason, our body cannot absorb enough vitamin D from the sun through 17 layers of thermal polyester, wool and Gore-Tex. Light therapy can also help clear up those winter blues. There are special lights—I swear I am not making this up—that can help just by spending time each day in front of them.

My restlessness has St. Augustine's famous quote, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in you," running through my mind. As I endure my physical restlessness, I ponder my soul's restlessness too.

The first thing that comes to mind is a question: is my soul restless for God? If it's not, that might indicate a problem, possibly spiritual aridity or worse, indifference. If it is, that is a good thing. Just like my cabin fever indicates I long for some outdoor activity in my life, my spiritual restlessness indicates I need some more spiritual activity in my life. It lets me know I need more God, more of His love, more of His grace, more of His mercy and forgiveness in my life. It reminds me I must continuously strive for holiness.

Just like the right nutrients, like vitamin D, can help seasonal restlessness, the right nutrients, like Jesus in the sacraments—especially Eucharist—go a long way to eliminate the spiritual blues.

Just like spending time in front of a special light can help alleviate symptoms, spending time basking in the light of Christ (aka prayer) can lift one's spirits and strengthen one's resolve.

Even though I may not be able to feed my physical restlessness with some outdoor activity longer than a 15 second dash to the car, I know I can take care of my spiritual restlessness by spending some time feeding my relationship with God.

May our souls find rest in Him!

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