Time to light the candles, metaphorically or otherwise.

When you find yourself surrounded by darkness, bring light.

This is my motto for the coming weeks of winter and the next few years of anticipated political events. Call me Pollyanna, but I refuse to sit around feeling miserable because the sun goes down at 4 PM or because the world has a seemingly endless supply of evil. To evil I say “Poo!” A strong word, I know, but evil is, well, evil. To darkness I say “Light the lights!”

Sometimes it’s as simple as plugging in a string of Christmas lights. Other times it’s really, really hard.

‘Tis the season for seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Lots of people I know suffer from this malady. Energy is sapped and one feels moody when under the influence of SAD. Treatment may include psychotherapy, medication and (wait for it!) light therapy. Are you oversleeping? Craving carbs? Gaining weight? Sapped of energy? You could be suffering from SAD. According to the Mayo Clinic there’s also a spring and summer version of SAD. This involves insomnia, anxiety, poor appetite and weight loss. Interesting, how nature tends to balance things out.

Today, where I live, we have eight hours and thirty-seven minutes of daylight, thirty-three seconds less than we had yesterday. The Northern Hemisphere will hemorrhage daylight for a few more days. Then, it’s somewhere else’s turn. Good news for those of us above the equator. Pretty soon we’ll notice the days growing lighter. The Groundhog will or will not see his shadow, and so forth. We’ll be back to a glorious fourteen-plus hours of daylight and wonder what all the fuss was about. Then, we’ll primarily have to fight the moral darkness known as evil.

The number one recommended tool for fighting evil is love. You can also challenge evil when you see it. Intervene between bullies and their victims and tell the bullies to buzz off. If you see someone breaking into a business or a neighbor’s house, report it to the authorities. Hate the thought of the super-rich getting a huge tax break at the cost of thirteen million poor and low income people losing their health insurance? Call the senators and representatives who endorse this kind of villainy and share your thoughts. Make some noise!

Outright acts of kindness push back the dark as well. Give the Salvation Army Santa your pocket change. Buy a sack of groceries for the Food Bank. Treat a homeless person to a hot meal. Plenty of people in the USA go hungry and there are dozens of ways to help people in other nations, too. Volunteer to walk dogs at an animal shelter. Drive for Meals on Wheels (provided those in power at the federal level don’t decimate this program).

Am I talking about the folks in Washington, D. C., again? Gosh, how did that happened? When I call my senators today to thank them for their support of We, the People (and of humanity in general), I will also call those supporting egregious tax cuts for corporations and suggest they spread the benefits more evenly over all of us, to lighten up and stop worrying about getting re-elected. Like anyone else in the workforce, I suspect that if Congress does the work it’s supposed to and does it well, the members of that esteemed body will keep their jobs. It’s important, of course, for the senators and representatives who truly desire to serve big business and corporate interests to give them oodles of money in the form of tax cuts. But giving our time is even more important than giving our money, right? Instead of stomping on the rest of us, I think these corporate-happy members of Congress should truly give of themselves. I recommend they visit the websites of Big Pharma, Wall Street, the fossil fuel giants and every other business interest they cater to, with an eye to the job opportunities page. With luck, some of them might make the final round of interviews. They might even score employer-paid health insurance.

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