The first months of the year are the ones that can drag me down.  I love winter, but there are some sad memories that cold, dreary days tend to make resurface.  A sadness can prevail, if I let it.  My friend and I were discussing our pity parties this week.  Pity parties are lonely and they tend to lose their grip when shared with a friend.  Pity parties are usually the shortest term misery in which we wallow in this life of ours.

In the darkest of days, I’ve never focused very long on “Why Me?”  It’s more like “Why Not Me?”  I have family and friends and a nice home and resources.  When things happen, as they do in life, I should be as equipped to handle them as well as anyone.  Or not.

When I worked for the American Red Cross, I learned that every disaster is huge to the person involved, so a single family home fire is as devastating as a tornado that sweeps a city or an earthquake that destroys a region.  If you’re the one in it, it couldn’t seem worse.

We all have our own disasters in life, real or emotional, I don’t care how fortunate you are.  As you get older, you see the families or individuals you think have the easiest of lives and realize that they are facing challenges and tragedies just like the rest of us.  It’s part of life – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

There are always people who have a worse disaster, it seems.  I moan about my own loss or problem and then I see someone facing obstacles I can’t even fathom.  To keep it all in perspective, I have one story that has stuck in my mind since I first saw the report, years ago.  There was a major earthquake in Turkey, I believe, and a woman was sitting on the ground, looking as numb as I can ever imagine being.  She had lost 18 members of her family, her home and business.  She is my compass point when I feel down.  I remember her and wonder what happened next.  How did she pick herself up and go on?  What thoughts does she fight in her mind?  What resources does she draw upon to go from day to day?

I won’t negate the power of depression, the debilitating weight of it.  There are ways out of it with help from ourselves, professionals, friends and family.  Whatever works for you – do it!  And reach out to those you know who might need a friendly hand to lift the weight in their life.

Today, I’m remembering my lady in Turkey, much like the lady in this photo.  And finding joy in the world around me, bitter cold and gray as it is.  I wonder how she is?