The beginning of the year is always a little hard for me. The excitement of the holidays is over, and January in Utah is a little…well…bleak. February seems to drag on, and the weather makes me feel fairly underwhelmed about life. When we finally get a few warm days in early March, I’m ready to call the whole thing quits and start everything new again. My grades for winter semester tend to be worse, because I feel so unmotivated in the first half of the semester and restless in the second half.

This year I still feel that way, but I’m working hard despite that. And I am definitely still in need of a nap. We’ve gotten to the point in the semester where I’m glad to be nearing the end of classes, but the Romgi is still in job-search mode…there’s a growing tension in our house about where we’ll be this summer and if we’ll have any money. Being a grownup is just not as simple as I used to think.

On top of the school/weather slump, I’ve been conflicted lately about how to be a good person. I don’t mean to sound arrogant at all, but I think I’m fairly compassionate. At least, I easily feel compassion toward others. Unfortunately I’m not always able or willing to help. Today on my way home from running errands I saw a man holding a sign that read, “Losing house tried everything else now asking community for help.” I desperately wanted to help. In Levinasian terms, I heard his call and wanted to respond. But what do I have to offer? Right now the Romgi and I are living on student loans, and who knows what we’ll be living on in a few months. I can justify my actions, but I’ve felt miserable all day. There are many people who need help, even if they aren’t standing on a street corner holding a sign. They need my help. How am I answering their call?

This slump is no fun.

How do you handle the bleak winter months and the transition into spring? How do you help others when you don’t really have any money to give, and they aren’t asking for anything else?

image by Ilona Wellman