Where I grew up, long cloudy periods were the norm for much of the year. In fact, on clear days we used to laugh about seeing an unidentified flying object - the sun.
The joke soured over time.
As people talked about how negatively the weather affected them, I began to agree. It seemed natural to feel low when dreary skies predominated - to wait stoically for the sun to shine and lightheartedness to return.
This may sound like a pretty harmless response to overcast weather. But tying one's outlook on life to atmospheric conditions can lead to chronic bad moods and even depression. At the very least, it assigns mental well-being to an external variable. And that's not a recipe for lasting joy.
What helped me break out of gray sky-blue sky fluctuations was a prayerful look at what light really is and does. The light of the sun lifts our gaze, and often our attitude. It's a natural response - even plants turn sunward.
But what exactly makes light so attractive?
The first-ever mention of light, according to students of the Scriptures, is on the first page of the Bible. Light is the original element of creation, brought into being by God's command "Let there be light." The effect was immediate: "... and there was light." This decisive event sets the scene for the entire creation and ensures that every creature has a relationship to light. God sets the seal on this light-filled universe with His definitive assessment: "Very good."
So light is good - no surprise. But its goodness is not a relative quality, existing in contrast to darkness or evil. As I see it, it's the primal characteristic of reality as God has made and maintains it. Light is inherent in us. It's our native habitat as creations of Spirit.
When we're attracted to light - looking up when the clouds part, seeing things more clearly in the sunlight - we're actually responding to our inner, spiritual sense of light. This light has nothing to do with the sun. We glimpse spiritual light when we feel a flash of intuition, a firm sense of purpose, or a flood of affection.
Because real light is immortal, it can't be snuffed out. No mist or bleakness darkens it. Clouds don't affect it. So even a slight awareness of light as divine raises our consciousness from a focus on external factors to the unwavering light God has placed within us.
One biblical word for this inner light is "Christ." Jesus stated, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). And Paul asserted, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (II Cor. 4:6).
True light is knowing God as Jesus did - as infinite Spirit and eternal Life. This divine light blesses us in countless ways. In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "Man, in the likeness of his Maker, reflects the central light of being, the invisible God" (p. 305); "Whatever is governed by God, is never for an instant deprived of the light and might of intelligence and Life" (p. 215); and " 'Let there be light,' is the perpetual demand of Truth and Love, changing chaos into order and discord into the music of the spheres" (p. 255).
My thought underwent a real reorientation by looking at light through a spiritual lens. No material condition - certainly not the weather - has power to shake my conviction that light is at the very core of my being. That it's reliably settled in my unbroken relationship with God.
On the grayest days, I still feel the promise of Isaiah: "The sun shall be no more thy light by day ... but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory" (60:19).