At age fourteen, Danice Hope started having troubles functioning during the winter months. Each year, the fatigue and depression grew worse. During the summers, her health would improve, and she learned to fit as much joy into life as possible before winter returned. After six years, she was finally diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder. Over time, she realized that there was also beauty in winter. She found a poster with flowers growing out of the snow that said, “In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”
In the mid 1990’s, Danice moved south to Arizona with the hope of improving her health enough to have a better life. While the SAD improved, she found herself developing new health problems. The biggest surprise was that she could be sitting slumped over in a wheelchair in the emergency room, barely able to speak or move, and doctor after doctor told her that she wasn’t ill, or that it was “just anxiety”. After going to twenty-four different doctors in the next year, she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Stunned at the loss of her hopes and dreams, she gradually learned to see in new ways, to balance her health, to reshape her dreams, and to look to Christ. She learned that flowers can grow not only in the snow, but also in the desert sun.
Danice Hope has been married to the same loving, supportive husband for 26 years. They live in the deserts of the American Southwest, where the winters are mild. Their two lovable cats keep them busy.
Danice loved to roam the mountains of Utah in her younger years, and to see the variety of wildflowers each spring. She has enjoyed writing since she was old enough to write. She takes solace in reading the scriptures and other good books. She is grateful for God’s care and guidance through the distresses of life.
After my mission, I lived with my grandparents for a while. Peace can come for brief times even in the darkest part of winter. Sometimes I wondered if peace would ever come, I was in so much emotional pain. But then, during a quiet moment, it would enter gently in.
January 20, 1989
There’s a light fog outside. All the trees are white-frosted, as well as the chain-link fence. It’s peaceful here inside. The sound of the heater and the tick of the clock are soothing. Grandma’s toy cat looks so content as it sits sleeping on the back of the green love-seat.
By the summer of 1989, I had been through another winter. I won’t go into that. Rather, I want to tell of the season of tremendous peace that finally came. I worked as a cook at Camp Kinnyon again. I rejoiced in the ability to work, after not being able to work for so long. I rejoiced in the beauty of the mountains around me. I rejoiced in the healing that was coming gradually. At times I would cry, as the peace would fill my heart.
July 13, 1989
Joy is being able to work.
Joy is a dew-soaked morning, the sound of a stream, the song of a bird, soft light bathing the clouds at dawn.
Peace is sitting on the porch with the cat in my lap and watching the evening shadows grow.
Beauty is the mountains, the trees.
Tears, humility, gratitude come as a result.
Fulfill the measure of my creation. Have joy therein.
This is what I have hoped for. This is what I’ve got. I desire to share my joy, it overflows within me. I’ve got much more peace within me. I am so grateful, so humbled. My Father will continue to guide me, my trust grows. Christ paid the price so I could have this. I am glad.