clouds of depression

How to live when the clouds just won’t move.

It’s not easy maintaining a positive attitude when dark clouds seemed stalled over our heads and there’s a lot of bad stuff going on in our lives.  While there is a break in the clouds on occasion, mostly it’s overcast. God seems to have spread a gray sheet between Him and us. 

Would you agree we all have days like that? Sometimes a number of them in a row.  We’re not clinically depressed. We don’t need medication.  We don’t need therapy. We just need a break from our unrelenting cloud-shrouded life.  

I find when I’m under grey clouds it helps to remember the transient nature of clouds.  Even today as I write, the sky overhead can’t seem to make up its mind.  Will the clouds be given permission to part so the sun can shine through or will they remain huddled together in a solid mass?  

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I find I respond two ways to the dark clouds. If I’m already having a “reflecting” kind of day, I might actually prefer clouds. If I’ve planned a day to stay inside and pursue a creative project, I kind of like gray days.  I think you know what I mean. There’s something that appeals to us when the sky matches our mood. 

It’s like friends. 

When we’re in the dumps we usually seek friends we know will try to match our moods in their manner of speech, and choice of words. We don’t need them to act depressed, of course, but we don’t want someone who acts too cheerful either. It feels cold and insensitive.

Sometimes a pep talk is needed but not in a “rah, rah” cheerleader fashion.  I try to make sure I act appropriately as well when I’m the one listening. Something I experienced a few years ago brought that home to me.  

I was in a meeting at church and I mentioned how fortunate I felt when compared to the rest of the world. One individual, (I learned this later) misconstrued what I said and felt I was saying I was better than other people. I meant my remarks exactly as I spoke them. I guess it’s all how you look at things, glass half-empty or glass half full.

I wasn’t aware that this person was struggling with some serious issues at the time. To someone who wasn’t feeling very blessed himself, my remarks must have felt like cold water splashed in his face. While I would say the same thing again I would be careful to explain what I meant. 

I try to remember that while my clouds have moved for the time being, someone else’s clouds have just shown up. I wished he could have seen my past and the clouds that once hovered over me as well. But even with the clouds I really did feel blessed. Undeservedly blessed.

But if I’m feeling really down, I don’t want the gray clouds; I want the sun. I want something to interrupt my mood and cheer me up. On those days, I remind myself that clouds, by their very nature eventually move. (Of course, if you live in Michigan as I do, you might have to wait weeks, not days.)

I keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually the sun/Son does break through.  My mood gets better. I see things more clearly. It’s just the unrelenting nature of life. 

Some days we have to look to the heavens and just wait for the sky to change. And now, more than ever.

We have to wait for the cloud of this pandemic to move. And where’s it going to move to anyway? It’s covering the world. It’s easy to wonder when we’ll be back to any kind of normal and what that normal will look like.

I think of the Israelites and their forty year detour in the desert. Forty years! I wonder if they ever thought they’d get back to normal. I know they did a lot of complaining and because of that their journey was much harder.

I think of the Israelites quite often when I am tempted to complain. I remind myself I want to be grateful for my blessings, for the times the sun is shining and there’s not a cloud in sight.

I try to imagine six months from now and hoping it’s all better and that we haven’t had another outbreak and no one else dies.

But, it’s hard, isn’t it?

I hope you have a really good day and God bless.

(If I can find the piece I wrote about the Israelites and my aching feet I will post it. )

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