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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Big Waves and Bad Days

Matthew 6:34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

(Parenthetical aside: My (ridiculously ambitious) 2011 blogging goal is to post regularly on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but tomorrow I work all day and then have dinner plans with a couple and their four kids whom I haven't seen in like five years so... you do the math. And consider this the post I would have written tomorrow arriving one day early. Thanks!)

What a difference a day makes....

In the past twenty-four hours, I have pulled a complete 180 emotionally. Now, before you think I'm going all bipolar on you (although that wouldn't be an impossible possibility—how's that for a tidy little litote?), let me just say that I am so, so grateful that our human moods are fluid, ever-changing things, not static states we are condemned to inhabit for days or months on end. Sometimes the best antidote (or should I say, anti-dote, to rhyme with litote? But I digress.) ... As I was saying, sometimes the best antidote for a bad day is just to go to bed and start over tomorrow.

I have this theory that moods are like the weather. If you don't like it, just wait a few hours. It'll change. So yesterday, when I was having a particularly stormy, depressed, ugly, grey (I use the British spelling; my blog, my rules), basically awful sort of day emotionally, I should have heeded that advice and just called it a night, headed to bed, and waited for the "better tomorrow" to come (ala those Nyquil commercials).

This makes me wonder how many of those who suffer from true depression have lost this "light at the end of the tunnel" belief, having been stranded for so long in the dark that they forget the taste of sunshine.

I had a friend years ago who struggled with that. She felt like she was drowning, she said, and couldn't get enough air. No matter which way she swam, she never got any closer to the surface. My advice was, in retrospect, probably trite. Following the swimming metaphor, I told her that she wasn't really below the surface; it was just an illusion. She was panicking, and so she felt like she was further lost than she really was. In reality, I told her, she was just in between waves, stuck in the trough. An especially big trough, but nevertheless just an indentation between two rising waves. "Don't you see," I said, "if you just wait it out, sooner or later you'll catch the next wave and ride out of this low spot."

Cliches aside, I think the basic idea there holds true. All of us have those awful, gut-wrenching days where nothing seems to go right. I think a boy named Alexander once called it a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. But it was only one day. Not every day.

I leave you with this heartwarming relic of my (admittedly bookish) childhood. Enjoy... and if you're having a bad day, don't move to Australia. Apparently they even have bad days there.

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