“God has two dwellings… one in Heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart!” — IZAAK WALTON .
I found myself dragging my butt around the house the other day, going from desk to kitchen to couch to bed to desk to kitchen to… you get the idea. Tea cup in hand. Still not showered at 11am. Unable to write. Disliking everything I read. Feeling exhausted and yet restless. In short, on the way to a significant case of the droops.
I have much to be grateful for these days. So, why, I ask, am I lurching toward depression? MyBest Beloved points out that I always get the droops in hot weather.
So annoying when he’s right.
I am not one of God’s natural frolikers and I find summer too loud, too boisterous for my sensitive soul. Snort. Actually, I think the problem may be no more complicated than a combination of my body’s inability to deal with the heat — I blow up like a balloon as soon as the temperature goes above 73 degrees and faint at 85 — and my psychological make-up, which leans toward the melancholy.
Also, I generally droop after book-publication season, when the hype and interest dies down, I am am left to sit once more at my desk and begin all over again. A friend of mine, the delightful Rev. Joanne Epply-Schmidt, calls it “the melancholy of things done.”
So, My Best Beloved — who is remarkably wise — points out that during this season, rather than trying to push myself into some manic, horrible, impersonation of a happy hot weather nymph, which will only lead to collapse, resentment, worse depression and self-recrimination, perhaps I’d be better off focusing on small things, every day, that will give me a sense of going forward, of taking care of my soul.
We made a list for me. A short list. I would pray and meditate every day. I would exercise, gently, every day. I would read two books a week (since the pile of unread books in my house alarms me). I will keep to a schedule of writing, so that I’m on target to reach the goal I have in mind for the new book come the end of September. And I would list at least three things every day that are going well and for which I am thankful.
That last one, I suspect, is going to make the rest possible. There’s something about knowing that at a particular time every day I will have to have a list of things to be thankful for that forces me to be more mindful as the day goes by of what’s right in front of me, rather than allowing my thoughts to skulk back under the ferns were it’s a bit dark and scary.
Depression can leave one (me) feeling isolated. Thankfulness is one pathway out of that dark wood, because for everything I’m grateful for, there is a connection.
I am thankful (more than I can say) for air-conditioning. This means I am grateful to all the people who made this cool house possible. The long line of people who led to the invention of the air conditioner. The people who produced the materials necessary to build one, and those who put it together in a factory, who shipped it to me, who installed it, who maintain it…
I am thankful for my dog. Bailey. Wonder-mutt, the best anti-depressant in the world, and to the folks at AFEW, the rescue organization who saved him, and my vet and his foster-mum, who cared for him before he came to us, and the people who transported him up from Kentucky…
I am thankful for the cup of tea in my hand, to the people who grew the tea and harvested it, who packaged it and shipped it, who sold it to me. The people who make sure there’s clean water in the pipes of my home, and the people who built the pipes and built the house, and the people who crafted my lovely cup, which fits so comfortingly in my hand, and the thankful to the kettle and the cow who gave the milk and the farmer who cares for the cow…
You see what I mean, of course. Don’t get me started — the books, the chair, the flushing toilet (Miracle!), the wren outside my window — This thankfulness, it’s something of a miracle. Each strand goes out to bless the thing, the person, the creature it has touched, and in blessing I am blessed, which becomes another thing to be thankful for.
I think I could become a fool for blessing. If I’m lucky, that is.