I wonder why melancholy sometimes overtakes us without warning? No precipitating event, just a rush of sadness that paints everything with a wash of tears. Vague regrets, unknown losses, and unspoken yet unmet hopes and dreams combine to fill the heart with a mist of sadness. Perhaps we need these periods of angst; maybe we need these spots of gloom to balance the brief episodes of joy that buoy our spirits with impossible promise.
When those brief periods of angst persist for too long, even joy weathers into chalky grey. That is why people who volunteer to be friends and companions to the lonely and alone are saints. Not saints in the religious sense, but saints in the sense of humanity personified. How do we even know when someone needs a helping hand? How do we know when a smile hides pain or heartache?
Cries for help are discouraged. We say we want to “be there” for others in need, but the tensions we feel in crisis send an altogether different message; “we are here to help, as long as it’s not too uncomfortable or embarrassing.”
Is it just me? Are people better than I think? Am I better than I let on? I wish I were, but I think I’m an average person who wishes to be good but fails at every turn, like the rest of us. And, no, this is not the opportune time to suggest I turn to Jesus.
Here it is again. That stream of consciousness BS in rare form.