My life is cold and dark and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the moldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.
tempting to say that these times also try my faith, but I know that
these times cause me to turn my back on my faith. (I have to
take responsibility for doing that--"the times" don't
cause anything.) I feel that I don't have any strength left to
go on, to keep fighting, yet my faith tells me that when I put my
trust in God, I'll have the strength to do anything. My
situation makes me feel alone, unloved, and isolated, yet my faith
tells me that God is always there with me, caring for me, loving me,
supporting me. The negative thoughts tell me that the
situation will turn out disastrous, yet my faith assures me that if
I give the situation to God, all will turn out for the best,
according to His will. But my focus on the dark and dreary day
doesn't allow me to see the light, and it doesn't allow me to feel
the hope that constantly should be a part of my life.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining:
Thy fate is the common fate of all:
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
still, sad heart!" What wonderful words these are.
They aren't the trite, "you should be happy" words that so
many people offer. They acknowledge the sadness, the hurt, the
darkness, but they encourage stillness and peace. "Behind
the clouds is the sun still shining"--these words remind me of
a postcard that was given to me in Germany, on which was written a
verse that had been written on the wall of a concentration
camp. To paraphrase, it basically said "I believe in the
sun, even when it doesn't shine; I believe in my friends, even when
they're not here; I believe in God, even when I can't see
Him." On the dreary days, God seems so very far away. . .
. But He's not far away--He's right here with me and in me,
just where He promised He'd always be. And He's not
absent--I'm choosing not to see Him.
that brings up the most frightening aspect of the dreary days:
in some strange, frightening way, I like them. Something
inside of me feeds off of them, like some sort of parasite that
grows stronger and stronger with each bit of negativity and sadness
that goes into it. And it seems to feed off itself, too--the
stronger I make it by feeding it my negativity, the more negativity
it sends back out to me, and I accept that and feed it right back
what do I do about this? Well, right now I'm in one of the
dreariest days in my life, and I'm writing this article. I
believe the best thing I can do for myself is to regain a sense of
perspective, to view things once again realistically, to remind
myself of just how wrong many of my feelings are. I have to
recognize that even though I'm telling myself that I'm not strong
enough to take something, and that I have no one to turn to, in all
actuality there are quite a few people I could call who would be
more than willing to sit down with me and talk things through
without judging me. But I have to call them--I can't wait for
them to see that something's wrong and offer their support.
Most people, I included, when they see someone suffering assume that
the person wants or needs time alone if that person doesn't ask for
help. There are people there for me--I am not alone.
None of us are, no matter how much we like to try to convince
ourselves that we are during our rainy days.
I've recognized the feelings that I can honestly describe as wrong,
I can work to shift my perspective about them. This does take
work, though--and it's not at all easy work. The feelings
inside of me are trying to convince me that they're right--my brain
is telling me that they're wrong, but my heart is trying to convince
me that they're right. And my brain and heart don't always see
eye to eye.
while Freud considered distractions to be a negative way of avoiding
true issues of our humanity, I have to disagree with him. One
of the most effective ways for me to brighten up my gloomy days is
to watch an episode of Animaniacs or Winnie the Pooh
or to read Calvin and Hobbes. These things remind me that
humor is very important in our lives, and that once we lose humor,
the risks to our selves is very great indeed. My dreary days
are characterized in part by a complete loss of humor, and a bit of
laughter goes a long way towards restoring the brightness in my
Maria Rilke put it well when he said: "How
should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are
at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons
that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all
the dragons of our lives are princesses, who are only
waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps
everything terrible is in its deepest being something
helpless that wants help from us.
So you must not be frightened, dear Mr. Kappus, if a sadness rises up before you larger than any
you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and
cloud-shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do.
You must think that something is happening with you, that
life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand;
it will not let you fall. . ."
knew that our sadnesses teach us, make us grow, broaden our
experience and perspective. And I try to keep in mind that
this, too, shall pass, and I can choose to help it to pass, or to
help it to grow and grow, eventually enveloping me and taking me
over. But I have to trust life and trust the positive things
in life, for as Rilke said, life has not forgotten me, and it will
not let me fall. But if I choose to ignore that fact, I'm
basically jumping out of its hand, and not allowing life and God and
my friends and family to help me out.
to keep in mind always--without the rain of gloomy days, the flowers
wouldn't grow and the rivers and lakes, sources of so much life and
beauty, would dry up. And if life didn't give me a load of
crap every now and then, I'd have nothing to fertilize my garden
with. Plants would bear weak and tasteless fruit without
fertilizer and water, and there's no reason to believe that I'm all
that different. Life holds me in its hand, if I let it.
And the rainy days help me to grow, if I let them.
walsh is a college teacher and a perpetual
student of life and living who sees the internet as a perfect way of
sharing what he's learned without making people pay for it.