Here’s the SUNDAY BLUES-BUSTER!!! I’m sorry it’s late, everyone. I have been winding through the hill country of central Texas, eating food with grandparents, and catching up on lost sleep.
How has your week been? It probably wasn’t perfect, but hopefully there were some good spots, right? That’s what I wanted to focus on today.
Have you ever just woken up grumpy, for no good reason? That happened to me yesterday. As we prepared to leave my grandparents and head home (a four hour trip, not bad) I felt like a wave of stress, depression, and general angst had just knocked me over and sent me to the shores of Grumpy Land. Lovely, right? Finals are coming up in college, and suddenly I realized I needed to study as soon as I got home – the future seemed more uncertain than ever, and I just generally felt anxious and alone.
Driving through the hill country is an amazing experience. The vast plains and lonely trees never end. It is a rural, strong, and stalwart place. You pass an occasional ranch, an occasional deer, a trailer house, an auto shop, and then- you’re alone again.
I think the scenery reinforced my mood.
Something I’ve learned is that depressed people – like me, I suppose! – tend to focus on the negative memories and experiences they have had or are having. This is because whatever mood you’re in tends to bring up memories you made when you were in that same mood. This is why, when you’re in a fight with someone, every memory of every time that person made you angry or stepped on your toes floods to mind. At the same time, every memory formed in peace and happiness with them flies out the window. Your brain validates your narrative of the moment – this person makes you angry. In fact, they ALWAYS make you angry.
Always is a dangerous word.
If you feel warm and fuzzy about someone, chances are you tend to remember all the positive memories of them, and downplay or forget the bad ones. And if you’re sad, all your store of sad memories comes shooting to the forefront of your mind, tinging your whole world blue – like in Inside Out, which, by the way, I love.
You start to feel like a little girl with an umbrella, fending off the rain.
Well, I finally made myself go to sleep. I hoped that when I awoke, something would have changed.
I woke up as our car was passing through, in the November darkness, a small town, all decorated for Christmas.
Delicate Christmas lights lit up their main street. The thorough fare was lit in a romantic Christmas glow. It was a small town, somewhere in the middle of Texas. All ready for Christmas. And it felt like the lights had been put there in the darkness just for me.
The fireworks went off in my brain – keep this memory. Keep it to remind you that not everything that happens to you is bad. Keep it to contradict the dark narrative you want to believe.
A few miles down the road, we spontaneously stopped for ice cream. By then, I was actually smiling, face pressed against the window, afraid I’d miss the beauty of the world.
I don’t think I’ve ever had such a good ice cream cone. Dairy Queen really is the best 🙂
As we went on through the darkness, we left the towns behind. Dark fields were on every side. But every now and then, a light would appear. I still don’t know what they were for – but every few miles, in the distance, I would see a lonely, one light. Only now they didn’t seem lonely anymore. They seemed hopeful.
Our hope is in Jesus, no matter our mood or our past, or our pain.
This Thanksgiving, I thank God for that.