"There is another reason also why the soul has traveled safely in this obscurity; it has suffered: for the way of suffering is safer, and also more profitable, than that of rejoicing and of action. In suffering God gives strength, but in action and in joy the soul does but show its own weakness and imperfections. And in suffering, the soul practices and acquires virtue, and becomes pure, wiser, and more cautious." --St. John of the Cross
Instead, the silence of the house and the gray blankness of the sky leaned on me like a damp blanket one is trying to unwrap and hang on a clothesline. The slow movement of a French horn concerto added melancholy and triggered nostalgia for a past when I could have shared my feelings with my husband, who would have understood them since he was an extrovert and often felt drained when he was home alone. And although I am an introvert, it is easier for me to deal with solitude when the skies of Southern California are sunny rather than when the thickening clouds rolling in the wind look as if they meant rain but most likely are just there for their depressing effect.
I felt just on the shore of plunging into the lake of a good cry when the phone rang. It was one of my daughters, who recently had been diagnosed with Lyme disease (fortunately caught very early), calling to update me with the news of her week, her excitement over her husband's new job, and the latest adventures of their daughter Elsa who at age 3 already commands an impressive and extensive vocabulary. One day recently, she was surveying her little kingdom and commented, "I have a plethora of toys to play with." Not only is she intelligent, but grateful! And I am grateful, too, for the children and grandchildren in my life who keep me from falling into the Slough of Despond too often!
Photo credit: Kamesh Vedula @ Unsplash