Sunday, 27 November 2011

Melancholy Advent - mixed feelings

This morning was a lovely 1st Sunday in Advent, we had lots of lovely music and used St Anne's Mass for all the usual Benedictus, Sanctus Agnus Dei etc.

It was a happy service, well attended and the Sunday School children enjoyed the lighting of the Advent Candle.

As so often happens, once the service is over, a reaction sets in.

I get a taxi home, have a coffee (or three), and gloom descends.

Today was cold and windy so no chance of doing any work outside and the unwelcome but oh so familiar, Sunday loneliness set in.

Trying to pin-point the actual cause of imminent depression sometimes works for me, so I searched my memory of the morning to see if I could find a starting point, and realised what it was almost instantly.
One of our congregation whose husband has been ill for some time has, sadly, become our newest widow in the last couple of days.

They were both good friends of St. M's and many tributes were paid to this man's contribution to the life of the church on several levels.

I know and like his wife but never met him since he had become ill around the time I became a part of the community, but he was well loved and always spoken of with admiration and affection so I felt I knew  him by proxy.

In itself, the loss of a member of the church 'family' tends to cause a change in the atmosphere and this I suppose combined with my own aloneness (always more intense at weekends), was the reason for the  lower than usual dip in spirits.

Whoever said "every man's death diminishes me" said something very profound, in that when we encounter change, we change.

For those of us of a melancholy persuasion, it is difficult to shake off the cloak of sadness, where our lighter-hearted brothers and sisters are able to put events in perspective more easily.

Time to stop I think.  I didn't intend to depress the entire world.  Too much looking inside should not be encouraged.

More cheerful next time.


  1. Dear Ray,
    I empathize with what's happening to you today. Like you, when I feel melancholia hovering within, I search for the catalyst. Sometimes, its elusive; sometimes, not. But nearly always it involves some kind of change. And change can be so risky. But the death of someone is a change that can't be revoked. So that brings with it a sense of helplessness.

    Be gracious to yourself please in the next hours and tomorrow. None of us is an "island entire unto ourselves". We are all part of the "mainland" as John Donne wrote so tellingly. Your grieving today reaches out into the Oneness of All Creation and brings healing. Of this I'm sure.

  2. Ray, you're right. This isn't a cheerful post, but it is searingly honest and what you write is very true for many people. Loneliness hurts and the added sense of loss you have experienced makes it hurt more. The weather doesn't help either. I do hope you feel a bit better today

  3. Dee, thanks for the empathy, It's a comfort to know that there are other people who can look at life' challenges in a similar way.

  4. Thanks Perpetua. Just hope my 'readers' can forgive my occasional lapses into misery.
    I'll try to inject some humour into the next post.
    The weather, as you so rightly remark, really doesn't help.

  5. We admire you for your honesty. This time of year is a stark reminder to some of how "it used to be" ,and reminds us sharply that some of those we loved dearly are missing.
    One of my husbands colleagues holds a Blue Service just before Christmas,where all those who have lost loved ones can have a short time of remembrance before the festivities begin. I am told that it is very therapeutic.

    Your "virtual friends ", us on the blog, are and will be thinking of you this Christmas. X

  6. Hi Jenni
    I don't know that there is anything very admirable about 'honest' blogging.
    For me there is no other way, but it is in many ways a rather self-indulgent method of airing one's woes.
    I suppose it is possible that there may be others 'out there' who feel less alone knowing that there is at least one blogger prepared (nay, only too willing) to articulate their personal angst.
    Your good wishes are much appreciated. Thanks.