“People that aren’t melancholy are in denial,” I muttered to my husband at the end of a very long day.
“Sounds like the title of your next book,” he replied with a tender smiled.
- Boy, do I have an optimistic and encouraging husband.
I’ve often thought it was a little twisted of the developers of the four temperaments to give the “thinkers” a name like Melancholic. I picture them sitting around a table getting a good laugh at the expense of the quadrant of people prone to over think a label. Maybe business was slow, and they thought this might put some borderline-depressed people over the edge. (Why else would the ancients have called them “the four humors” and find their inspiration in body fluids like blood, bile, and phlem? Were they themselves insane or maybe this is what a counselors comes up with when they're giddy on lack of sleep?)
I am no psychologist, but after living with myself for 35 years, I’ve learned a few things about “me”:
I make a tired extrovert and a lonely introvert.
So, I frequently need a lot of intimate friends to leave me alone.
I can be too Sanguine: craving a stage, dominating the conversation, or planning another creative project that I won’t finish.
I can be too Choleric with my excessive research, planning, and type-A passion for doing things the “right way”.
And, be it the nature or nurture of my extremely shy childhood tendencies or the transient lifestyle I experienced as an Army-brat, I can be plagued by Phlegmatic cravings for predictability and stability.
(Should a psychiatrist count all these personal pronouns, I’m certain to be labeled narcissistic as well.)
One thing is certain, I’m Melancholic. I am a ponderer, a reader, a thinker, a writer, a poet, a wanna’ be artist, and on any given day, I can be a downright pessimistic.
I used to hate this about myself, but now I appreciate that my life is so rich and deep! As I dabble into the lives of “less-melancholy” friends on my Sanguine days, I realize there’s no one that I’d rather be than “me”.
Finding hope is like finding beauty. It is found by the one who looks for it, contemplates it, appreciates it, beholds it.
To all you mental cases out there, we’re in great company!
It was the thinkers and ponderers of scripture that actually had a clue about what was really going on. Life may be easier to deal with when you live in ignorance, but all the great-meditators of the Bible like Abraham, Elijah, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Paul, knew God and heard from God. When the rest of the world was misguided, they had a clue. Then, when the reality of what they understood overwhelmed and depressed them, they also had God to comfort them, feed them, hide them, rescue them, protect them, and give them perspective and hope.
More than all of them, Jesus was never in denial. Somehow, He knew everything without becoming cynical or calloused. He was the most sane and well-adjusted man who ever lived in this crazy world. Never defensive or self-seeking, He faced the abuse of others and all the hard realities of life. How did He do it? He was secure in His identity. He knew who He was, and He knew His Father. Jesus trusted the Father’s will completely which clarified His in purpose and kept Him focused on His mission.
A Life-saving-thought for Deep-thinkers:
Thinking too much without taking your thoughts captive is like holding your breath and trying to dive to the depths of the ocean. You won’t get very far and you’ll probably drown.
All of living doesn’t have to be done in the deep.
Playing in the shallows can be fun!