Last Sunday, Clare and I went to Mass at St. Josephs in Mariposa. During the homily, the priest talked about Blue Monday, a late January phenomena of depression related to the middle of winter, cold, dark days, lots of sickness, and the distance from both Christmas and Easter with their sacred energy. He went on to offer three practical ways to manage the challenges this time of year brings: gratitude, an affirming attitude, and kindness.
The last week of January 2013 was full of such blueness in our family. The flu hit Cindy's parents and Jennie Lou and Clare. My son's father-in-law was extremely ill and ended up in the hospital as did Cindy's dad. Michael and Raleigh were out of town which left their wives limping along without their main support, and to make matters worse the elder sons, who pitch in with driving and child care, were also away. My daughter-in-law leaped to help her dad, and many friends and I stepped forward to help manage the children--including providing transportation to school, work, and sports--and overnight supervision. Jennie Lou's car broke down, leaving her not only sick but basically stranded. So I did some driving to get those kids to and from school and other events. Over in Mariposa, where Cindy was helping her folks, the pump to the well went out leaving them without water after dark on Friday night. It was dizzying week that could have dropped us to our knees or at least into sick beds but it didn't.
Without actually thinking about, we were doing what the priest recommended. We were grateful to be healthy and have the strength needed to help. We were willing, which was definitely an affirming attitude. And I'm pretty sure we were kind in everything we did.
We love our HUGE family even when dazed with blue moments--for we see the tenderness there and know the blessing.