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Without Hope, We Have Nothing

Posted Nov 16 2012 12:00am

I'm really not feeling very hopeful right now.

Sometimes, I just feel - down. And, well, hopeless. I look at my house, and see stuff everywhere, in every corner and every flat surface - and instead of feeling grateful that I have stuff in my life - I feel overwhelmed that everyone else in my life needs to be able to see every single thing that they own at any given moment.

I see stacks and stacks of wash (both dirty and clean and clean stuff put BACK into the dirty pile), and feel overwhelmed that, short of joining a nudist colony - I'll never be finished. Ever. And even if we WERE nudists - shudder - we'd STILL have to wash sheets and towels.

Every month, bills pile up and need to be paid. No matter how many bills I pay - the mail goes out, the mail comes in. Work is awesome, fun and interesting - but as awesome as work is, it's not a day at the spa, kwim? Everyone works, and that's why it's called WORK - work and fun are often different sides of the same coin, but I really don't know anyone who would work for free. My husband works harder and with longer hours than anyone I've EVER known - and he's one of the most upbeat people, but even he gets down about it sometimes.

I think it's being an adult that does it. Responsibilities, man.

Life has a way of bringing us down. Of being an albatross, a weight around the neck, if it's not one thing to worry about, it's another. It's easy to get bogged down in it, easy to focus on the bad stuff, to think about the car accidents, the legal practicalities, the chores that have to be done, the bathroom molding that needs scrubbed, the kitchen counter that needs to be regrouted, the ceiling that needs to be painted, the closet that cries out for a gentle organizational touch, the

Oh, man. I just depressed myself again.

I think that this is where funeral ministry comes in to play for me.

Wait. Hear me out before you completely write me off as a looney bin candidate. 

When someone dies, the loved ones are left alone, devastated and wiped out with sadness. You can make a choice then. You can become super saturated with the loss and let it consume your every waking moment - and I've seen people like that. Or you can miss your loved one and focus on the good times, the funny memories, and live your life in a way that honors the deceased.

Caveat: I have NOT been in this situation. I do not know what I might do or how I might react.Take my words for what they are - words ONLY.

My mom tells my kids all the time - Put on your slicker. It's a shorthanded expression to tell them to put on a metaphorial slicker and let the bad stuff slide right off. It's super easy to say, but super tough to do. I try, as much as I can, to do this. If something happens that infuriates me, makes me cranky or mad or irritable - I try to really dwell in it for a few - and then let it go.

Easy to say. Harder to live.I'm SO definitely a work in progress on this one.

I try, as much as I can, to reframe the negative in a positive manner. You, in the corner, with the black shirt on - stop laughing. You might not believe it, but it's true. A kitchen full of dishes? We've got food and I've got a family. Kids screaming and yelling? They are healthy. Lots of bills? We both have jobs to pay those bills.

If I'm still feeling hopeless, I do something to bring up my mood. I watch Instant Cosby for a few minutes. I put on some music and dance around the house. I put on some music really, really loudly and drive with the windows down and my Harley Davidson jacket on. I might go into the kitchen and grab a pice of chocolate. (YES, I KNOW.) If that closet is bugging the snot out of me, I make myself fix it.

How do you keep your mood elevated? How do you keep yourself hopeful?

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