Thursday, February 16, 2012


Everyone in my family knows that I have a melancholy personality. Not that I don't know how to laugh or never have fun, but, yes, I've been accused of being "too serious" and "too sober" - repeatedly. I "think about things too much" and am prone to over-analyze.

I've often wondered how other people can be so light, have such fun personalities. Why is it that some folks seem to live more in the sunshine, while others of us live more in the shadow?

I don't have an answer for that question, but I suspect it's due in large part to personality, in large part to experience, and in large part to calling. For most of my life, I've thought that this melancholy disposition was something I needed to be shed of, a kind of curse...if only I had a greater faith, I could be like my light-hearted, take-it-in-stride acquaintances. It's "bad" to be the heavy, right? And "good" to be the Sunny? I mean, Sunny is obviously better, right?

Well, maybe not. Maybe not, if your calling is to carry shadows.

As a young girl, I was the person the misfits in school could talk to. At an age when most of my peers didn't even know the meaning of the word "incest," I was gifted with the shameful burdens of broken, lonely, depressed classmates. In our rural, isolated neck of the woods, "homosexuality" was barely even whispered - it was a freak aberration that occurred "out there," far away in California where the fruitcakes lived. Except for the confused, fearful, withdrawn classmates that confided in me on lonely corners of the schoolyard. They knew they could talk to me and that I wouldn't tease or blab or mock. The high school classmate that was going to have to tell her parents she was pregnant - the one who carried her baby full term, and the one who was secreted away for an abortion. I was too young to have answers, but, for some reason, I knew that these folks were carrying dark, heavy burdens and that they desperately needed to unload on someone. Heavy, heavy burdens for one so young.

In college, there was the terminally-ill girl who didn't want any one else to know her condition, who just wanted a "normal college experience, for as long as it can last." But she needed to tell someone. Could I keep a secret? She died the summer after our freshman year. The young Marine wife who hadn't bargained for being so very alone, who just needed someone to talk to who would understand. The first-grader who needed a place to hang out until her mom came home and unlocked the door. The neighbor who lost a brother to Aids, but who was afraid to tell anyone why he had died so young. The tearful, depressed wife who had been unfaithful to her husband, and she was so very, very sorry and afraid, and she didn't know if she'd ever be able to tell him or to make things right...

So many sad stories in this broken world. And some of the sad stories are my own.

Yes, my wagon seems full of shadows. Very heavy shadows. Is it any wonder I sometimes seem gray and melancholy?

But there is a man who has walked through these dark shadows and who has come through to incorruptible light. He invites me daily to follow Him, follow Him into the light. Is it any wonder my heart aches for Glory?! Thankfully, this "lovely, lovely man" posts radiant sunbursts along my path. Indeed, He is the lovely source of true delight.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

True, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent....



Anonymous said...

Our "calling" is not to carry burdens but to lay them down. Like the old hymn says "take it to the Lord in Prayer". Do you think that people recognize Christians as people who will help them "carry" their burdens. Pap was my go to man. Still miss him.
Love you. Dad

Michelle said...

Scripture says to bear one another's burdens.

Camille, I love this post! I identify with what you said so much. I teach in a private Christian school, and often feel pressured to act like something I'm not. (Miss Susie Sunshine) Philippians 4:8 is my class motto. We recite it each morning immediately after pledges until I feel certain that each child can say it by heart.