Okay, I admit it: I'm a melancholy.
I know...you are totally not surprised, are you?
Not only do I need to admit the truth that I am a melancholy - to myself and to others - but I also need to embrace that truth.
I have a friend who is a sunshine. Time spent with her is like a holiday on the beach, like basking in the shekinah of God's goodness and grace.
But my sunshine friend reminded me recently: one of the glories of God's kingdom is that it is comprised of so many different kinds of people, people created and uniquely gifted to minister the gospel in a thousand thousand different ways and situations.
There is a place, she reminded me - and a purpose - for even the melancholies.
Among my greatest blessings are the wonderful Jesus-reflecting people God has ordained to walk this life with me.
I am a melancholy.
Do you have any idea how many times I have been told to "just get over it" when I have been grieved by sin? Do you want to try to guess how often I have been told I to "toughen up" when I have been saddened by the brokenness I see in the world around me?
I take things "too seriously." Something that weighs no more than a shadow to another may feel like a millstone to me.
Feeling the weight of shadows...that's messed up. Not normal. What's wrong with you?!
Yeah, what's wrong with me?! You think I like this heaviness?
On the up side, though...
This heaviness is married to tremendous joy.
Can't handle the melancholy? You probably wouldn't be able to handle my happy side, either. The weight of the joy that is mine in Christ completely dwarfs the melancholy. Like bedrock, the weight of this joy would, I fear, crush some.
G. K. Chesterton put it this way: "Everything human must have in it both joy and sorrow; the only matter of interest is the manner in which the two things are balanced or divided...Christianity satisfies suddenly and perfectly man's ancestral instinct for being the right way up; satisfies it supremely in this; that by its creed joy becomes something gigantic and sadness something small and special...Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian."
So, if I could leave off being a melancholy...and if doing so meant I would have to trade this great heart-bursting "gigantic secret" joy for some "small publicity" knockoff...well, no thanks. I'll pass.
I'm a melancholy, and I'm happy with that.
3 months ago