Ever had a day like this?: You wake up grouchy in the morning. You have a backache – it’s not excruciating pain, but it makes you walk funny and groan every time you get up. You’re slightly to moderately annoyed at your husband throughout the day – because he is tired and expects too much help from you, you think. Every time you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror you scowl – your old sweatshirt and sweatpants don’t flatter you much, and neither does the wild hairdo you acquired after your midafternoon nap. The sink and kitchen counters are full of dirty dishes – and you have no energy for such work. You snap at the kids and are annoyed at every noise they make.
This is a purely hypothetical situation, of course, but maybe you’ve had a day that was similar in some ways. What’s that? Do I hear some of you out there laughing? Oh, all right, I’ll admit it! It’s me! This was a day I had a few weeks back. Why do I always have to ‘fess up and tell you these things?! Oh, that’s right, I’m hoping it will help someone else. Well, with that in mind, I’ll tell you the rest of the story…
The day I just described was actually the second bad day I was experiencing – Friday was pretty bad and then the above scenario took place on Saturday. My poor husband did not know what to do with me. I could tell he was upset with my mood, but I really wanted some sympathy from him. (OK, I wanted LOTS of sympathy!) Doggone it, he wasn’t giving it to me! Finally, in the middle of the afternoon, I drooped into the bedroom and uttered something pitiful through my tears, I don’t remember what I said. He got up and packed up his books to go to the library as he matter of factly chewed me out for “moping around like a….” (He never finished that sentence. I wonder what he was going to say!) After he left I couldn’t decide whether I should be mad or depressed. My gut feelings said, “Run to the bedroom, cry your eyes out, and make sure you’re still sniffling when Gary comes back from the library!” Another voice whispered, “You ARE moping around too much, shape up and act right.”
I was faced with a choice: mope or cope. As tempting as it was to throw myself a huge pity party, I decided to do something to get out of that awful mood. The kids were busy playing, so I took a hot shower and immediately felt quite a bit better (helped my backache a little, too!). I put on some nicer clothes, then I turned on a CD of praise songs and tackled the mountain of dishes. I still didn’t feel a whole lot better inside, but it felt good to at least be doing something productive. As I gradually could see the kitchen counter again, the future looked brighter. When Gary finally got back from the library, I could announce “I’m back! I feel better now” and we finally smiled and hugged each other.
I really don’t like the moral of this story much, because it takes away any excuse I have for acting the way I was earlier in the day. I know there are times when we are exhausted or sick, and we really do need to just go crawl in bed until we feel better, but in most cases we can choose to act more cheerful in spite of our feelings inside. Even if we don’t feel like laughing and joking around with our families, at the very least we can choose to act right and not mope around and bring everyone down.
When you are in a good mood, do you like to see someone scowling and acting miserable? Of course not! Remember that when you’re planning your next pity party – and put it off one more day. Better yet, put it off indefinitely!
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
© Robyn Mulder 1999, therobynsnest.org