I’m a word guy. I love finding out what people’s names mean. Where their name came from, and stuff like that. I especially like seeing if people are living out the meaning of their name….

But like I said, I’m a word guy. I like words. What they really mean and where they came from and how long they’ve been used fascinates me. Ironically, words change in meaning and/or how they are used throughout time and with different generations.

Monday’s word for me has been “melancholy[meluhn-kol-ee]. Used as a noun it means: a gloomy state of mind, especially when habitual or prolonged; depression. But also as a noun, it can mean this: sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness.

Sober thoughtfulness? Hmmm…

The synonyms of melancholy are:

– sadness
– dejection
– despondency
– seriousness
– gloomy
– despondent
– blue
– dispirited
– sorrowful
– dismal
– doleful
– glum
– downcast
serious

This little word has a powerful meaning and it’s been used for over 600 years now to describe something…

…Is being melancholy bad?
…Should “Christians” ever be melancholy??
…Should I ever be…???

Well I did…I felt melancholy this morning as I drove to a high school where I was subbing and listened to the radio. On a Sacramento rock radio station, the morning show DJ’s were discussing something that made me downcast, sorrowful and sad. They were talking about how a young man, 19 years old, killed himself.

Did you know that…
The rate of suicide in the United States is increased for the first time in a decade…and that…every 16 minutes, someone in the United States takes their own life. This means that every 17 minutes, lives are turned upside and will never be the same again.

There is more “statistics where those came from…

What I found most alarming this morning as I listened to them talk about this kid was how it all happened. He broadcasted his suicide live, and online, and people watched. Over 100 people watched and commented, chatting about what they were seeing. This brought about some serious sorrow to my heart…would I have watched and done nothing? Have I? Have I ever been unaware/naive/selfish to not notice the seriousness of an others need?

…Is being melancholy bad?
…Should “Christians” ever be melancholy??
…Should I ever be…???

Tonight I sure felt that way as I watched the news and our local NBC station told the story and showed the pictures of the families killed in a small plan crash in Montana. Three different families, all from Northern California. They were moms, dads, and kids. The “moms & dads” of the victims were doctors and such…people who helped people. I cried as I watched the news tonight. My heart was sad…and I knew this was another, great loss…

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Being melancholy over death, being down in the dumps and sorrowfully isn’t a bad thing. I’m outraged over the suicide of this young man. And my heart grieves the huge loss of those plane crash victims on their way to a “family vacation.”

When I feel this way. Whether right or wrong, just like the psalmist wrote, I must put my hope back in God. I must, fix my eyes on Him. He will make my heart happy again. He’s my God. In fact, without experiencing melancholy and all of its various “synonyms”, I don’t think I’d be able to fulyl grasp and experience the lasting and true Hope that only He can bring me.

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One thought on “understanding

  1. hi nick…it’s jennifer ithurburn:) hey…thanks for adding me on facebook!! wow, your post is very thought-provoking…just doing “life” brings lots of sadness sometimes…broken dreams, broken hearts…though, to me, the saddest is a broken spirit, like this boy must have had. and only God can mend a sad, melancholy, broken spirit…i am so thankful for that. i loved the psalm you chose…if anyone was ever “melancholy”, it was David…it’s such a sad, hopeless place to be. but l loved your words, “I must put my hope back in God. I must, fix my eyes on Him. He will make my heart happy again. He’s my God. In fact, without experiece melancholy and all of its various “synonyms”, I don’t think I’d be able to full grasp and experience the last and true Hope that only He can bring me.” they are so true…He, alone, is the only One who can restore hope and make a heart happy again. yay…God!!

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