Have you ever just sat there and looked at the sunset, or a scene like the one in the photo today, and had this slight sense of sadness? Maybe it hits at a time when you really aren’t expecting it, like when you’re in the car sitting at a light or with the family out to eat and you see the sun setting through the window blinds.
I have. For whatever reason, when I look at the photo today, I get that subtle sense of sadness. To some, they may look at the picture of the sun setting over the beach picnic tables and think about pleasant family times. Or, maybe a romantic time.
Why is it, then, that some of us can look at a photo, or something so beautiful as the sunset, and feel a sense of melancholy? Melancholy is defined as, ‘a feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause’. Well that will make anyone’s day won’t it! Sheesh…
For some reason, the 70s was the decade of melancholy. Sure, there was great rock, jazz, and blues music written, but, many of the pop culture songs tended to have a ‘sad side’. Groups like Bread and Air Supply. Singers like Neil Sedaka, Jim Croce, Barry Manilow, and even my favorite, Neil Diamond, wrote songs that, not only made the ‘whole world sing’, but made the whole world cry!
Music, and picturesque scenes like sunsets, have a way of drawing out those emotions we may have buried or tried to forget. Who can forget movies like, “Summer of 42”?
Unfortunately for me, my mother loved the music from that movie and had the album. I remember having a ‘puppy love’ crush on a girl I’d just met at band camp one summer. She sent me her picture and a love note a few weeks afterward. I would sit and listen to that music for hours staring at her picture. To say the least, I had it bad.
I did the same thing in college when I had a serious crush on a girl. My roommate and I loved Barry Manilow. He had a serious crush on his girlfriend so the two of us would sit and listen to, “Mandy”, “Even Now”, “Looks Like We Made It”, “Somewhere in The Night”, “Can’t Smile Without You”, and “Weekend in New England” over and over. It was truly pathetic now that I think about it!...
Our perception of love and loss is so easily tied to a memory. Music and light are two of the most powerful memories for us. Sure, do I still like Barry Manilow, YES. I just can’t sit around and think about the Mrs. while listening to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (although, that might be a good one come to think of it…)!
No, love is more than how someone, or a memory of someone, makes us feel (good or bad). Love is all about commitment. It’s about giving even when it hurts. It’s about being willing to sacrifice our needs and desires for those of others. It’s not about pushing others to love us and recognize us. It’s not about putting guilt on others because they may not make us feel the way we think they should.
Even though I tend to be melancholy a times, I have matured to understand that memories, good or bad, are the past. I hold onto the good ones and let go of the bad. It’s not always easy, especially when I’m listening to Pandora and a song like, “I Can’t Live Without You” kicks in!... Man!
So, today, here’s to letting go of the things that keep us in a melancholy state. Here’s to holding onto the good memories. I don’t know why I feel sadness when I see the photo today. Probably some memory I’ve buried of a loss or feeling of loneliness. Who knows.
What I do know, is, that I’m moving forward and will enjoy that photo for what it is; an image of God’s glorious light shining as it sets over the horizon. Keep your chin up my friends. Life can be more than sadness. If you’re feeling melancholy today too, hang in there. God loves you. He cares. I care, and I’m sure, there are others who care too.
Wishing you a blessed weekend my friend!