I WAS FEELING MELANCHOLY after the Easter Sunday worship service.
I know we’re supposed to feel uplifted because Jesus got uplifted. But we can’t always tell our feelings to feel what we want them to feel. They have feelings of their own.
Maybe I felt melancholy partly because I have been working so hard on something outside my comfort zone. I had taken half the previous week off to work with my son on building a little table for my office. Then we were going to build a little table for his man cave.
My son and I are learning some wood-working together.
There are no amount of how-to videos to walk us cleanly through a project like this, error free. We lost count of how many times we had to take off the drawer sliders to get the doggone drawers to pull correctly.
We started videotaping the project. But somewhere along the way, our missteps and our focus on trying to get this thing done by the end of the week took control of what was happening inside my garage, which we had turned into a temporary carpenter shop.
I worked from early morning and into the night from Wednesday through Saturday. On Easter Sunday, I went to our 8 am worship service, knowing that I was going to go home and try to finish the project before my son and his family came over for Easter Supper.
I know. It’s a day of rest. Especially on Easter. But Jesus was a carpenter who said the Sabbath was made for humans. I was a human who wanted to finish this project.
My wife had worked Saturday night before Easter. So I went to church by myself. It was a fine worship service. The music was wonderful. The sermon, as usual, was engaging and relevant.
Still, when I got in the car and started driving off the property, a sense of melancholy filled me.
I don’t know why.
- Maybe it was because I was tired and sore, and I skipped breakfast.
- Or because the time I was getting to spend working beside my son was over, for now.
- Or because I had gone to church alone.
- Or because I remembered how my first Easter without dad felt, a story I’ve told in a video called Two Deaths.
Maybe it was because my body chemistry was temporarily out of whack.
To be clear, this was not a dark depression. It was just an easy-going sense of melancholy. You can get it from listening to Kansas City jazz.
I have the music on my phone connected by Bluetooth to the car’s sound system.
I turned on the power to the radio and I hit the auxiliary button, which links to the music on my phone.
Loud and bold rang the lyrics, by Johnny Cash:
Well I woke up Sunday morning
with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad,
so I had one more for dessert.
Sunday Morning Coming Down
If my car was a bubble of melancholy, it popped.
I started laughing.
Out loud I said, “Okay God.”
I have no way of knowing if God arranged the order of my playlist that day. But I can tell you that I think the God my spirit has come to know would do something like that—as he laughed with me and possibly at me.
Who but God would have thought that a song about a Sunday hangover was appropriate for Easter Sunday.
There’s a time for everything
A season for everything that happens on earth…
There’s a time to feel oddly melancholy
And there’s a time to pop that bubble and laugh out loud.
With apologies to Ecclesiastes 3 and to the memory of Johnny Cash.