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Melancholy Feelings and Ecclesiastical Thoughts

September 30, 2015

Melancholy: sober thoughtfulness; pensivenss; a gloomy state of mind, especially when habitual or prolonged

There is a herd of cattle crossing the road in front of me as I leave Cokeville. Small drops of rain jump onto the windshield and slide down like slugs. I wait for the cows to cross and watch the cowboy on a horse riding behind one on an ATV. It reminds me of when I dressed up in my chaps and cowboy hat to go cattle herding as a boy. I felt like a real cowboy, in full control of my horse. I was too busy imaginining I was in the wild west to catch on to the actual process of what we were doing – just quietly along for the ride.

Twelve straight hours in my car – first name Sue, last name Baru.

Feeling rested and revitalized after a great visit with my family.

Watching the landscape change around me, slowly getting greener, less rocky.

No pressure to talk.

Listening to my own thoughts, distraction free.

Twelve hours straight.

I could’ve kept driving too, all the way to the coast, then down through California, only stopping for gas and sleep.

Listening to whatever music I feel.

No one in my ear, telling me what they think about this or that, or what insignificant thing happened to them earlier that day.

No cigarettes.

No reason to quiver with anxiety.

This is going to continue when I get back, I tell myself. I am going to change my way of doing things, be more disciplined, take more time to myself. Follow through on my convictions. Stop being so wishy washy. Gain control.

Fast forward two weeks, and I am sitting around a fire trying to get myself to engage with some good friends. They’re moving out of their house the next day. I can’t engage. A comment here and there at best. A laugh. Cigarettes going down like oxygen.

All I can think about is how much I want to be alone.

But I stay, quietly along for the ride late into the night.
I said in my heart, “come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine – my heart still guiding me with wisdom – and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. – Ecclesiasstes 2:1-3

There is a girl sitting at the bar. She’s looked over at me a few times. She is very attractive. I like her style.

I want to go talk to her. Loneliness has been a struggle as of late.

I run through what would happen in my head – We talk casually, I get her number before we part ways that night. I am excited to have someone new in my life. I think about her in my down time: the possibilities of where our relationship could go. We grab a drink a few nights later, it goes well, and we kiss. This continues for awhile. Are we dating yet? It doesn’t take long before I start just going along for the ride, letting her dictate everything, because deep down I want to be alone, but it’s nice to not be lonely, so I go with the flow until it fizzles out.

I go outside to smoke a cigarette. She glances my way and senses I am not going to talk to her. She gathers her bag and walks out the door and down the street. I am mad at myself for not giving it a shot.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Was it Michael Jordan who said that?

I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kinds and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of sons of man. So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. – Ecclesiastes 2:4-7

The next day, I will find the time and space to be alone. No distractions. It will be quite nice. I’m glad I don’t have that girl’s number. Sometimes, it’s better to pass then to shoot.

I walk home. There is yelling down the street as I stand to the side of the house, hands on my knees puking that last shot out.

One too many, because the others were doing it, and I was quietly along for the ride.

The yelling sounds bad. I am afriad of the possibility of someone dying. I don’t know what to do, so I stand and listen for a few minutes.

Two men and a woman.

One seems to be hitting the others.

The voices are angry and fierce like lions.

STOP, I hear.

Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. – Ecclesiastes 2:9-12

I know who it is, so I start walking slowly in that direction. My friend is walking away from where the yelling was. He sees a cop car as I reach him and we run into the house. I don’t know what to tell him.

Said they provoked him.

He uses my phone to make few calls and cuss a few people out.

“Are you okay?” is all I can say.

His knee is scraped up but I can’t find any neosporine or bandages.

“Love you man,” I say as he leaves to head back home. No other words come. No words of wisdom. I used to feel wise, not so much anymore.

I wake up on the couch, not having remembered dozing off. Three good friends are standing over me.

They want me to party with them. I tell them no, and go into my room and crash. I am still not alone because I share a room.

Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness.

The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same even happens to all of them. Then I said in my heart, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise? And I said in my heart that this also is vanity. For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool! – Ecclesiastes 2:13-16

A bass string breaks.

This was about a month prior.

We’re playing a house party. People seem to be enjoying our set. We brought the fog machine and some lasers. I felt dialed in until I stepped away from the guitar and mic.

I try to talk to a few people, but they seem to not like me for some reason. They seem to be judging me for a reason I cannot comprehend. One asks me to tell a joke. “That’s cute,” he says, not impressed at all. I smile at them and walk away. I don’t need to talk to people like that.

The bass is fixed, sort of. Still missing a string, but the least important one. It will play.

I put my guitar over my shoulder and look at the mic, then the crowd. Suddenly, I feel like I’ve never stood in front of people before.

My heart starts racing and I’m struggling to breathe.

I might throw up in front of everyone. I’m trying to play the song, but I’m getting off time, barely hanging on.

My hands are shaking.

I’m forgetting the words, so I make them up. I don’t know if they make sense. My throat has tightened up.

He’s a late bloomer, I hear someone in the crowd saying. I can hear their eyes rolling. He doesn’t know how to perform. He’s whiney.

Did I actually hear these things, or were they in my head? I can’t say for certain.

We make it through the set. I want to leave, but I feel like it’s my job to stay. You can’t play a house show and not hang out after your set. That’s bad band etiquette.

Doesn’t leave a good impression.

So, I walk around, bouncing between conversations. I don’t care about any of them. I want to go home and be alone. I could go inside and dance. I walk inside and look at the dancing. It does not look appealing. Instead, I sit at the picnic table in the back and listen to other conversations for a few hours.

Finally, I drive home and lay alone in bed thinking, until eventually, I fall asleep.

I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow and his work is vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity. – Ecclesiastes 2:18-23

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 30, 2015 10:00 pm

    good post man. i felt the thread of your heart woven through the whole thing. ill be praying for you and conviction.

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