A Day for Grumbling

I like these cold, gray winter days.
Days like these let you savor a bad mood. 
~Bill Watterson (Creator of Calvin and Hobbes)

Sometimes the mist overhangs my path,
And blackening clouds about me cling;
But, oh, I have a magic way
To turn the gloom to cheerful day—
      I softly sing.

And if the way grows darker still,
Shadowed by Sorrow’s somber wing,
With glad defiance in my throat,
I pierce the darkness with a note,
       And sing, and sing.

I brood not over the broken past,
Nor dread whatever time may bring;
No nights are dark, no days are long,
While in my heart there swells a song,
       And I can sing.

~James Weldon Johnson “The Gift to Sing”

I can grumble and complain with the best of them. There is camaraderie in shared grumbling, as well as an exponential increase in dissatisfaction as everyone around me shares their own particular misery. Some relationships are based on just such collaborative complaining.

But I know better. I’ve seen where grousing leads and I feel the ache in my bones when I’m steeped in it. The sky gets grayer, the clouds become thicker, the night is darker–on and on to its overwhelming suffocating conclusion.

I have the privilege to turn away from being bleak and gloomy and choose joy. I can find the single ray of sun and stand steadfastly within it, to sing out that first note and pierce the darkness.

This is not me putting on a “happy face” — instead joy adopts and inhabits me, holds me close in the tough times and won’t abandon me. Though at times it may hide temporarily behind a cloud, I know it is there even when I can’t see it.

So I gently sing my way out of the gloom and clouds, for when I choose joy over grumbling, I find joy has chosen me.

So breaks the sun earth’s rugged chains,
      Wherein rude winter bound her veins;
So grows both stream and source of price,
      That lately fettered were with ice.
So naked trees get crisped heads,
      And colored coats the roughest meads,
And all get vigor, youth, and spright,
      That are but looked on by his light.
~Ben Jonson “So Breaks the Sun”

May we sing together, always.
May our voice be soft.
May our singing be music for others
and may it keep others aloft.
Sing gently, always.
Sing gently as one.
May we stand together, always.
May our voice be strong.
May we hear the singing and
May we always sing along.
Sing gently, always.
Sing gently as one.
~Eric Whitacre

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4 thoughts on “A Day for Grumbling

  1. “So I gently sing my way out of the gloom and clouds, for when I choose joy over grumbling, I find joy has chosen me.”
    Such a perfect summation! I love this whole theme today–song, and the CHOICE of it! Like you, Emily, I have to choose to sing sometimes–but I’ve had the joy and privilege of being married for 64 years to a man who wakes up singing in the morning, and carries music in his heart wherever he goes and whatever he faces! : )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree mostly with what you say here, dear Emily. It IS better to seek joy than to wallow in self pity
    and even (temporary) darkness. But it is not totally possible in the times in which are living to
    accept that wisdom, that reality. No need to list here all the darkness and discord that seep into our lives through our nation’s governments’ actions and its citizens lack of judgment and basic
    morality to seek a ‘oneness’ – the ability, the resolve to treat each other with civility and compassion. it is so vital that we do so, even though we are imperfect human beings. It is what Jesus taught, I believe. When I experience darkness (or doubt), I try to fill my mind and my soul with hope and thanksgiving for the sure certainty that HE does dwell within us, as He promised that He would not leave us orphans and would dwell within us always….

    For me. the picture that you have chosen to illustrate that ‘darkness’ is perfect. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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