Monday, January 23, 2012
The Most Depressing Day of the Year
Sixty-two years ago today, January 23, 1950, my father was born. He's a marvelous dad: present, funny, wise, God-fearing, patient, enthusiastic about everything, and the champion of his three children. If any of us needs to hire an agent, Daddy would take the job, but fail at it, because no one would ever believe we are as fabulous as he thinks we are. Papa Wayne's (pictured above with one of his granddaughters) enthusiasm for his kids is surpassed only by his profound belief that his four grandchildren are the most beautiful and remarkable babies ever birthed. We are a well-backed, well-loved group of young people.
All this positivity is in direct odds with the fact that Dad was born on the Most Depressing Day of the Year. At least according to "experts."
In 2005, on my dad's birthday, I was heading to his house with a box of donuts and a Los Angeles Times, and saw the front page story.Researchers/sociologists somewhere (can't find the article, but they must have been big-wigs because it was on the front page), declared January 23 as the most depressing day of the year using a number of factors including weather, distance from any major spirit-lifting holiday, and the fact that most people had already abandoned their New Year's resolutions. "Most people" were receiving and unable to pay their Christmas credit card bills was also a factor. They might not have -- but should have -- noted that "most people" are five pounds heavier in January than they are at any other time.
But I, being extremely counter-cultural, really love the month of January. I'm a sucker for the new beginning, and I do make New Year's Resolutions of a sort. Some, which I select prayerfully, go pretty well, because when God calls me to change something, He's pretty faithful to give me the power to do it. Others, like my list in my previous blog "Changing Coffee Makers, Changing My Life," I only half expect to follow, and therefor don't get too discouraged about.
I love that, with Christmas over, expectations are lower. My calendar is less full and each day looks like fresh pad of paper to write on. Now that I'm not expected to feel "merry," I find it easier to do so.
I also love that, with the Christmas decorations down, my house seems twice as big. Bare shelves to arrange creatively, and no dead tree in the living room? What fun!
In January, I still remember what I got for Christmas, and as my gifts are usually clothes, books, and craft supplies, I go about in January well dressed, well read, and filled with creative inspiration.
All the new stuff , new space, and new routines inspires me to meditate on what is worthwhile in my life.
Which, by the way, is something my good father taught me. One of the many Bible verses my dad has memorized, and helped me memorize too: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4: 7-9
So happy birthday, Daddy. This day is a bright spot in my year because of you.