Sometime in the late 1980s I came to know a woman who I will call Gloomy Gussie. The details of how this came about are lost in the fog, but she had the contract to clean the post office, and she arranged for me to fill in for her when she couldn’t get to town because of bad roads or other reasons.
Gloom we always have with us, a rank and sturdy weed, but joy requires tending.
The people who worked at the post office did not like her very much, mainly because of her attitude on the job and she was so unfriendly. If GG was cleaning the lobby when customers walked in, she was often rude or made unkind remarks.
So no, she was not a favorite there, and at the end of that fiscal year when the contract came up for bid, the postmaster asked me if I would like to have the job. I said I would, so he rewrote the contract and added some requirements that meant GG could no longer perform the job. I placed a bid and won the contract.
I had a good time cleaning the post office. I met a lot of interesting people in the lobby and enjoyed interacting with the people who worked there. I gave up the contract after about 15 years because we were just getting too old and stiff to meet the contract’s requirements to take care of the floors and shovel the snow off the sidewalks, and haul the lawnmower in to mow the lawns, and a few other things that were required.
But I am at the post office every day to pick our box mail. GG also has a post office box and so we often meet at the door of the post office.
We have had rather monotonous weather for about the last 10 days consisting of an almost uniformly gray sky, a lot of rain and fog, and rather cold with a sometimes biting wind. The blessing is that it is always well above freezing, so all of the moisture has stayed liquid instead of forming layers of ice. I am so thankful for that.
On one such morning a few days ago I saw GG at the post office and said,
“Hi, GG, how are you doing?”
Often a question like that gets little more than a shrug, but this time she actually had something to say:
“I am not very happy. I am tired of the rain and the cold.”
I was not surprised by her comment. And yeah, I get it. There are times when the weather can indeed cause a lot of stress. But I also get how important it is not to let the outside weather influence the “inside weather.”
We are advancing into a “hard time” of the year for us as couple, and I know what can happen if we focus on the rank and sturdy weed of gloom and how important it is instead to tend the internal joy “inexpressible and full of glory” that we are promised as Christians through our relationship with the Lord. If we are always depending on external things to make us happy, we are indeed likely to be very Gloomy Gussies.