Based on the medieval method of determining temperaments, I am a definitely a melancholy. The personality of a melancholy is highly affected by the slightest changes in circumstances, environment, routines, sights, sounds, smells. These changes can send our spirits soaring or plunge us into the deepest shadows. The driving desires of the melancholy are solitude, long periods of uninterrupted time for reflection and creativity, distance, even seclusion. Without these things, the melancholy feels anxious, stressed, weighed down. According to the medievals, the melancholy personality is also equated with the element of earth: cold and dark. That got me thinking. Is this perhaps why I am happiest during the winter with its long months of biting cold, extended hours of darkness, and relative isolation? I literally feel giddy with joy at the prospect. Contradictory? Perhaps.
There are times in life when the convergence of conversations, readings, and circumstances are hard to ignore. Perhaps it is at these times when God is insisting that we take a closer look at the common threads. For me, the recent convergence has revealed the common thread of the power of isolation to affect the lives of others. Contradictory? Maybe not. Hopefully over the next few weeks, I will be able to carve out some longed-for solitude to create an explanation of what I feel but cannot yet find the words to describe.