Follow-Up to Yesterday’s Post

Follow-Up to Yesterday’s Post

First, thank you to everyone who commented on my last post or emailed me. Your words of encouragement have meant so much to me and I definitely have felt your prayers.

Last night I got a really good night’s sleep. Ben woke at 12 and Dom put him back down and then he woke again at 1 and I thought it was going to be a terrible night. He thrashed and kicked while I tried to nurse him back down and it looked like it was going to be a very long night. But I decided to try to put him back down in the office playpen. We’d put him down without his fleece sleep sack because it was so warm yesterday. But I decided to close the windows, turn on the AC and zip him in. It was evidently exactly what he wanted because he went down with very little fuss and slept until 5.

I woke feeling better rested than I have in a long time. And immediately went and ordered a summer weight sleep sack. And then I got a good nap this afternoon. (One helpful bit of advice from my doctor—he really is a good guy—is affirmation that naps really do help when you are fatigued.)

For those who have expressed concern, my thyroid levels were back up to normal at my checkup.

Also, I’m pretty sure I don’t have post partum depression. I’ve battled depression in the past. I was on medication for it for a time back in college. This doesn’t feel the same. It did occur to me to consider the possibility when I read Kate Wicker’s recent article and Elizabeth Foss’ and Suzanne Temple’s follow-ups. But as long as I’m having very interrupted sleep that seems to be the most obvious explanation. As Elizabeth said:

But I’ve learned to stop myself and ask if I’m genuinely depressed or just so tired that I can’t cope. When you are tired day in and day out for many months (years), you stop recognizing fatigue for what it is.

It’s not hard to diagnose fatigue as the cause of what ails me. I’ve had interrupted sleep. In fact I can count on one hand the nights in the past few months when I have had more than four hours of uninterrupted sleep at a stretch. I’ve been recognizing all sorts of signs of fatigue. I’ve had memory lapses, an inability to concentrate. The other day I found myself putting the dried cranberries away in the refrigerator. I also lost my bottle of cran-pomegranate when I put it away in the freezer. I need my afternoon nap. I fall asleep while trying to say my prayers. I promise, though, that if I’m still feeling off-kilter after getting a few nights of good sleep, then I will seriously consider the possibility of PPD.

My dad, who recently was installed as a spiritual director for the Diocese of Austin, sent me to St Francis de Sales (who he calls “the salesman”). There’s some great wisdom there and I will be re-reading the Introduction to the Devout Life this week.

Should you, my daughter, ever be attacked by this evil spirit of sadness, make use of the following remedies. �Is any among you afflicted?� says S. James, �let him pray.�

Prayer is a sovereign remedy, it lifts the mind to God, Who is our only Joy and Consolation. But when you pray let your words and affections, whether interior or exterior, all tend to love and trust in God. �O God of Mercy, most Loving Lord, Sweet Saviour, Lord of my heart, my Joy, my Hope, my Beloved, my Bridegroom.�

Vigorously resist all tendencies to melancholy, and although all you do may seem to be done coldly, wearily and indifferently, do not give in. The Enemy strives to make us languid in doing good by depression, but when he sees that we do not cease our efforts to work, and that those efforts become all the more earnest by reason of their being made in resistance to him, he leaves off troubling us.

Make use of hymns and spiritual songs; they have often frustrated the Evil One in his operations, as was the case when the evil spirit which possessed Saul was driven forth by music and psalmody. It is well also to occupy yourself in external works, and that with as much variety as may lead us to divert the mind from the subject which oppresses it, and to cheer and kindle it, for depression generally makes us dry and cold. Use external acts of fervour, even though they are tasteless at the time; embrace your crucifix, clasp it to your breast, kiss the Feet and Hands of your Dear Lord, raise hands and eyes to Heaven, and cry out to God in loving, trustful ejaculations: �My Beloved is mine, and I am His.  A bundle of myrrh is my Well-beloved, He shall lie within my breast. Mine eyes long sore for Thy Word, O when wilt Thou comfort me! O Jesus, be Thou my Saviour, and my soul shall live. Who shall separate me from the Love of Christ?�

That last part really resonated with me. In fact I’ve had a draft of a blog entry about song as prayer sitting unfinished for a long time. I need to dust that off.

I’ve taken St Francis at his word and have been singing and singing today. Getting back into teaching the girls the Regina Coeli. (Sadly, Bella’s forgotten most of the words since last Easter season.) And singing God We Praise You, God We Bless You, my favorite version of the Te Deum. It warmed my heart to hear Sophie singing along with me today. 

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  • I knew someone was going to ask where it came from. Unfortunately, I don’t remember.  A while back I went hunting for Divine Mercy images that weren’t saccharine and I saved a few to my computer. But I didn’t record where they came from. I know that’s bad because someone probably owns the rights to this image; but it can be so hard to actually figure out where the original source for these things is. That said, if you search through pages and pages of Google images, you’ll probably be able to find it.

    I wonder why it is that almost all of the images are so icky. Why is it that so often Christians are willing to settle for mediocre art? I suppose that’s really the subject of an entire blog post to itself.


  • “Why is it that . . . Christians are willing to settle for mediocre art?”  And music too.  You’re right, these are questions that would require a whole post, if not a dissertation, unto themselves.

    Would you be willing to email the image to me as a .jpg or whatever it is?  I want to print it out and hang it up.  We don’t have a Divine Mercy image hanging up, though I think we should, precisely because of the ick factor with most of them . . .

  • IIRC the original image authorized by St. Faustina wasn’t that saccharine—the “Vilnius image” I think it is called.

    I like the “icon” version you’ve posted—one nice thing about the Eastern iconography is that it’s very hard for it to look saccharine.

  • The first painting by Eugeniusz Kazimirowski—indeed called the Vilnius image because it was painted in Wilno—was painted under the supervision of Saint Faustina and her confessor, Father Michał Sopoċko after Sister Faustina failed to execute a painting herself.  Her confessor was the artist’s model.

    I agree that it is much less saccharine than the second by Adolf Hyła, which I think is the one most commonly seen.

    Interestingly, though, it didn�t satisfy Father Sopocko, nor did St. Faustina like it. But in her diary she wrote that Jesus told her that it is not that important if the picture be beautiful. The true beauty would be the blessing, he, Jesus, would bestow to the people by the means of this painting.

    On the one hand, I do understand the point that Jesus’ mercy and grace is not dependent on beauty. On the other hand it bugs me that the message from Jesus that beauty is not important has been used to excuse bad art.

  • Beautiful!

    I love the Divine Mercy image—where is it from?  It’s hard to find images of the Divine Mercy that do not use that saccharine-looking Jesus-head, which always seems Protestant-looking to me. : )

  • This opens up all kinds of complicated theological questions, I think!  On the one hand, I think Jesus’ point here was to spread the devotion using a powerful, easily comprehensible symbol.  But on the other, God *is* beauty, and all created beauty is a reflection of Him.  But the beauty we create, even if we offer it to God, is not salvific.  Maybe this calls for a blog post of its own too.