I don’t like “depressed.”

It’s too overworked, meaning too many things.


I prefer “down” for those times I’m not “up”

   or in the middle.


For a quick recipe for what to do

         when you feel down


use the DOOR.




   Perhaps this will sound too childish…so let me nudge it up to childlike, but it’s really not childlike at all–unless you equate that with “simple.” Here’s a strategy as to what to do when you’re feeling particularly down:

   Calmly, step back and think about what’s the next thing that you need to do. Just that.

   Then, step by step do the next thing. Do it. Other things can wait. Push them aside (along with all the other things always waiting).

   Two big examples from the Bible: When Peter was thrown in jail for preaching, he was probably wondering what the next steps were that he should take. He obviously prayed and an angel came and opened the door to break his chains and free him. Further, the angel told him to gather his things quietly and quickly leave. Peter did and knew where to go. (That was the next next thing.) John the Baptist, on the other hand was rotting in jail when all the Jesus action was going on outside and he was missing it. He asked someone to ask Jesus if was really “the one” who was to come, and Jesus sent words back that John could recognize if he thought about them that Jesus was the promised Messiah. He was comforted by this though his “way out” of prison was being beheaded. Jesus later said that no one born of man was “greater” than John. And Peter who was temporarily freed? His end–according to tradition–was that he was crucified upside down. Grim. But step by step they did the next thing–until they went to their great reward.

   And what about small, inconsequential things?

   Do the same: When torn by daily trivia to anyone else but you, and find yourself especially down,

   Decide what is, and then do the next thing


   ¹ I was too embarrassed to put this above, and will still feel ridiculous for putting it here, but I just finished 30 minutes of cleaning the cat area next to the washer and dryer. Once again 4-L, my cat (that’s his actual name), had thrown up, and only halfway hit the litter box. After 18½ years of Meow Mix, running along rafters, catching bats, cunningly dealing with dogs, and being a nonelectric blanket as I write in my 3rd-floor tower office, he’s coming to the end of a road that he seems clueless about. Though he expresses no pain, he wobbles as he walks, bumps into furniture, seems oblivious as to where he is and who he’s with, and has to be lifted into my lap. He still can cuddle and purr, however.

   I am not depressed, but I’m not up either. 4-L is a cat, the absolute best cat one could hope for. I will press on to do the next thing…and hope you will bear with me.