Teach your moods

Orchids bloom beautifully at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, March 2012

Orchids bloom beautifully at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, March 2012

“Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes…This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods “where they get off,” you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith.”C. S. Lewis

The exquisite blooms pictured above are made possible by a carefully controlled environment, and skilled horticulturists who gently train them to grow along much stronger stakes fastened to the stems.  As wondrous as nature can be when left undisturbed, there is a place for the patient cultivation, informed by science, that enables us to enjoy flowers from other climates and regions that we may be unable to visit on our own.

This is a parallel to what I now seek to do with my mind, heart and imagination in an emotional climate that is currently rife with potentially destructive storms and intolerable extremes of temperature.  I try not to be unforgiving of my own moods, especially under the circumstances.  But from a strictly practical point of view, if I am to survive and be helpful to others, I absolutely must learn to teach my moods “where they get off,” to quote Lewis.  You, dear readers, are helping me to do just that, with your supportive comments, kind thoughts and faithful prayers for us.  May your kindness return to you in beautiful blooms from new and unexpected directions.

This post was originally published seven years ago today. The original post and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below.


  1. Good morning, Julia! This is perfect for me today. I will share it with a friend with whom I was chatting last night. We made a “no wallowing” agreement. 😁
    I probably won’t share it just yet with my other friend who is currently wallowing, as she would likely find it too preachy, and probably already thinks I’m being pious or insensitive. In her case, I’m just going with patience and love. 🙂
    (I’m liking the different emoticons today! LOL)

    • Susan, as implied in my previous message, I think patience and love are what almost all of us need most. And by “love” I mean a willingness to be actively and consistently present in someone’s life. That’s extremely rare, I’ve found.

      • Thank you for this nudge, and I agree. I haven’t heard back from my friend, and have sent short “hello” type texts a couple of times. Your noting the lack of patience and love is a good reminder to me that continuing to contact her isn’t necessarily the same as condoning her behavior, which apparently is “not speaking to me” at this time. Sigh.

        • As they taught us during the first year of PhD studies in communication, NOT communicating is one form of communicating, and what is not said sometimes speaks more truthfully than what is actually said…I’m sure Yogi Berra would agree.

  2. tpeastin

    Interestingly enough, today’s Upper Room (4 March 2020) is about orchids (and patience)!

    • Thanks for letting me know. I’ll have to go back and find that particular post. Hope you and your family are staying well and will have a nice, early springtime to enjoy!

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