Do you remember the gray cloud that floated over the head of the cartoon character wherever he went? It was Al Capp's scraggly character Joe Btfsplk. No matter where he went, the bad luck cloud seemed to follow him.
The gray cloud brought bad luck not only to himself, but to others who came in contact with him. Any of us are in danger of becoming gray cloud people if we don't keep our eyes focused on Jesus.
Another character in children's fiction is Eeyore in the Winnie-the-Pooh books by A.A. Milne. He is generally characterized as a pessimistic, gloomy, depressed, old gray stuffed donkey who is a friend of the title character, Winnie-the-Pooh. Gray cloud people are like Eeyore.
Particularly in the latter season of our lives we are vulnerable to depression and a pessimistic attitude If we aren't careful, we can even become attached to that floating gray cloud. We actually become fond of it. It is as if the devil offered us a string to tie to our gray cloud like a balloon and we deliberately pull it along after us. We may find ourselves gradually taking a negative view of everything and we'll be just like Eeyore. Even a pink ribbon on our tail will not be able to alter our attitude!
We start imagining the worst scenario. We invoke the proverbial “Murphy's Law,” an adage or epigram that is typically stated as: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Gray cloud folks maintain that if something bad can happen, it is bound to happen to them. If that is a part of our customary thought pattern, then it is a self-fulfilling attitude: The bad thing will happen!
Because older folks have lived more years, they have accumulated more things in their gray cloud. Their gray cloud may contain an entire storehouse of things that other people did to them for which they haven't forgiven them. The cloud becomes heavier with the years. Each time they go into their memory cloud and reexamine offenses against them, they reopen the wounds. They become as fresh and raw as the day they happened. Gray cloud folks become bitter against those who injured them. In fact, they may even have been fantasy offenses. Real or imagined, their mental and physical health is affected by those trips into their memory gray cloud. Certainly such dredging up affects their spiritual lives.
If we keep looking in the rear-view mirror of the past, it distorts our perspective. The gray cloud drops gray rain on us until we are all gray, like Eeyore. We torture ourselves with introspective questions: “Why did I make such poor decisions in the past? Why couldn't I have done better? I have so many regrets. My life is pointless.” If we keep inflating our balloon-like gray cloud with such thoughts, the gray cloud will become monstrous and completely obscure the sun. We won't be able to live in the present moment because of the cloud of leftovers from the past. And we will contaminate everyone else around us with our negative attitudes.
If we see a gray cloud starting to form above us, or if we are holding on to some gray cloud by a string the devil provided, let's cut the string and let it float off like a balloon.....
As it rises God will dissipate it. We'll find that while we've been overshadowed by our gray cloud, all the while the Son has been shining above!