The origin of the form of the word doldrum is thought to lie in the Old English word dol, meaning ?dull?. As for the meaning, there are two schools of thought. Early in the 19th century, in the doldrums was used as a synonym for ?in the dumps, depressed?.

Later sailors borrowed the phrase to describe the region of sultry calms and baffling winds within a few degrees of the Equator where the northeast and southeast trade winds converged. Here the progress of sailing ships would be greatly delayed for many days, their crews becoming frustrated and demoralised through inactivity. Hence, their feelings provided the name for the area.

All of us have felt depressed or low in spirit at one time or the other. When these feelings continue and spoil our normal enjoyment of life, or make us feel less able to do work or everyday jobs at home we should seek medical help.

It is surprising the number of biblical characters who found themselves in the doldrums. Elijah is usually cited as an example. The Psalms frequently portray the author as someone who is dejected and ?down?. The contrasting experiences of ?patience? and ?hope? are constant. Take, for example, I waited patiently for the God to help me; then he listened and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair?and set my feet on a hard, firm path and steadied me as I walked along (Psalm 40:1-2).

Rev. Gordon