A friend, Beth, has been one of the most cheerful, lively, hopeful people I know. The loss of a loved one is hard to bear, but she went through it. She did it with strength, grace and a will to carry on. She did it by helping others with the same comfort she received. She inspired me.
To lose some one, shortly after birth, or in the blush of youth, or strength of middle age does not seem right. It goes against the natural order of things. Other losses can smash our health, our security, our comfort, our self image, our hope.
At some point in our lives, if we are alive at all, one day, we will have our heart broken. We can allow those experiences to color our world. We often give permission or even assist in painting our world blue. We listen to, or even sing that special genre of music, sung in a minor key. Seasonal Affect Disorder, Post traumatic stress disorder, depression, all medical conditions named ‘disorders’ because we don’t like how they make us feel. They seem don’t fit in life. These disorders can tinge us in those dark hues. They can play those melodies. Everybody at some point sings the blues.
My melancholy shows up in the dark of night. Waking once in a great while, to find gloom sitting comfortably on my counterpane. She scatters sad memories of old tragedies. Taunts me with ongoing struggles of prodigal children. Reminds me of undone projects and unpaid bills in the present. Terrifies me with imaginary scenarios of the future. All of it is illogical. I have been through these things before and survived, pressed through; with God’s patient help, been victorious. But in the moment, in the darkness, the weight feels it will crush me into powder.
Yet… none of that needs to be permanent. There is a reason in any and all of these experiences for Hope. It is very interesting, when we force ourselves to begin looking for a way to share a bit of light in someone else’s gloom, it brings more than a glimmer in to our own. The very effort of helping another, begins to lift the gloom. A gentle and wonderfully cheerful professor in college used to say, “the best exercise for the heart is to reach down and help someone else up.” He had tasted the dark but chose the light. It is the best way, perhaps the only way, to escape depression. We can always find those who are struggling with our same affliction. Comforting with the same comfort we have received. Some times we need to be the ones to prime the pump. To reach out before we feel we have received anything.
If you, yes I am speaking directly to you, are sitting in the dark, clinging to and fondling that grey blanket of depression, let it go. If feelings of worthlessness, guilt, pity, anger, bitterness or emptiness are holding you captive. Give hope a chance. Force yourself to the window, open the door, pick up the phone, trust God and begin to give what you feel you cannot afford to give away. It will come back to you as gold refined in the fire.
I wrote a short article a number of years ago that might speak to you.
As always telling Stories in Sand.