we all have stories. some worse than others. as i look at mine, it is nothing compared to the difficulty and tragedy i have seen people walk through.
i guess that’s what makes my battle with depression so baffling. in spite of the details of my journey, getting depressed over it still doesn’t make sense. was i just more susceptible to it than others? was there something deeper in my childhood? had i been repressing dark secrets that finally squirted out? what?
after my mom’s death, i continued to limp along emotionally. some days were better than others. when wanda would ask me how i was doing, my normal response was a shoulder shrug and a non-emotive “i don’t know…”
a couple of months later, i had the opportunity to spend some time with a great friend and spiritual mentor of mine. during the hours we spent together, i listened to him. i learned. i put some pieces of the puzzle together. my counseling had begun. over the days and weeks ahead, here are some things that helped bring clarity:
i was wounded. the years of ministry at that church had left me pretty beaten up. but i never let on. i never showed it. i never really had the time. too much to do. too many people to help. too many problems to deal with. the hurt had finally caught up with me.
i had lost my identity. over the years, i had become the hero child in a dysfunctional family. i had gone from simply being the youth minister to the fix it guy…the answer man…the gap filler…mr. dependable…the pastor of a whole church family. and then we hired this new guy and my role was no longer needed. i didn’t know what i was anymore. i had no people to fix…they had their answer. i had no more battles to fight.
i lost my dream. somewhere inside, i knew instinctively that if we hired this new guy, my dream of spending the rest of my life doing youth ministry in huntington beach was going to die. i knew that i was not going to be able to partner with him. our values were different. our approach to ministry was different. our personalities were different. our theology was different. our vision for what this church could be stood as polar opposites. i knew i was going to have to leave. i knew i was going to lose what i loved.
the combination of those things (along with a handful of other, lesser issues) made for a perfect storm. somehow, during that first year after the new guy arrived, i began to have internal emotional reactions to things. some of them i recognized…most of them i didn’t. i was living some of my life in ignorance and some of my life in denial. either way, i was living it alone. i couldn’t…or simply didn’t talk about it.
but i finally did. i began to assume responsibility. i got in the battle. i worked. i read. i talked. i changed routines. i prayed. i learned.
i’ve never been the same.