if you’ve followed my writing much over the past seven years, you know there is seldom much of a flow to what i write. it’s almost always what i’m thinking (or feeling) at the moment. kind of a what-you-read-is-what-you-get deal.
more often than not, writing is therapy for me…especially when i find myself in a dark place. writing becomes prayer for me. writing (and the inner dialogue that comes with it) becomes the light to see my way out. most of the time, it’s where i reconnect with the leading of the good shepherd.
hey…it works for me. and i need to go there right now.
over the past decade, my struggles with melancholy and even depression seem to surface more during december than they do during the rest of the year. some of this makes sense to me…
preaching every sunday, every year during the christmas season has made me super aware of the extreme sadness that many people feel at this time of year. frankly, the christmas season is an emotional killer for many, many folks. the loss of loved ones…painful memories of broken family units at their worst…the crushing disappointment of not having enough money to make christmas merry for little ones… and so much more.
i preach about the savior of the world born to bring peace on earth and goodness to all. we sing of wonderful promises and wholesome traditions. christmas television shows and movies conjure up “joy to the world” and festive cheer. and all the while, i live with the deep awareness that all is not well for so many.
the dichotomy wrecks me inside.
the sadness i feel for those who live in fear and hopelessness and grief is something that i have just had to learn to deal with during the holidays. it wasn’t that way when i was young. it wasn’t that way when our kids were growing up. but it surely is now.
i think i’ve changed some over the years. i’m more aware of the needs of people around me. i feel deeper. i act more, but it is never enough. i try my best to balance the guilt i often feel for having so so much, while so many people i rub elbows with every day have but a fraction of my bounty…or for having such an amazing life, while others seem to live under layers of problems that beat against their foundations relentlessly.
depression is such an enemy. it’s confusing. it’s deceptive. i feel like most everyday is a full-on collision of joy and sadness…hope and despair… fear and optimism…faith and doubt. these december days i am always duking it out…my emotions sparring with my intellect or my fears clashing with revealed truth.
it leaves me weary.
but it will not beat me. faith, hope and love will win out. seasons of depression are just that…moments that pass. i am grateful for the awareness that there are real problems in the world…in my community…in the lives of my friends and acquaintances. it keeps me from ever blowing the pettiness of my self-imposed crises out of proportion.
the pain of the temporary world around me cannot rob me of those things that are eternal. it can mess with my emotions, for sure. but it cannot steal what i love.
or hinder the One who was born to die for me.