Thursday, June 12, 2014

“Faith: It does not make things easy; it makes them possible.”*

Depression has a way of sapping all the good things out of life. And it doesn’t have to be depression that comes about because of anything. No event, no maltreatment, no change has to occur for those of us prone to depression to fall into pits of despair and think we will never find our way out.

Tempting thoughts, those.

“I will never find my out.”

“It will always be this way.”

“Nothing will ever change.”

For a while, it was only because I didn’t want to have anyone think less of me that I clung to life with a hardly tenacious hold. I didn’t want to let anyone down, sadden anyone; make anyone ever wonder what they could have done to have convinced me to keep on living. A sense of guilt or obligation can be a powerful thing, evidently.

After a while, stubbornness wasn’t enough and I turned for help to the medical professionals. I took medication. I received counseling. I joined support groups. I was a “getter” – someone that “got help” from others. I looked to those with more knowledge and expertise to guide me through a maze of depressive episodes.

I’d like to say that I bounced back. But when one is depressed, one is deflated. There is no bouncing.

There can, however, be a slow re-inflation.

The meds? The professional care? The support from family and friends?

It all has a place in recovery.

There have been times in my life when my faith has been small…weak…almost (but not quite) non-existent. My spiritual faith has faltered. My faith in others has been shattered. My faith in myself has dwindled down to almost nothing.

But it never died.

Always, there was a spark of faith…a glimmer of hope…that there would one day be more than the obstacles I could see, the darkness in which I was engulfed, and the mind-numbing dreariness I felt.

Today, about seven years out from my last deep depression, I find myself not only in a stable place…but standing firmly on a foundation of faith.

Faith not just in meds or doctors or others who have believed for me all these years, but faith, too, in myself.

I set some goals and achieved them. I stepped out into the unknown and landed on my feet. I stretched out my hand from the merry-go-round and grasped the brass ring.

Good things are happening.

With my job. With my friends. With my family. In my heart.

Some things are happening that I could never have expected.

I had faith that things could get better…but even I couldn’t have dreamed what things might come when I was willing to step out in faith.

Indeed the verse is true for me. Faith has been there…however much in small measure…and it has not magically made things easy.

But it has made a rich, full life possible.

My friends, if you are in darkness, know that someone else has been there, too. We…I…hold out a candle…a flame of faith…in the night for you until you can walk again in the light of day.

It will come.

Have faith.

*Luke 1:37

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