Sunday, November 30, 2014

Reporting from the Bottom of the Pit

So, it's true: I've been feeling the tug of depression lately, and yesterday pretty much the tug-of-war rope snapped and I fell over. It happens. It happens to some people a lot, and it happens to me often enough for me to remember very well exactly how it goes.

But here's how my life works: while I am sitting where I have fallen, I am also analyzing the experience. So I have this thing going on where I have feelings of depression just like I might have feelings of fever or sinus infection. And at the same time I have a slightly delighted appreciation for what is going on, too.

I'm not quite able to put these in any logical order. But here are some pieces of the realization.

Communion with other people and with all of creation, in Christ, is pretty much what heaven is about. Our earthly sojourn is about recognizing the difference between the goods of earth and the higher goods of eternity, and choosing. God always presents us with choice, and He's constantly upgrading. The good things of this earth are by no means contemptible, but the more we recognize the infinite goodness of heaven, the more we are drawn to choose that in everything and in every way. That's what dying to self and dying to sin are really about. I look at how beautiful something is here, and even so, by grace, I am willing to say yes to something higher, like loving Jesus in His distressing disguise.

I can't expect ultimate help from penultimate sources. My husband, my best friend, can't give me what I need because they don't have it. What I need is from God. God always provides what we need, but sometimes He doesn't give it to the people we want it from. The solution is to turn to God alone. That's not a problem; it's God's design.

God makes Scripture come alive as we live with Him and live in His Word. His Word is alive, but maybe it is like a virus: it needs a host body to live in.

The most obvious thing to do when in need is to ask for help, specifically to ask for prayer.

The devil will do everything he can to harass, submerge, irritate, discourage and lie to me. And to end my life. The devil is not a gentleman.

Purgation is the greatest gift God can give on this earth, but it sucks. But it's worth it. The sucky feelings don't last.

Depression takes all of one's power and turns it into jello. That's why in these moments it is vital to surround oneself with prayerful people. Thank you, God, for Mark Zuckerberg because I'd be in danger without Facebook.

And that's just it: the Christian call is all about being faithful with the graces God gives to each one each day. I can't stop disaster in Syria or North Korea or change the course of history by some great plan I devise, but I can be faithful to whatever grace God gives me, offering my joys, sorrows, labors and prayers for the salvation and conversion of the world. That's what God wants and needs from us so that His mission can go forward.

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