An untimely death always has the power to grip & paralyze people but eventually turn us all to conversation. It goes without saying that Robin Williams’ death was untimely. He was an American cinematic icon. I could go on, but if I need to list his accolades then you’ve been living under a rock.
Now that the conversation has gone to depression, it makes me ponder where we’ve been. When I say “we” I mean people like myself. Christians. The church. The hands & feet of Jesus.
Why has there been such a stigma associated with depression or anything remotely related to the brain or emotions? If a soul shows up in a wheelchair, we have no problem praying for our brother or sister in Christ. We embrace their challenges & accept them at face value…. but if they share that they’ve been battling a darker outlook on life… or worse? Well, then…. you just need to pray harder. The joy of the Lord will shine upon you IF you pray hard enough. IF you connect more. IF you read more.
That might be true. Might.
But what if we’re wrong? What if that theory doesn’t fit every single person? What if we’re losing our church body to the world because we’re afraid of what we don’t know?
I don’t think I’ve ever dealt with the magnitude of depression that Mr Williams did. I pray that I never do, but you know what else I do to combat this? I see a psychologist. It’s true. There. I said it.
THANK GOD for the “other Drs.”
I was diagnosed with depression & PTSD a couple of months ago. If you’re shocked, you cannot imagine how stunned I was. The Dr was not joking either. I only say that because I actually thought he was. I mean, PTSD is a term I’m vaguely familiar with. I live next to the largest air force base… in the center of air force, army, & navy bases…. military are all around, so sadly, the term was not new to me.
But…. I’ve never been to war. I’ve never even been to basic training. I’ve never even worn anything camouflaged. Ok, maybe a hat, but I’m super Southern. Oh, but apparently I have been traumatized. Certain events…certain traumatic events qualify you to be a part of this not-so-desirous group. And honestly…. it’s not nearly as noble & honorable as when one receives this diagnosis for a job still well-done out serving our country faithfully. You feel shamed, actually. Like, you don’t even deserve this title.
When I (very) briefly shared with our pastor a few of the things going on in my life, he was quick to send me directly to a psychologist whom they have on staff 2x/ month in our church. Ummm… embarrassing, you say? Yes. Exactly. When you realize your case is too big for your pastor….yes, definitely. Our pastor didn’t tell me what I had or had not done wrong, he didn’t suggest me to pray harder or more effectively, or to even just leave our church building… he knew he wasn’t equipped to handle this. He looked & me mercifully, humbly, prayed with me… but passed me on.
But what about the Holy Spirit, you say? Couldn’t He advise him in how to deal with me? Sure. In a third world country, or a small church without the resources, etc…. It can happen that way. But… we’ve been gifted with this amazingly talented man & he just so happens to have a few more letters after his name. And guess what?? He still totally relies on the Holy Spirit & His Word.
I’m a work in progress. I have great faith in THIS. So, this really isn’t about me or where I am, but I’m wondering if we’ve been looking at it all wrong. Maybe not all of us. Some of us get it. But woe to the finger-pointers that don’t. It’s a dark day for the person rejected & kicked when they’re already down….way down.
So, we all know not to judge right? I mean, there’s a verse completely over-quoted… but really… maybe we should judge just a bit?? Not out of fear, but in love. Let’s judge our own limitations. Let’s take a hard look at what we do & do not know. Let’s NOT give advice when the Holy Spirit has not prompted us to. Let’s call in the elders, the educated, the wisdom-filled, truth sayers…. and let’s intervene in a non-conventional, life-changing way. Let’s meet them where they are. Accept them for who they are & where they are at this moment in their life. Let’s NOT set out a path for them. Let’s allow Christ & His lamp shine the path for them.
Let’s not be afraid of what we don’t know. Let’s turn to others, Jesus loving others… who can fill in those gaps.