Lent can be depressing. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Depressing means being quite sad, or sorrowful, or feeling blue or down or brokenhearted. Like it or not, these are also staples of being a human being.
Depression is not a bad thing. It is not evil. It is not worthy of shame or embarrassment. Depression is often what forces us to go deeper and become fuller, or at least more empathetic.
Only when depression turns to despair, and threatens to suffocate our very soul, should we fear depression. Depression can BECOME an illness, or be spawned by one, but left to its own devises, as a mainstay of being alive, it often has much wisdom to teach.
I have been prone to depression my entire adult life, and was exhausted by it during much of my adolescence. I have a healthy respect for depression. It is like swimming in the ocean, we must be vigilant to the presence of a rip current, the incredible power of a rogue wave, and yes, even a shark. These deep waters are worthy of a healthy respect.
During Lent we may count our curses and our blessings, and recognize how a single cloud can block the whole sun from shining. We may become vividly aware that our pulse is never meant to be flat – this is called DEAD. The pulse must go up and down. It is only dangerous when the ups or downs become wildly extreme or erratic.
To be stuck in the mud of depression, however, can at times also be a choice. We have become too negative, or too cynical, or our spirit is burned out or up to a crisp. We don’t enjoy much, and we look forward to nothing. This is when we must beware, and pay close attention to the dark billowing clouds which threaten to snuff out the light.
Still, taking time to be sad or mourn or have a good cry can be smart. There are days we simply must feel the pain or the loss or the loneliness. It is called maturing – growing pains, or the labor of giving birth to our own courage and creativity. There will always be those times when we will furiously spin our wheels and go nowhere.
May we be smart enough to ask You for a push, or if the circumstances warrant it, wise enough to know when we require being towed.
O, Lord of Lent, free us to pray for the Spirit to give us a real good shove when we need to get unstuck. Help us get back on track, moving forward, and walking the walk. Amen.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.