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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Have You Been There?

This past winter, I struggled, once again, with depression. It is something that had been chasing me for some time, and finally got the better of me. In some ways, it was a relief to admit defeat, and let go of every responsibility and activity save those that I could manage with the least amount of stress and effort.

At the same time, I had started to read “Heaven,” by Randy Alcorn. In it he comments on how little we know of, or look forward to Heaven. We Christians seem to have little understanding of Heaven, and aren’t able to fully grasp the reality that it is our ultimate destiny and will fulfill every desire for happiness and contentment. It struck me, while reading, that if as earth bound creatures we cannot envision, or live in the light of, our eternal destination, living with depression puts one into another realm altogether. For in depression, even the things of this life seem somehow out of reach, and impossible to experience, let alone drawing comfort from what is yet to be realized.

To believe in Heaven requires faith, for it is a world that we have not yet seen. Living with depression is being in this world, seeing and hearing and touching the things in it, yet feeling not of it. It is a strange existence, almost like being an alien from another planet. You try to blend in by going through the motions of living, when inside you feel cut off, desensitized to what everyone around you is experiencing. It is a separate existence, and a lonely one. Just when you need most to grasp the reality of God’s promises, including Heaven, they seem that much farther away.

I am blessed with good friends. One of these, a co-worker, knowing what I was going through, generously offered me the use of one of her guest rooms. She owns a Bed and Breakfast, and gave me my choice of two rooms: the red or the blue. I chose the blue one. She has been constantly counseling me to do what is best for me, insisting that “it’s all about you now.” This surely contradicts the Christian mindset, yet it did give me something to think about during the two days that I spent in the peaceful setting of her home. While I was there, I wrote two poems that describe somewhat my experience and my state of mind and heart at the time.

Looking back on that time, I realize that it marked the beginning of my journey toward letting go of religion and resting in God's love for me. Maybe you can relate to some of these thoughts.


There Is No Me

“Take time for you, and do what’s right,
You’re all that matters now.
Relax, regroup, rekindle life,
Those things you’ve lost somehow.”

It all makes sense, I know it’s true;
These steps I need to take.
Forget the past, those things before,
Old ways I should forsake.

But who am I? How will I know
When all is figured out?
Who is this “me”, important now,
This “one” it’s all about?

I’m here somewhere, though buried deep
Beneath so many layers,
Of should’s and shouldn’ts, ought to be’s,
Apologetic prayers.

If I could only see myself
For who I really am,
And not for who I’d like to be,
Or should be, maybe then,

I’d start to find my place in life,
My way in all its tangles.
I’d see my path – The Narrow Way,
And not so many angles.

Just one perspective, point of view;
God’s purpose, plan and reason.
As I see who I am in Him,
He’ll bring me through each season.



Blue Room

The Room was blue.
Dark.
Wedgewood next to white,
Pure and even.

Cocoon.
Wrapped around,
Soft grey light,
No demands.

Pillowed.
Round about,
Safe and sound,
Silent.

Rest.
Slowed thoughts,
Closed eyes,
Time suspended.

Prayer.
Not with words,
Reaching out,
Held.

6 comments:

Bino M. said...

Melanie,

I came to your blog through Aida. First of all, I am sorry that you have problems. Who doesn't have!
I liked the way you expressed your heart in the post as well as in the poems. It's wonderful!

From your first poem, one line, particularly, stuck out to me:

But who am I? How will I know
When all is figured out?


There was a time in my life when I thought I could figure things out. I spent considerable amount of time in 'Apologetics' to figure out God, man, creation, origin etc, but I felt overwhelmed. The truth is I can't even figure out me! I am very inconsistent in everything I do. Sometimes I am the most loving person in the whole world, but other times my thoughts are ugly, unloving, lustful, envious and prideful. That is just the way we are! It is not a surprise to God.
He knows we can't pull ourselves up to His standards and that is the reason He gave holiness, forgiveness and righteousness as a GIFT.

Bless your heart!

BTW, I liked the name of your blog 'One day at a time'. A big Amen to that! :)

In love,
Learning to live one day at a time,
Bino.

Melanie said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Bino. Nice to meet you!

I guess we can all relate to inconsistency in our walk. I am amazed that I can come away from the most precious time with the Lord, and 2 minutes later be judging, criticizing, and complaining. Thank God for His marvelous grace! First He gives us a new heart with holy desires, and His own righteousness, then He convicts us of sin, and stoops down to sweep us up in forgiveness when we confess it to Him! And what part of all that do we deserve? None! Such a merciful Father we have.

God bless you.

Aida said...

Melanie, I love your poems and I love how Father uses your times of darkness to express so beautifully his love.

What a special gift your friend and co-worker is and how wonderful to be given that place where you could just hide away in his love.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

William said...

Melanie,

Two authors I know of have done great work in helping people realize their worth in Christ. One is Neil T. Anderson, author of "Victory Over the Darkness", and several other titles, and then Robert S. McGee, author of "The Search for Significance - we can build our self-worth on our ability to please others, or on the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ".

A fruit of my reading of these two men was a blog post I made titled: "Understand your identity in Christ first!", written May 1, 2007. You might like to have a look at it as a possible source of encouragement.

Anonymous said...

My wife of almost 39 years has struggled with depression and various things that go along with this illness. I remember in the early years how many well meaning christians would tell her to read the Psalms. That would be like telling someone who is having a heart attack to read the book of John? Others told her it was satan bothering her? That really cheered her up?

It's been a long journey and through newer medications and therapy she has stabalized. She now has cancer and has had more organs removed than I have fingers on both hands. She is scarred emotionally and physically yet by God's grace He saved "us"! "We" were the lowest of the low and yet He saved us! Even if the cancer takes her life....."we" both agree that the Lord is precious! He is merciful! He is good! Our flesh and hearts may fail but the Lord is the strength of our hearts and our portion forever!

I have been browsing through your blog and leaving comments here and there. It has been a blessing!

Maureen said...

Hi Anonymous. I am sorry to hear of your wife's troubles. But I rejoice with you in the faithfulness of our Lord. I am picking up that you subscribe to the "doctrines of grace". Praise the Lord. These truths are a blessing in the midst of any trial.

Grace to you and your dear wife.