Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Turn the Page. . .

Turn the Page. . .

Another day passes. . . another month begins. . . tear off the old calendar sheet. Look at the fresh picture on the new month's page. . .To most the beginning of a new month means a new cycle of bills begin. . .possibly a monthly income check arrives, but not much else. For me though, the landscape of my year is not a plain, but rather two plateaus with two valleys of varying and unpredictable depth between them.

October and March are my months of depression. I've written past entries on my seasonal battle with darkness, but each year it seems to catch me unaware of its arrival. This year it has started early. It was maybe 10 days ago (only seen looking backward) that it began this year. Jackie could probably pinpoint the day better than I. My most noticeable symptom is increased irritability. I become very critical. Lots of things bother me that normally I would give no thought to. Life becomes very much less fun. I have trouble finding anything that I really want to do. I have trouble completing tasks. I just want to go home and crawl in bed. My sleep is disrupted. I want to eat and eat (preferably anything chocolate). I have little patience.

I think I may be becoming better at recognizing its onset, but still I am taken unawares by it. It was only maybe 20 years ago that I first recognized it at all. I spent the first 30 years of my life not understanding that I was beset by depression, which was pretty foolish in of itself. My Mother's life was ruled by her mood swings and I was intimately familiar with the great tides of her moods. Where I have two plateaus and two valleys, my Mom had two Himalayan peaks and two deep sea crevasses. In her 'up' times, she would go days on days and even weeks (on occasion) without sleeping and then when she crashed do little but sleep for weeks or even months on end.

Tonight at Goodwill, I bought a copy of Eugene Peterson's, The Message (wisdom literature only: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon). As I was waiting for Jackie to get off work, I began reading Mr. Peterson's introduction to Job. He talked about how Job speaks to all of us in that Job suffered without doing anything to deserve what was happening to him. We can understand and even expect to have bad things happen when we have committed some crime or some sin, but we are also all very familiar with having done nothing wrong and yet having bad things happen. This is the story of Job.

It got me to thinking. That is what my depression is like. There is no attributable cause for my depression, at least none that I can figure out. I've had no recent death in my family, no loss of job, no marital problems, no illness, no family troubles. It just comes on with the turning of the pages of the calendar. What did I do to deserve this? Job suffered for nothing he did to bring it on, others also Joseph as an example. You can argue that maybe he contributed to his brother's jealousy, but that surely was not just cause to be sold into slavery and his troubles continued and even multiplied from there.

Now I surely am no Job. In no way am I comparable to Joseph, but I can still surely relate to their questions as to why these things were happening to them. They couldn't understand. Above all in terms of suffering is our Messiah. While He did understand what was happening, those surrounding Him did not understand why He stood silently in front of His accusers. In all these cases though there actually was a reason for the troubles brought into these men's lives. They did not understand. When in the midst of it, it seemed invisible to them. They could not see, but there were reasons that made their seemingly pointless suffering necessary and in fact a great blessing to many.

Job's suffering, is first of all today a grand lesson and instructive for we all who read his life's story. What a jewel of the Bible the book of Job is. Secondly Job grew greatly due to his testing. Job was shown many things about himself, and gained a magnificent first hand encounter with God which would not have taken place without his tormenting and testing by Satan. There was a reason. Joseph lived to see firsthand many of the fruits of his awful suffering in the salvation of his family. His memory is revered and we still study his life and learn again and again great lessons from him, thousands of years after he lived.

Job and Joseph and to say nothing of Jesus. . .did not bring on themselves what happened to them in the physical, but huge spiritual victories were accomplished through their undeserved physical suffering. I can see a lesson for me in their lives. I do know, that if nothing else, I am growing through my depression. It does make me stronger. It is a battle. . .It is not fun, but if I can learn anything from Job, Joseph, and Jesus. . . there is a reason behind it all. . .

Thank you Lord. . .


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