Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.
– Paul Simon
As of this writing, a dear friend of mine is struggling with a very serious case of depression. This guy has been an incredible source of love and support in my life and has been a beacon of light during my darkest hours. He’s retired now, and when he is “himself,” he spends most of his waking hours serving others in a meaningful and impactful way. He has helped more people through the troubled waters of life than he even realizes. It is my great privilege and honor to know him.
As I have grown older, my attitude and perspective toward chronic depression have changed dramatically. In the very distant past, I was dismissive of this horrible affliction. It wasn’t until I had experienced catastrophic loss in my own life (when our high-school daughter was hit, head-on, by a drunk driver), that I truly understood suffering. I have concluded that those who are clinically depressed have no choice in the matter.
Chronic depression is a complex condition. It shatters people mentally, physically, emotionally, and Spiritually. Sometimes, it is difficult to know how to reach out to my friend when he is battling depression, but he knows that I am there for him – that he is not facing this demon alone! And there are also many other people, who offer him their love and compassion, and who will not allow him to intensify his agony by isolating himself.
I have legitimate hope for my friend; this hope is grounded in both my Spiritual convictions, as well as practical ones. He is receiving the Divine medicine that he needs from the thoughts and prayers of those of us in his support system, he’s receiving outstanding medical care, and he is never alone.
For those of us who have never experienced profound depression, we should thank God! For those of us who have, we should thank God for the people who never allow us to suffer alone.
Can we claim that we will never allow a friend to suffer alone?
© John G. 2021