I had never experienced anything like this before.
For about two weeks (after a case of Covid) in July, I was quite depressed. This was so unusual for me! Oh, I have felt discouraged and melancholy at different times in my life, but I have always held to the hope of a brighter future. I am generally an optimistic person; my faith, my writing, my contemplation, my walks in nature – and probably a healthy body chemistry – help to keep me uplifted and hopeful. I usually consider my trials to be teachable moments, my uncertainties as potential adventures, my sorrows as conduits for increased compassion.
This time was different because I felt such a sense of futility and despair. I found myself asking, “What’s the point?” far too often. The feeling was quite unsettling and at times, frightening. Jim even admitted that he was becoming concerned for me.
Perhaps my struggle was largely from the malaise that lingered from my illness, but there were other events that had also impacted my spirit. I had recently decided to leave my part-time office position, consider myself retired, and focus on my writing. The slower pace and the lack of writing progress brought me down. I began to feel a lack of purpose that results from too much self-reflection and doubt.
Through these difficult days when I could not feel hopeful, I am grateful that I never felt alone. Even in my sadness, I truly felt the love of God and of those who love me, along with the love I feel for all of them.
Fortunately, this depression eventually waned. In these weeks since then, I have been wondering about those who feel the futility that I had but may not sense the love that is surrounding them. I have been concerned for those who may not be aware that they are beloved children of God and are never alone. I have been thinking about those who question their purpose without realizing that God’s purpose is to love them completely.
Depression can hit any of us, even people of deep and abiding faith. I am sharing my experience today because I hope it will help anyone who is feeling as I did. Through my unexpected time of despair, I humbly learned how essential love is. When faith and hope have fallen away, love still and always remains.
Today, may you know how much you are loved by God. You are important, worthy, valued, cherished, and significant – not for what you have done, nor for anything you need to do, but simply because you are God’s precious child.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
(Matthew 28:20b, NRSVUE)
(NOTE: My reflections are NOT intended to replace the need for professional help in times of depression, but solely to share my experience of God’s love. If you are feeling depressed, please find the help you need. My prayers are for you.)
Photo by Karen, City Park, Hurricane, WV
Bible verse found at https://www.biblegateway.com/