the art of depression“I don’t know why I’m crying?” she said, chuckling through the tears. I knew, “Nothin’ wrong with that – shows your heart,” I said kindly to one of the women who loves me unconditionally, “Trust me, I get it, mom.” They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I for one wouldn’t argue with that old adage, at least not anymore.

My mom has a caring heart and gets emotionally charged at the injustices of life. As fired up as she can get, her heart cracks, fills her soul, and overflows her eyes at the reality of this fallen world as it manifests itself in so many ugly ways.

I find comfort in the words of Christ from the Beatitudes, (specifically Matt. 5:3-12). And I think there are more than a few folks that fall into the category of “Poor in spirit.”

The holidays and winter months rest on the shoulders of those who are prone to be poor in spirit, or depressed and draped in the cloud like a jacket worn to fight back the cold. For those prone to melancholy, we know that any of the senses can trigger the trip down the slippery slope to poor in spirit.

The eyes can capture an old house, snow, a picture, a million different things. The touch of a hot cup of coffee in the right setting, a soft blanket, sometimes the melancholy sneaks in through our fingers. The smell of a burning fireplace in the distance, a meal from days gone by, the mental sunset can waft in through our nostrils. And one of my all time favorites; the sound of anything like a song that our spirits can hitch a ride on the musical notes to a place of desperate desolation…

Knowing the sights, sounds, touch, and scents that send us to a place of being poor in spirit to a degree that’s unhealthy, is the art of depression. Having the discernment and strength to know how much sadness to let into our soul is a practice of wisdom from God above. A little is good, compassion, sympathy, and empathy for others is what were called to.

When we begin to use those gifts on ourselves they become weapons of the enemy, in my opinion. Grieving and having compassion and sympathy for ourselves is a recipe for disaster. For me, that’s been the worst time and depths of depression in my life. No wonder scripture warns us, “Think less of yourself…”

It is a fight for balance in our souls. (I’m not referring to the ones who have chemical imbalances that medication is a gift from God) God designed us with an instinct to survive, but being created in His image gives us the strength to live above it.

For those who tend toward melancholy and depression know that we will have tough times, trips through “The valley of the shadow of death,” but we know seeking His will and face will deliver us to the other side of the valley and up high on the mountain where He’s chosen to demonstrate His sovereignty and grace.

A trip through that valley without Him will ensure being trapped there like the Israelites were trapped in the desert. If you’ve been in the valley with tears and pain from a long winter living the art of depression, come with me. Leave your broken self there, our spirits are called to rise up!

The view is beautiful up there. Remember?