Not to long ago, I saw the spiritual journey as climbing a mountain. If I reached some point of elevation, if I reached some peak, some point, I would reach an intimacy with God, reach some transparency, some enlightenment, some peace. If I could sin less, if I could only think about God more, then I would become a more complete being.
For about five or six months last year I was caught in an extreme depression. I had felt like my soul had lost my body. I had felt like my spirit had left my being. For two months of those, five or six, the only prayer I could pray was “God, I’m not going to take my life, but, if I die, no big deal.”
In this experience, I lived some moments where people accompanied me, much like of those who accompanied Job. Some people would tell me how wise I was, and, how I could fall to a place like this. Some people told me I needed to go on medication and get my priorities straight with some help. Some people told me, I just need to go outside and enjoy the renewing spring season. However, depression had completely numbed every part of my life. I was dying inside to everything beautiful.
I think God wants what is best for me. So, I think the true spiritual journey will lead us to the Valley Of The Shadow Of Death. I think we as human beings are given lies from other human beings, from other influences and those contribute us to a lostness in our soul, a lostness in our identity. Depression is painful to the spirit, to the soul, its exhausting to the body. So I think by experiencing the lostness, and searching within the lostness, we allow God, who is the creator of life, to enter into the valley with us, and, in this place he can comfort us, nurture us, be present with us, listen to us and serve us. By feeling the space of death, we allow and nurture a space for life. I think the God of life, will lead us to the Valley of Death, to nurture and resurrect the life within us.
The feeling of depression can often be far too overwhelming. We feel like we are carrying an impossible burden, an impossible cross. Yet, is there self-inflicted crosses? I think there are some forms of depression that are narcissistic and self-loathing, and, there is another that we are lead there, the one that makes me lie down by green pastures, by the quiet waters, and the right path’s for his name’s sake. The one that is self-inflicted are the ones we inflict upon ourselves within our own self-hatred, within our own self-condemnation. There is one that creates space for life, there is one that is pushing us further down the rabbit hole of death. But, if we are attentive to our own death, we can, by grieving it, move towards resurrection.
The spiritual journey is filled with mountains, and valleys. Fields and plains. Forests and dry lands. The spiritual journey is filled with depression and peace. Faith and doubt. Love and apathy. Everything in life in transformative. The soul in depression can lead us to a greater sense of strength, and, love. Because, crippling bouts of depression allows to feel more comfortable with the enduring of all things, which Paul beautifully describes us with his description of love. Depression is not a sign of spiritual weakness, but, it is within depression that we can find a greater place for life. To walk with in a greater community with the God of life.