Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Though I may never understand

I feel like I lost a childhood friend yesterday. One who made me cry, took me on magic carpet rides, taught me about compassion, and made me laugh until my stomach hurt. Though I never met Robin Williams, I grew up watching him bring characters to life. He had a gift and he generously shared it with the world. 

In the wake of his passing, quotes and tributes abound. Robin Williams' arms were wide and far-reaching. His life's work is being celebrated and remembered every where I look. But there is more to the story of his life. His death has once again shed light on the depth of, and despair that comes from, depression. 

With the unfolding of the details of his life and death, some are bringing awareness to getting help and using suicide prevention hotlines. To which I say a resounding, "Yes!" These are important pieces in hope and healing. But in the midst of news articles and blogs, I wonder what I can do to help. And how can the Church be on the front lines of this growing war?

From my limited understanding of depression, it is a lonely and exhausting trial. It can be intensely binding and isolating. But having never had this experience myself, what can I possibly do?

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 ESV)

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV)

This. This is what I can do. This is what the Church is meant to do. Be burden-bearers and lifters-up. When isolation comes, we can link arms. When exhaustion threatens, we can carry each other. Depression is a beast. It is a beast to be battled in the spirit and to be tamed in the physical. But no one should ever fight alone. I won't always know what to say or how to help, but I want to be in the fight. The Church (me and you) can be shield for those suffering. And then we can become the hotline for those in desperate need. 

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