I’m drawn to stories of hope. As a society, we need to hope more, not hope less. Last week, a woman in my writing group posted about changing perspective, particularly in church settings where we seem to ask more of our leaders than we do of ourselves.
Here’s a snippet…
“How can she believe in God and be going through that?” the woman repeating those words to me didn’t seem to want an answer. She seemed happy to use the words as one more admonishment to me that I, their pastor’s wife, superintendent of the Sunday school, mother of three children was where I was and suffering from what I was suffering from. How can a person who knew God and had accepted God in their life, how could a Christian be sitting in a Psych ward suffering from depression to a point of being suicidal? One more crushing accusation to add to all the reasons I would be doing a favour to God if I died and quit ruining his name.
Yes, dear fellow Christians, when a person is in the depth of depression to a point of wanting to die, “buck up and get it right” speeches don’t help. The books on understanding depression should be read by you not given as gifts as they sometimes contain the very information that can make things even more dangerous. Handing scripture references of victorious living can be one more backlash. When I reached this point all these were the means being used to “help” me get back on track.
Except for Linda B and Merna. I had said to Linda B, “Please pray. There is a battle going on inside and I don’t know who is going to win.” She said little but with a hug and a shared cup of tea, she still welcomed me. Merna’s help had come more in bolstering me before it reached this stage. Now she, the person who had been the only real support through the months of my baby’s breathing problems was in Calgary. Leukemia.
And the darkness was so dark, I couldn’t even get there to visit her. In fact, I hadn’t been able to stop the crying when my son was in the hospital so realized I couldn’t be with him as I had been for my youngest. I was too broken to fight the battle anymore in the aloneness of being expected to be strong and plan church events when I could barely get the energy to clean my house while caring for my children. I walked from my son’s hospital room to the emergency where providentially Dr. Roetker who had believed me about my infant daughter time and again and helped me get the help I needed for her, was on call. He believed me again and after making arrangements for someone to care for my children longer term. I made the trek to the Lethbridge mental ward so I would be supported in fighting the darkness that was bidding me to end it all.
For years I had had well-meaning Christians lay their accusations on me in front of my spouse with no support. “If you want to serve the Lord, go back to the states. We don’t need people like you,” was one of many in this particular setting. It is hard to argue with a person when you have been taught the same. I was letting everyone down. Something was wrong with me.