Friday, December 29, 2006

On depression

We had dinner with some new friends tonight and I shared some thoughts I have about depression... I think that part of the reason so many people are depressed is because they are sad and have no one to talk to. Grief can't be carried alone. We must have someone we can talk to who cares. Someone who will just listen, with a caring heart. Yeah, Jesus is there, but it's nice to have a flesh and blood person too, sometimes. If we are married, our spouse should be there... Though he or she may not be perfect, we must feel safe and like they care, that is the essence of real intimacy, I believe. This kind of intimacy can be had in friendships too, though we must be honest and take some risks.
I'll share my own story here...
I was really sad for part of this Christmas (as I have been other Christmases). But I felt stuck and like I didn't know how to get unstuck. I cried out to God to help me get out of my depression; to show me what the matter was. He broke through. Late one evening, something possessed me to open a box I had... where in a secret compartment I kept some keepsakes. I saw the little program for my mother's funeral, held on a February over 15 years ago. My mom was dying of cancer during that Christmas. Grief is a funny thing. It must come out. I didn't know I missed my mom until I saw the little program, with her name on it, her birth date and death date. Gone at 42, two days after her birthday. A little over a month after Christmas. I missed her. I miss her. I hadn't been allowing myself to miss her. I haven't had a mother since, but Jesus became my mother. That may sound funny, but it's true. He took me up when I was 19. From 14 to 19 I lost myself...but he recovered me, the real me, and has been recovering me since.
When I lose myself and get numb or very angry, he hasn't given up on me, but is working on finding me again, unshackling me.
That night, shortly after I had opened the box, and was deep in thought, Mike (my husband) came home). I told him I was sad, but the tears didn't come out until he came and put his arm around me... Sometimes we need a flesh and blood Jesus, if just for a few moments to remind us we are loved. We are all flesh and blood in desperate need of love, friendship, support.
God heard my cry-- that I was willing to deal with whatever was bothering me in those deep recesses of my mind. After all, He does know me much better than I know myself.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bittersweet Christmas

Hello again. Here's the poem. I wrote it last Christmas...
Peace and Love to you.

Oh, bittersweet Christmas

Is this time special, I don’t know
So much traffic, but nothing’s slow
Are hearts yearning with delight,
or just weary from the fight?
Is there love beneath the gifts,
smiles of grace, or bitter rifts?
Is there longing for a peace,
to fill our days with real release,
Or is it just another strain,
of hiding sorrow, drowning pain
And what memories haunt your sight,
Lovely days or bitter nights?

If you sing, sing with hope for a new strain
And if you cry, let the Savior take your pain
Pray for love to come again
Let yourself be as you are
whether you know what or why
Know that He for you did come
and for the broken- every one.

And if you heart is filled with glee
share it with humanity,
with hearts weary from the storm
that tried to kill the Savior born
The storm that lives and taunts today
even on this Christmas day.
So if you sing, sing with love
with compassion from above

Knowing that for this He came
to love the broken,
take their shame
To teach the willing- heal the hurt
To love the wounded
Redeem the earth.

Dec. 2005 ©Manuela R.

To post or not to post...

Hi, welcome to my blog. Below is something I (obviously) wrote, a few days back. Please note: I was in one of my moods... All in all, I usually end up liking most of "Christmas" as we know it, I try to see the beauty... except I have some clearly dismal moments or days within the season (since it does last for a month, give or take a week or two), where I question everything. I am a questioner by nature, temperament and trade( which can be good at times, and not so good at others) Please stick around for more uplifting posts or other kinds of posts...who knows what the day will bring. I guess below you will get a glimpse into the struggles I have with myself and God...wanting to honor Him without getting caught up... 'tis hard...

God in a Christmas box

Sometimes I wonder if this whole Christmas thing isn't just one big distraction from what we really need to be doing. Don't get me wrong, I like reflecting on the birth of Christ, I love the emphasis on giving to those in need... but I can do this, and perhaps "ought to", anytime. And do those in need really NEED more random "stuff." Do we Americans really need more stuff or more excuses to buy more stuff. Do us women need more reasons to shop? Are we running around like chickens with our heads cut off, following obligations and traditions, simply because, well, everyone else is doing it, it's what's expected., and God forbid, it's what has always been done... so we try to squeeze God into this Christmas box-- this tradition-- as if it was a commandment itself , written in the bible, in red.
Every year around this time, I can get very apathetic about the whole thing. Sure the lights are pretty, the music can be nice, but, for one, it lasts too long. Maybe it's because I get caught up in it too much, the pressure to conform, and lose my voice, my convictions. It's not a cardinal sin to not regard this time as "sacred" just as it isn't a cardinal sin to do regard this time as sacred. I got that from the bible (Col. ) It all boils down to personal conviction and living unto God. Are we choosing for ourselves how we function during this time, or are we just getting caught in a massive tide of activity. Can we even hear God and what he's saying? What if he has something to say to us that falls outside of the Christmas story. How many Sundays in December do we have to keep singing Christmas carols? I know, now I'm getting really picky. But I do believe that we've created webs and webs of our own traditions and agendas, that we can't seem to get out of, and sometimes we're straining just to get some oxygen. Crowds are shuffling around to hear the same sermon they heard last year just because, well, you have to go to church on Christmas. But who really cares about what God is saying? Thank Goodness he opens ears to hear and eyes to see for those he's drawing close and he'll take them in on "Christmas" or not.
And we are to love and give, not just on Christmas but every day, as His Spirit leads.

(there you have it)
I would like to now add that Christmas can be hard and painful, for some and many ,because there is so much pressure to be "happy". It's "merry" Christmas, not other things. I have experienced this loneliness at times...We're all so extra busy, we barely have time to be a friend. This is tragic. Tragic. All in preparation to give and receive gifts on that day-- Dec 25th, or 24th, if that's your tradition. I've rationalized this at times it by saying to myself... "but I will be extra kind on Christmas, when everyone sees how much I love them through my thoughtful gifts" Gee...only a little self-righteous! (though I've been told I am "thoughtful") That's just my problem, sometimes I just think too much and miss the moment-- What is God saying NOW?
And then there's those of us who have some serious differences with our families of origin, those who have been abandoned or abused, or who have no families. I just don't want to close my heart to those in need. God help me. We're all needy and the Macy's gift card alone, isn't gonna do it.

Stick around. Tomorrow I will post a poem I wrote along these lines... It's already been pretty long.