Clouded: The Depression Series IV

Our friend Patty cared
for her husband Walt
until he died of cancer.
I can still remember
how Patty looked
during those long months.
Sadness clouded her eyes,
replacing what had been a twinkle.
Her voice lost its inflection and energy.
“This is so depressing,” she said.
“I know,” I said, nodding,
not knowing what else to say.

Patty was depressed
as she cared for Walt so valiantly,
yet also so helplessly.
Their retirement plans were dashed.
Their long marriage was ending.
Walt was suffering on some days.
Who wouldn’t be depressed?
That’s what I told her:
“Your depression makes sense.”
Another time I said,
“Hang in and ride it out.
Things will eventually look different.”

We’re inclined to push away dark times.
We don’t see value in them.
We think there is something wrong
about being depressed.
But I wonder.
Is it wrong?
To be clear: I would never advocate
that anyone seek depression.
Yet it seems to me
that when depression accompanies a time
of suffering or loss or helplessness,
it comes with some reason behind it,
some meaning attached.
It comes with a message:
“This is sad and unfortunate;
this does hurt.”
There are times when that message
is the unavoidable truth.
When that is the case,
then avoiding truth means avoiding life.
So if we move toward the depression,
if only a little,
rather than running from it,
what might happen?
Might we come in time
to an honest and compassionate acceptance
of our natural human limits?
Might we come eventually
to a more serene understanding
of life’s inevitable realities?
Might we someday arrive at
a surer awareness that we are held in love,
even when we wonder?
Might we come to realize
that depression need not hold
the final word—
that joy may hold it,
or perhaps peacefulness,
or deep, deep gratitude?

By the way,
the twinkle has returned to Patty’s eyes,
though it’s a little more radiant.

Click on this image to enlarge it. Then right click to print it, send it to another, or use as your desktop wallpaper.

Please select this LINK for a printable version of this image.

One Response to “Clouded: The Depression Series IV”

  1. Seeker Says:

    Beautiful post. You are absolutely right about depression – it is a signal to which we need to pay heed.

    Keep up the great job of providing encouragement on this blog!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: