The blackness of the sky was what shocked me the most. I stood as still as stone, braced against the cold wind of night, staring into a never ending depth of darkness. Despair began to overwhelm me; fear took its hold. Tears formed, and began to trickle gently down my cheeks, while the chill of the air made my skin tingle and sting.
The tears were the beginning.
A glimpse of starlight punctuated the somber sky with a glimmer of hope. Enhanced by the prism of my tear, the solitary speck grew beyond expectation and the darkness was broken. As I searched that bleak barrier, it was as if the dam was breaking. Shining down from a myriad of locations were stars that burned with such vivid conviction that they could pierce my darkness from light years away.
Those that were stood with me never knew. They never saw the tears. They never felt the overwhelming sensation. They never appreciated how hard it was for me to be there, under those circumstances.
Because Christians don’t get depressed.
When a famously comedic speaker took to the stage and confessed depression, silence as thick as treacle swamped the venue. When I first admitted I felt low, my peers bounced back with denial. Surely not.
Because depression isn’t something I’m supposed to feel.
You try living with the unrealised promise of hope. You try holding onto the dreams of happiness that have turned into sacrificial lifestyles. It’s impossible. And as the facade drops, the cracks are revealed.
But I will not be beaten.
I have watched friends and family fall to depression at a medical level and allow it to run their lives. I will not. I intend to fight. When my mood drops, I choose to dance. When my tears come, I choose to let them fall, because I have a God that cares so much He collects each one. He recognises my sadness and sings comfort over me, even when I don’t hear or feel it.
I believe with all of my heart and every inch of my being that there is always hope. I know I can make a difference and lift up someone else, and in doing so they lift me. When I see them falling, I take pleasure in catching them. When I tire, I have to remember to abandon my personal plans, my selfish ambitions, and fix my eyes on the task on hand. It is not easy, and I don’t always succeed. That’s where friends come in, and I am grateful to each one for the impact they have had in breaking through the darkness that has tried, and failed, to envelop me.
I do not pretend I have the answer, but I do ask one thing. Keep your eyes open. Watch the people you know. Depression is easy to hide, and easy to miss, and it doesn’t take much to restore hope and renew the flicker of happiness and joy.
They might need a pin prick of light from a distance source.