I've had a hard time with depression lately. There's nothing serious going on, and honestly, that's made it worse. I get more depressed thinking about how I shouldn't be depressed. I have a husband I love, kids I didn't think I'd be able to have, meaningful work,... And then I think about how I'm sure I'll look back on this time someday and wish I hadn't been so melodramatic and weepy. And that only makes me more depressed. So there have been mornings lately when Chris leaves for work with me in tears. A few weeks ago Bryan spilled our dinner, Mexican corn chowder, EVERYWHERE. It was in the fridge, under the fridge, all over the floor. As I was crying and cleaning it up, I thought, among other things, "This cannot actually be my life. I'm 35 years old, and I'm crying over spilled soup. Ridiculous."
Last week was hard. For no reason. The boys were at their Friday morning classes, and I was at Starbucks reading. An older man sat down beside me and started talking. He said, "You know, sometimes it's the smallest things in life that get us down. Sometimes those small things are the hardest and that's okay. We serve a good God. He's good. He cares about the smallest things. And his goodness doesn't depend on our performance."
I felt like God had reached down and given me the kind of hug I've finally learned to give my kids when they're really not that hurt, but they're terribly upset. At some point I realized that they cried twice as long when I tried to talk them out of it and that a hug and some sympathy released them in some way.
I thanked the man for his word and he said, "I made a commitment to the Lord last night that if he had a word for me to speak, I would speak it. At my time of life I think this is what he has for me. I'm supposed to go out and speak a word when he gives it to me."
I'm sure this sounds a little kooky, but I really do think this was a word from God to me. I love that this man made a commitment to the Lord that, I'm sure, felt like it was about him and his faithfulness. But it turns out that it was for the good of someone else, too. I really needed to hear what he had to say. I love that this word did not have anything to do with my flaws (abundant though they may be) or performance. It was about God and his gentle goodness. If I were to make up my own message from God it would have been something more along the lines of, "Don't you realize that there are starving and suffering people in the world? Pull yourself together. Be grateful. Wake up earlier. Read your Bible more. Pray more." There is truth in all those things, but they're just not helpful right now. Like telling a suffering person that God works everything to good. True, but not helpful in the middle of it.
So I don't think this thing is completely solved for me, but I feel lighter, freer and loved.