Rainy Days & Mondays

We have had our share of rainy days in central Florida lately. Even as I write this, it is cold (in the 50’s), windy and raining outside. My little dog, Buddy, is curled up like a ball in his blanket, and I admit to turning the heat on in my office to knock out the chill. As I look out the window the song “Rainy Days and Mondays” by The Carpenters comes to mind. I can hear the melodious voice of Karen Carpenter in my mind as the rain splashes against the windowsill. “Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old, Sometimes I’d like to quit, Nothin’ ever seems to fit, Hangin’ around, Nothin’ to do but frown, Rainy days and Mondays always get me down”. How sad but true are the words to this song. I didn’t realize the song was talking about depression when I first heard it. I was all of seven years old. What would I have known about depression? But of course, as I grew older and more knowledgeable of the lyrics, what was once a peaceful, beautiful song brought on a more somber tone. Now fifty years later, and as one who deals with depression myself, it is hard for me to listen to that song without crying.

It is estimated that 21 million American adults, 18 and older, dealt with a major bout of depression in 2020. For adolescence, 12 to 17, that number was 4.1 million. Globally, about 300 million adults deal with some form of depression every year. Our society at large has seen a rise in stress related illnesses and depression due to just the everyday pace of life, add to that the pandemic, the amount of time spent in quarantine, adjustments to work and school, loss of loved ones, jobs and businesses, no wonder depression is becoming so rampant. However, depression has been around since the beginning of time, and can affect anyone no matter what circumstances one may be in. Even in the Bible we have examples of strong men that God used in great ways that dealt with depression. Even though the word itself is not used in the Bible, the symptoms and actions of depression are there. Moses, David, Elijah, Jonah and most certainly Job have all been described at some time with being faint of heart, sleeplessness, crying, shouting out to God in hopelessness and despair, wanting to give up life, feeling the pain of loss and suffering both physical and spiritual. So as Christians, how can we help those with depression? What can we do if we suffer from depression?

First, realize that a person dealing with depression is not lazy, broken or weak. It takes a lot of energy to deal with the negative thoughts and feelings that depression causes one to experience. It affects every part of them: mind, body, soul, emotions, relationships. Be gentle with yourself and others who are dealing with this disease. A person may experience a brief time of depression (a week or several months) and others may fight it for years or even battle it their whole lives. As a Christian, and a friend, be there for them. Listen when they need to talk. Give them a hug and let them know you love and care about them. Be supportive, encouraging, and always accept them as they are, unconditionally. That is showing and being the love of God to them.

Next, let them know that God isn’t punishing them for something they’ve done, or for who they are. We are all God’s children and God loves us ALL! The Bible tells us that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. If you are one of those fortunate not to be living with depression, then reach out to someone who does deal with it, take them out for coffee or to lunch, take them to the park for a walk, go see them and pull them away from their isolation and do something fun, recreational, or entertaining with them like a movie or free concert. Let them know they are not alone. Be God’s hands and feet to them. Help them with everyday task around the house that will make them feel good about their surroundings.

Most of all, don’t shy away from them because you may not know what to say or do. Everyone has the ability to say a kind word, send a card, share something special with someone who is wandering in the darkness of depression. Be the light of God to them in their darkness. Show them the love of God. Be that person that will encourage and support them. They need to know that they can trust you, and that they can trust God to be with them during the difficult days ahead.

Peace Be with You!

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