A long time ago I truly grasped the lesson & importance of being grateful and glad in all things… Then something got lost, along my journey. I sunk deep into a terrifying depression, which I couldn’t truly understand while drowning in it, but strangely and intricately do now. Within that depression, a great many things changed. I had lost, along the way, the importance of being grateful and glad in all things. Truthfully, I felt like I was barely surviving. My perspective of all things, from my parenting to my marriage, my education to my skills and talents, was all seen through a filter so far from reality. In the end of that chapter, I partook in a very time sensitive decision, going in a direction where I believed I would actually be needed, valued and wanted. The truth, outside of that sludgy despair however is that I was far too emotionally sick to really know what any of that looked like. Depression is a beast… Sometimes it can lay at bay, on the surface, and it feels like you’re out of the sea. That’s the best I can explain it.
I wonder what would have looked different if I’d been able to hold on to my sense of being grateful and glad in all things? In all things would mean in the sea of depression or other illnesses as well. In isolation from the very people you live with and love. In abandonment from relationships which fed your life. In the joy and celebration that comes with great blessings… In all things.
I lost this sense. My sense. And over the past many days I’ve been reminded and validated upon the path of reclaiming it. I am someone who needs relationship with people. This is not a character defect. This is not a deep, emotional flaw. This is how I am designed. I am crafted to thrive on connection with others. Our society promotes surface connections, declaring that true friendship is talks of sex, meeting for drinks and Facebook collections. None of these are friendship. Sure, friends CAN talk about sex, share a drink and be connected on social media, but when one, two or all three of these things make up the bulk of your “support system”, there is no support. We have a need to be entertained in all things, and have had this need for independence shoved down our throats. There is this weird parasite in our thoughts that we mustn’t allow ourselves to be too vulnerable, too needy, too dependent upon someone else. What is wrong with us? And we can go through a season in our lives when we form a real, true and deep connection with someone but that tapeworm of ridiculous garbage will live again and try to destroy it. While I suspect we all have the same need, but different life circumstances have left us scarred and unable to heal it, I at least know for sure that I do have this need. In the core of connecting with others, conversation and interactions I thrive. Without that, in any form of isolation, I wither. I can be grateful and glad in all things… In all times. In all seasons. That is my choice, and one I must make and work to retain. Whether it is times of togetherness or isolation. But the intentional connection thing is something I am going to have to be sure to do, as well. In all things… It is the cure to my depression, the cure to that childhood lie stitched upon my soul that I am unloveable. We were created for community, and within a community I must live…
I was already thinking these things, relearning and newly realizing these things, and at this very place in my journey when my pastor, Sunday, spoke on this very idea. I can’t take credit for it at all, as I am merely recycling other people’s wisdom with my own commentary. One thing he said Sunday which hasn’t left the forefront of my brain since then was that a study conducted in 1984 polled people to see how many close friends they had. The average number among the majority was 3. The same poll was taken within the last year or two and the majority answered 0. ZERO. NONE. The majority of people have no one whom they can trust, confide in, rely on… And the very best part of friendship is also being trusted by someone, listening to someone and knowing you are reliable. What has changed in those 22 years? The internet, the mass web of social media, the rise and growth of video games and our 700 television channels waiting for us. Beyond technology, not much has changed. This is sad to me. There was a time when lunch with friends, long distance phone calls and actually, truly knowing someone, were normal. Now, they are occasional treats. We say we are busy, but we aren’t. We are programmed to be “busy” with tv shows, video games and our cell phone obsessions. I remember paying steep long distance bills and buying phone cards to talk to friends for hours. Now? Now I could go a week without a single conversation and NO ONE PAYS LONG DISTANCE anymore!
This totally turned into a rant, which wasn’t my intention… Be grateful and glad in all things… I am grateful to realize this, and glad to know that this epidemic is easily solvable. It just takes altering our priorities and intentionally connecting with someone. Engage in a conversation, get together over a cup of coffee or dinner and talk. Listen. Love. It’s easier than we think. Maybe not as easy as turning on the tv or gazing at our iPhones, but it is so much more rewarding… We idolize our electronics, but the truth is that they don’t give a damn about is.