The fourth and final video I shot for LifeChurch.tv on depression aired today and is titled Finding Hope. Monday’s video was An Anchor in the Journey-Exodus 17:1. Tuesday’s video was Depression-At the Movies continued. Wednesday’s video was Walking Through Depression.
As we end this week looking at depression I wanted to focus on the idea of hope, because without hope in our lives, it is very difficult to move forward, especially out of things like depression and anxiety. The theologian Jurgen Moltmann says:
Hope is a power in this life to begin life again, to be reborn in an affirmation of life from deep depression. At the same time, hope is a comfort in the world to come beyond death. These are not contradictions. The more hope gives strength in this life, the more comfort it gives in the life to come.
The great writer Parker Palmer (who I referenced in a couple of videos) says this about his own depression. In fact, I recommend his book Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation where he talks at length about the role of depression in his life.
I got tremendous help from a therapist at one point — in one of my depressions — who said to me, “Parker, you seem to keep treating this experience as if depression were the hand of an enemy trying to crush you. Would it be possible to re-image depression as the hand of a friend trying to press you down to ground on which it’s safe to stand?” Well, those words didn’t mean much to me immediately because when you’re there, you can’t hear that kind of counsel. But they grew on me, those words did.
So as we go out into the world, let me encourage you in how you might play a vital role in helping others through depression…through the dark times in their lives. There are many ways to do this, but let me leave you with one idea: HOSPITALITY.
“One way to build upon people’s strengths is to show them hospitality. The counseling session needs to be a place where counselees are welcomed, encouraged, and complimented for what they are doing well, not where their past wrongs or present pathology is dredged up….Showing hospitality has for centuries been one of the vital tasks of pastoral care (Depression and Hope: New Insights for Pastoral Counseling, 61).
Just as a therapist welcomes, as well as provides an encouraging environment where one’s strengths and possibilities for the future are opened up, those in the Church need to do the same.
My hope is that one day those suffering from depression will not just seek the safety within the therapist’s walls, but will find a safety within the walls of the Church.
- Do you know anyone right now who is suffering from depression?
- What can you do to come alongside of them and show hospitality?
- What might hospitality look like for someone in the context of depression?
Disclaimer: This blog post is not to be a substitute for professional help or advice. Please consider seeking out professional help if you consider yourself to be at risk for depression.