There is certainly no loss for things to work up our emotions about. There is an enormous amount of pain all around us that cannot help but come into our lives in time. We can protect ourselves to some degree by isolation, walls put up- literal and figurative-, self-medication for some, bad relationships for others, narcissism for some and meditation and Bible reading for others (by far the most successful). But in time everyone is presented with a very poignant opportunity to break down and cry like a baby. And I have to admit that I have done a great deal of that lately. I am as close as I have ever come to a bout of depression. And I am mentioning it now as an apology for not understanding the crippling effect of it before in some of my dear friends. To feel so much, to feel everything around you, the weight of your own battles, the weight of your family and friends’ struggles, to feel loss, to grieve, to feel close to God but distant from Him simultaneously, to feel the weight of bad choices, past failures, broken families- my own and everyone else’s. I feel it all. I am generally strong and God graced me with an enormous capacity to hold up and help under such stresses, but even I in all my strength am not strong enough to hold up under the enormous weight of all that I am feeling. It is the ugliest thing in the world to let fly the tears to let off the pressure and steam from the valve and immediately have it built up enough pressure to do it again. It is demoralizing, the pain feels like a giant is sitting on your heart. You long for understanding, love, you get criticism instead and limitations. You do not get what you want or need and it feels farther from your grasp than you thought anything could be. It is a very lonely, very isolated feeling and I do not like it at all. Why bother? What is the point? It drains you from who you are to a pathetic someone generally tucked away deep within you that quietly hold the pain you give her. So, to my friends who suffer from this debilitating hindrance to happiness and calm, I give you my love and understanding and permission to cry and permission to call me at any hour of the night because I am usually up lately and I get you, I feel you, I know how it feels, I understand, I love you. God built each of us with these emotions, with the capacity for extreme joy and deliniating pain. When we draw close to Him, He helps. It is not taken away, but you get a calm for a little bit. What pulled me out some was in serving. That is the last thing you want to do when you are feeling forsaken by the world and all those you hold so dear. To serve when you are not served is rough, it is difficult, it takes energy you don’t always feel you have, time, resources. But it is worth it to hear a thank you. Sometimes you have to force yourself to serve to hear one positive word that will keep you going. And then I swear it gets a little easier. Not every day, but maybe one more day out of seven, then maybe two the next week and on it goes. But however long it takes, keep trying, never give up. We are God’s and He is on our side. We can call to Him for strength and it is a conversation that is never in vain. It may be the only conversation for a long time that is productive and meaningful.