broken-pot

Sometimes, after I write a blog post I find people who get the wrong idea. Ever so, often I have to bring my staff at the Credo House together to explain something to them about myself. Then, they get worried. Many of the constituents of Credo House also get worried. My doctor even called me in to his office after reading a post last year. It is all very understandable to me. It is difficult for me to see the looks on people’s face . . . those looks of concern coupled with their inability to do anything about the situation is often followed by a distancing of themselves from me, or the ministry. Others come in with all the answers. They know exactly what is wrong with me; and, it is normally some sin which, somehow, they are able to discern.

I get it. I get why people sometimes think I am about to lose it.

“Staff,” I begin the meeting ever so often (especially when there are new people), “I want you to understand something about me and this ministry. I reserve the right to write on the blog some things that are very atypical and unconventional for someone like me who is the leader of a ministry such as this. You will often see things on the blog that I write about myself which make it look as if I am completely falling apart. . . .” I go on to explain what I am going to explain now.

I just got a message from someone who does not like the way I use this blog sometimes. Here is what he/she said:

Okay Michael you’re entitled to be, “messed up”, as you say. Now what? What are you going to do? Your problem is highly psychological in nature. Are you willing to see a competent therapist? Are you willing to face that the issue may lie within? Or will you only lament? I want you well for the record, but using your ministry and blog for long laments and people patting you on the back telling you how brave you are for revealing your inner anguish isn’t going to resolve your ongoing sadness, depression or melancholy.

My response, whether you agree or not, is important for people to hear:

[Unnamed Person], you may not believe this, but these laments are truly helpful to a great number of people, and have been for quite some time.

I think you probably ought to try to understand this in a way not dissimilar from the approach David or Jeremiah [most of what they wrote were laments about their pain made public] wrote. By the way, you sound (and believe me, I do understand) as if you would likely chastise them for what they wrote. If not, why [chastise me]?

So, too often we feel as if we have to protect our image my keeping things held down and secret from the public. I don’t think this is necessarily healthy.

I know dozens of church leaders and theologians who feel this exact same way. They contact me very often about their sadness. I encourage them to learn to expose their weaknesses as I am learning to do.

As hard as it may be for you to believe, there is no sense in which my laments are cries for sympathy. They are cries similar to so many who feel so alone in their pain and sadness, letting them know that “You are not alone.”

To assume that for some reason that I am not getting help is pretty surprising.

Perhaps, I am not the one who needs to keep my eyes off myself as much as another person might be?

However, I am convinced that it is important for me to communicate this very thing to my audience. That said, I don’t imagine that you are the only one who gets this impression.”

It is true that I write about my pain from the deepest part of who I am. The concern is intensified due to the fact that most people only express these things when all hope is gone and they are considering how they might leave this world. On the other hand, I am one who feels the need to write, particularly when I am down. This may give the impression that I may be much worse off than I actually am. I do this with the understanding that I may lose some readers. I understand that my ministry may materially suffer, when people are not comfortable supporting what they see to be as a “basket case”. However, I believe it is all worth the risk. Why? Because I know that most of the world, like me, wrestles with similar issues.

St. Francis of Assisi is such a hero of mine. He was known for his crass honesty about himself. He was continually concerned that he did not make up a false image of himself, due to the pressures of the world. Therefore, he was intentional about always being genuine. The story is told of when he had an open wound on his leg. It hurt him continually, especially as he walked for miles and his rough robe rubbed against it. His disciples kept telling him to put a bandage over it, but he refused. He thought that doing so would make him a fake. He did not want pain under his robe that was hidden from others. He finally conceded to put a bandage on his wound only on the condition that he could also have a bandage like it on the outside of his robe, as well. He was that concerned that his image be about the real him.

My ministry cannot be about keeping an image. My ministry cannot be about me looking strong. My ministry cannot be about trying to make an impression so that the mass majority of people will always feel comfortable. I want to help the broken-hearted and come to the aid of the hopeless. I am not saying that I don’t make mistakes here; and, I am not saying I know this is right. But I do reserve the right to show my scars, as David so often did. Moreover, I encourage all Christians (especially those in leadership positions, since they set the example) to unashamedly demonstrate their weaknesses. Yes, you will get looks. Yes, you will get letters. Yes, you will be misunderstood. Nevertheless, to those truly in need and are able to admit it, you will do so much to help them bind their broken hearts in a world that is so difficult. You can give hope to those who did not think they could hope again.

So, I will continue to write about my doubts. I will continue to write about my sadness. I will continue to expose my ugliness for all to see. That way, if Christ is ever seen through me, He is all you will see and He will get all the glory. I am too prone to pride to not have this difficult bit in my mouth.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger.

Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminar (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I’m a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminar (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    40 replies to "Concerning My Laments (Something I Really Need to Say)"

    • DragonLady

      I appreciate your laments. I came across your blog a couple years ago or so when I was in the deepest pit of depression I’ve ever experienced. It helped then and still reminds me that I am not alone when it comes to struggling with depression as a Christian.

    • Dale Heath

      Many people do not understand about depression. I have been reading your blog since I learned of it and have been inspired and informed. My son died by suicide five years ago and it was what you shared about your sister and how all of your family was affected that helped me get through the terrible doubt that clouded my rational thinking about his salvation.

      I am so sorry that you have to battle depression but you are doing what should be done to help yourself and others. Sharing and getting it off of your chest. Thank you for all you do in the name of Christ. You don’t even know how many you are helping.

    • Rebecca

      Well, I’ve read laments in the Bible and they don’t sound like yours. To compare yourself to Biblical characters is showing more of what appears to a problem…then there is the endless petty criticism of other Christians- now that has a Biblical ring to it…a display of sanctimoniousness…I read somewhere “physician heal thyself.” Although I see testimonies from people who say your laments help them, all of them seem to still have the very same problem they say you have helped.

      • Mike O

        “Although I see testimonies from people who say your laments help them, all of them seem to still have the very same problem they say you have helped.”

        Isn’t that the point? Sometimes the problem doesn’t go away. And when the problem doesn’t go away, isn’t it better to know you there are others like you? Especially theologically strong, learned Christians! How dark would it be to think everyone else is able to “get past it,” and you’re the only one who can’t?

        Many Christians are under the mistaken impression that things will always get better, things always get fixed, things always get resolved, and better things are are just around the corner if I can just hold on because “Jesus loves me, this I know.” But that is in error. Yes, Jesus loves me. But (and this is a phrase that has strengthened my faith more than anything), “sometimes the baby still dies.” Sometimes there isn’t a happy ending; sometimes trouble wins – what do you do with that? Jesus never promised to shield us FROM life, he promised to give us NEW life … IN this life. Even the bad parts.

        “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

        Yours seems to be built on happy endings.

        • Francis

          For this reason it was written in Romans that “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. …For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” As Paul followed: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

          Indeed, “all things work together for good”, so that we may truly proclaim — “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

          Thanks for the comment.

    • Susan

      In the sea of Christian blogs, yours truly is unique for this reason. I find it refreshing that you are so open and honest. Everyone has times of inner pain, but most hide it. Especially men. I love the combination of genuineness and biblical knowledge. As Christians we are encouraged to know that someone like you is muddling through pain and disappointments common to mankind, and thinking it through biblically, as we are trying to do. Your “honest Michael” blogs are often the ones I read with the most interest.

      It is incredibly valuable for the suffering soul to alight upon your blog and feel like someone knows exactly how they feel, deep down where it’s hard to expose the truth. If Christian leaders would do this more it would encourage this sort of openness among the flock. This is the way that we are knitted together in love as the body of Christ–and also the way that we show nonbelievers how we can love our spiritual brothers and sisters uniquely.

      I like the way you think. Great wisdom here 🙂

    • Kelly

      Michael, you have helped me particularly in the area of struggling with depression as a leader in ministry.

      I’ve been helped by reading your candid thoughts, letting me know I am not the only Christian leader who struggles with not being able to practice what they preach at times. Knowing I am not alone helps me extend grace to myself, which, as I am sure you know, is so important when we are depressed.

      I’ve also been helped practically with your advice in another post of how to continue to teach the Bible to others while I am in the deepest part of depression. I can teach what I know to be true even when my feelings are chaotic.

      I firmly believe the most effective leaders and ministers are those who are willing to be transparent. I pray you will not be discouraged by the comments from people who are blessed to not understand what the disease that is depression really is like. May the Lord help us to extend grace to them and them to us.

    • David Holland

      As a collective, our society has constructed and stands upon a great tower of pride. If we are unwilling to begin even the process of dismantling it then God has no place in our lives. There is no foundation to transform and nothing to be rebuilt in his likeness. I can not call upon His name when I stand on my own two feet, under my own power. When I was younger I believed that anything could be overcome by determination and earthly means but as I grow older I understand this is a lie. There is only truth in lamenting like David and failing like David and sharing our failures. I can only pray that God will gift me the humility to respond like David with a contrite heart, humble, moldable, and teachable so that someday I might be seen to have a heart that truly reflects my God.

    • Donny Stearman

      Brother, you will never know how much your candidness and the Credo House/Reclaiming the Mind ministry has meant to me and my family. I know exactly where I would be today had I not been introduced to the Theology Program and it’s a pretty dark place. Your willingness to share the more difficult parts of your life and faith has been a blessing for me. It helps remind me that, as broken as I am, God can still use me to glorify His name and bless others.

      I know this because through all the highs and lows that you’ve seen, God has used you to bless me and my family.

      So, by all means, keep it up!

    • Carrie Hunter

      Hey Michael,

      “Now, among the Christians there are also new Stoics, who count it depraved not only to groan and weep but also to be sad and care ridden…Yet we have nothing to do with this iron philosophy which our Lord and Master has condemned not only by his word, but also by his example. For he groaned and wept both over his own and other’s misfortunes…And that no one might turn it into a vice, he openly proclaimed, “Blessed are those who mourn” [Matt. 5:4]. No wonder! For if all weeping is condemned, what shall we judge concerning the Lord himself, from whose body tears of blood trickled down [Luke 22:44]? If all fear is branded as unbelief, how shall we account for that dread with which we read, he was heavily stricken [Matt. 26:37; Mark 14:33]? If all sadness displeases us, how will it please us that he confesses his soul “sorrowful even to death” [Matt. 26:38]?”

      Wait for it ….

      John Calvin.

    • Bill Cockrell

      Excellent post thanks for sharing, I think its important to be open about it and not bottle it up as a person who suffers with depression if I bottle it up it does me and everyone around me more harm. Keep it up!

    • Mike O

      Michael, I don’t suffer from depression. But I want you to know how much reading P&P restores my faith in Christianity (and Christians). You’re real. Most Christians are pretenders – I don’t mean they “pretend” to be Christians, because they are. They mean well. But they pretend everything is fine when it isn’t.

      NEWS FLASH: Sometimes things don’t get better and they never will. But Jesus loves us, and he’s in it with us. And whether we get the happy ending we hope for or not, HE IS LORD!

      I don’t mean to sound like life is nothing but drudgery and pain. Mine’s not. Mine is full of joy and hope and confidence and peace … and drudgery and pain! Jesus didn’t come to protect me FROM my life, he came to fulfill me IN my life. Bad things still happen. Relationships still break. Babies still die. But suns still rise, marriages still happen, babies are still born, salvations still occur, Jesus still loves, blessings still abound! In all these things (the good and the bad), Jesus is Lord, God is sovereign.

      Jesus loves me.

    • Missy M

      By all means resign yourself, as it seems many of your followers wish, to the fact things won’t and can’t get better with regard to your sadness. Nothing like comiserants to insure that the painful process of surgery on the soul by the self doesn’t occur lest you leave the party and move forward without them.

      And to those who claim it must because people just don’t understand depression. Ugh. Depression elitists and claims of special knowledge only remove the person further from real help and insight others might bring!

      Finally, no one is detesting tears or sadness on the whole but self-pity is not commended in Scripture as virtuous melancholy.

      BTW to Michael. It was thoughtful to not post my name but unnecessary seeing the convo was public.

      Marcy…I mean Missy

      • Brian

        I suppose you have been diagnosed with something like depression and therefore can speak with such critical authority on the subject. Or perhaps you have done deep research into the medical and biological issues surrounding depression? You have absolutely divine knowledge of the others and their issues and are speaking on behalf of God to his people? Your contempt and judgement towards others only reveals your own short-comings, not anyone else’s. But do continue to speak like this. It clearly demonstrates to all who you are and provides them a lesson.

      • Tiago

        I really recommend you to try to read about the subject… I saw other of your comments, and really, it gets quite obvious that you dont have the minimum idea about what this disease is about. I also recommend you to read more books like Job, Psalms and Ecclesiastes.

    • Doc Pagala, Th. dg/ttp

      CMP,

      Keep on keeping it real. You have the ability to articulate many of the things that I feel, yet often I just can’t put it into words. Your gift to the rest of us who fall short of God’s glory. I appreciate your raw boldness that re-shapes the face of the post-modern Christian. Like you, I have my faults and I tend to stuff them when I want to scream at the top of my lungs to the world: “Yep folks I am a Christian, I have my sin issues going on just like you do, so DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER!” It is refreshing that you do what you do with boldness, put it out there, and let others struggle with it. Let’s embrace who we are, spots and all, who follow a Savior, given by a Creator who fashioned us Imago Dei, for His purpose. I’ve yet to fully figure that one out, so you are Blessed to have yours much more refined.
      Solei Gloria Dei!

    • Clint Roberts

      I’ll admit that when I was young & knew everything, I sometimes scoffed at all of the talk of depression that I heard, especially among Christians. Time and experience bring wisdom, however, and – I hope – more compassion. I have read enough biographies of people who lived in different times and places throughout history to see that a shocking number of them experienced bouts of deep depression. It is as much a regular part of life in the fallen city as physical illness and death itself. Those of us fortunate enough not to have plumbed the depths of it that others have should only thank God. If someone who has fought with depression wants to be transparent about it, I say have at it. It’s your life and, for that matter, your blog. Why censor yourself unless there is a legitimate argument to convince you that such things should not be disclosed openly?

    • Carrie Hunter

      Missy, how many times have you attempted to correct Michael Patton?

      If your criticisms are legitimate and he keeps “ignoring” them, what biblical virtue do you think you are exhibiting when you repeatedly come back for more?

      At what point do you cease and desist and have no further contact? That is what Scripture would indicate we are to do.

      Why do your persist?

    • Linda

      I’m thankful for your honesty, my hope is in God not man, so I appreciate when Christian leaders share their imperfections since it’s all too easy to look to them.

      Not allowing us material to build a pedestal for you is a good thing, even if some want the thrill of a show.

    • RW

      Missy

      Sweet Sister, quit swinging that plank of yours around and get Micheal an ice pack! He’s obviously getting help – and we’re getting to follow the process.

      “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matt 7:5

    • Linda

      Oh so that’s what’s been obstructing my vision! Been thinking it was due to greed.

      Just kidding.

      But I do hope you have the best Christmas yet, that you are loved and treasured just like you should be.

      Merry Christmas to you! : )

    • Missy M

      Carrie

      Pretend you’re me and I’m Micheal.

      RW

      What if I already pulled the plank in my own eye?

      As I said, I don’t say what I say for the appreciation value after all mist people cannot name the Vice President of the U.S., thus, I don’t expect them to see more.

    • Carrie Hunter

      Missy I don’t have to pretend to be anyone and I don’t think I possess the necessary disposition to pretend to be you anyway, (by God’s grace of course.)

      I will just be me and actually practice the biblical mandate of having nothing more to do with the unrepentant person. Furthermore I will engage in removing that person (that’s you) from the circle. Meaning you will have to go elsewhere to engage in your bizarre, contentious, spiteful behavior. And I’m sure there is no shortage of blogs where people are in need of correction so it won’t take you long to find another home where you can feed your desires to rebuke people in the harshest most ungodly manner possible.

      Of course I’m of the mind folks like you will wear this as a badge of honor. “Those people at Parchment & Pen couldn’t take it when I was preaching truth!”. While that is hardly the situation, if that is what it takes to ease your conscience so be it. I know what it takes to ease mine and I’ve done it.

      • Rebecca

        Missy is now an unrepentant person because she disagrees with Michael. What gall you have. I will gladly remove myself from this hypocritical self-righteousness bunch. I have seen nothing on this blog but picking at other Christian views and self-pity. Enjoy your cult.

        • Carrie Hunter

          Rebecca, it wasn’t her disagreeing that was the issue. It was the godless manner in which she went about it.

          God’s truth is offensive, our dispositions as Christians should not be.

          Let the Truth do the offending not the language or manner we use when proclaiming it.

        • Brian

          “Missy is now an unrepentant person because she disagrees with Michael. What gall you have. I will gladly remove myself from this hypocritical self-righteousness bunch. I have seen nothing on this blog but picking at other Christian views and self-pity. Enjoy your cult.”

          You do realize the self-refutation in this statement, don’t you?

    • Casey

      Personally, I appreciate and love Michael. He came to my aid in one of the most difficult seasons I’ve ever known. But, regardless of who is helped and who is put off by his openness, Christians need to be careful not to ‘bite and devour’ one another, especially in comment sections.
      Thank you Michael, keep on

    • RW

      Missy, If you’ve gotten that plan out, you are the first. Perhaps there’s one called arrogance in your other eye… The rest of us will whittle away till Jesus comes.

    • RW

      Missy, If you’ve gotten that plan out, you are the first. Perhaps there’s one called arrogance in your other eye… The rest of us will whittle away till Jesus comes.

      BTW Paul’s thorn didn’t go away either….

    • RW

      Plank…. not plan….

    • a.

      ” if Christ is ever seen through me, He is all you will see and He will get all the glory.”

      if?
      having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “ I believed, therefore I spoke’, therefore we also speak
      it is God who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness
      love the photo

      we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from
      ourselves and we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit; therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart
      we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
      Verses from 2 Cor 3 & 4

    • Marvin The Martian

      “Missy is now an unrepentant person because she disagrees with Michael. What gall you have.”

      Um, not really. Disagreement with Michael was not the sin here. There have been and will continue to be many, many posts where disagreements with Michael are voiced and it will not spiral down the ugly rabbit hole this particular episode did. It was the manner in which Missy voiced her disagreement which was the issue. Please note that it wasn’t Michael who made this public, it was Missy. Michael quoted an anonymous note and Missy jumped in with “it was me” proceeded to lambaste Michael with her snide remarks which clearly had but one purpose, to pick a fight. Everything she said smacked of arrogance and was of the harshest tone.

      “I have seen nothing on this blog but picking at other Christian views and self-pity.” Lost on you is the irony of you complaining about how the blog does nothing but pick at other Christians view by…..picking at the views of other Christians who comment here.

      “”I will gladly remove myself from this hypocritical self-righteousness bunch……Enjoy your cult.” Spoken in a true spirit of gentleness.

    • Paul

      Too many Christians are like Job’s friends. Carry on, bless the Lord in sorrow if need be, and God will tell you in which ways you were wrong in the end, and in the end you will be blessed.

    • Dave Z

      Michael, I know it’s hard to overlook the negative comments, especially if you’re already in the grip of depression or sadness, but I pray you will always be able to recognize when a “helpful” or “concerned” comment is really just a fiery dart, which can be effectively blocked by that shield of faith.

      I may not jump in on discussions as often as in the past, but this is still my favorite blog (and I remember fondly when it was more active). I have learned so much from you and your posts and materials such as TTP and TDP, and I appreciate it more than you can know.

      Part of the reason I’m so open to what you say is because I have come to trust you, primarily because of your authenticity – your honesty and transparency, and also your fairness in looking at all sides of any given issue or question.

      So don’t let the snipers bother you. Maybe they actually will leave or get blocked or whatever. Ken Silva may be gone, but sadly there are other places such attitudes can feed on each other. They’re not helpful here.

      Keep up the good work.

    • Glenn Shrom

      Michael, I support you and believe you are saying the right things. We have a culture in which “happiness” has become an idol. I agree that you are following in the spirit of the Holy Spirit, that you are writing things similar in tone to what David and Jeremiah and other prophets wrote. Sometimes a teacher uses his own words and ends up sounding like Paul; sometimes someone with the gift of mercy or encouragement uses his own words and ends up sounding like Lamentations or King David’s “My tears are my food.” I think St. Francis’ wound example is a bit extreme behavior (masochistic or stoic), but your laments are quite balanced in my humble opinion.

      Jesus and St. Paul used phrases like “He who hates his life (this life) will find it (eternal life)”, or words about us groaning for our final redemption as if being in labor pains. There are also good passages which speak of us as pilgrims and strangers, never able to be at home or at peace here, even though there is a peace which passes understanding in the midst of it. Jesus even sweat drops of blood in agony, never losing peace the whole time – strange but true. Keep up the good work, and be encouraged that your labor of love and truth is bearing fruit!

    • Glenn Shrom

      That said, Christianity Today did a piece not long ago about how many ministers experiencing depression and psychological problems, and why, and the stigma of getting help or admitting it – not to mention the lack of good help that there is available. St. Paul said he bore the burdens of the Churches he ministered to, pleading for them in prayer, using words like striving and suffering. I think we should glorify neither suffering nor happiness, but should learn to receive and live with both non-judgmentally, not thinking it strange that these things come upon us, learning how to be content with both knowing we can do all things through Him who strengthens us.

    • Jeff Ayers

      Regarding the issue of “How much do we, as leaders, let our followers know about our emotional problems, frailties, foibles, weaknesses, shortcomings, peccadillo’s and out-right sins?”

      I believe the answer is: “Tell others that you have feet of clay like they do, but don’t take off your shoes and show them your feet”

      Jeff

    • Karl M

      Enjoy your transparency. A rare quality in Pastors.

      A year ago a Christian friend approached me and suggested that I might be depressed. I had shared with him about how my company had fired me when I was one of the top sales reps in the Country. That company had stolen $ 138,000 from me. That my wife had blamed me, saying I must have secretly offended God! I felt isolated and alone. I had never felt such profound sadness and that sadness was hanging on. I also mentioned that I was starting to think that God had let me down in my ministry, career and marriage and could not be trusted.

      This went on for 6 months until my friend approached me. I went to a psychiatrist and he said there was nothing biochemically wrong with me but that lack of exercise, aging (reducing neurotransmitters), stress, and weight (I had put on 30 pounds due to living out of hotel rooms traveling 100,000 miles a year on planes for previous 5 years), were all factors that were impacting my mental health. Things are completely different now. I am back to feeling great hope in my life and trusting God. Two simple things helped:
      1- I started working out 4-5 times a week (losing 30 pounds in 3 months.
      2- I divorced my wife of 27 years (just kidding… That comment is for the Pharasees that troll this blog site from time to time) actually I just started hanging out and praying with two great Christian friends.

      I had to go back and read your When Sadness Doesn’t Leave post to get some context. Seems with the loss of your sister and the sadness that wouldn’t go away that you related exhibited by your father that it is possible you inherited depression. Should be straightforward for a psychiatrist to diagnosis if you have a biochemical imbalance. If so then treat it as you would any disease. Else some number of counseling sessions with a Christian psychologist followed by semi-weekly (not bi-weekly this part of the equation is a function of time not quality) time spent with good encouraging friends has helped me immensely.

      Finally, keep sharing your personal journal wih the outside world. First it should be cathartic. Secondly, it may encourage other pastors to do the same.

    • Brian

      2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

    • Karen

      Dear Michael:

      I am late to the party, but I would just like to thank you so much for having the courage to post your reflections, or lamentations if you will, on this blog. As a “depression elitist”, I can say that these reflections have indeed helped me. I think sometimes people are uncomfortable with the verbalization of suffering because it can elicit fear, but I believe that it can elicit empathy as well.

      I once read a biography of my favorite writer, Fyodor Dostoevsky. In it, I read of his response to a young aspiring writer’s inquiry on what it takes to be a great writer. “You must suffer!”, Dostoevsky replies, and I am inclined to agree with him. I am also inclined to agree with this quote from his novel, Crime and Punishment: “Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.” I don’t mean to imply that one should seek suffering, but to acknowledge it is to acknowledge a fundamental aspect of humanity, as the great writers do in their works.

      So, spare me the positive Pollyanna-speak if all that is about is creating a facade. I would rather read the musings of an honest soul–C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed or Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov; or David’s Psalms, for that matter–and find the authentic connection of shared human experience. It is not about wallowing in self-pity at all, but rather it is about coming through the darkness knowing that you are not alone. I wonder how a person who has not owned their own suffering can then truly experience the sublime? Christos anesti!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.