“…You have changed my mourning into dancing, O Lord, and have girded me with joy, alleluia…” —Psalm 30
(Conclusion of 3 parts)
(Continued from last week’s issue …)
There is news of suicide that hits you harder because you personally know the person who took his own life. By all accounts, he has led a good life but unknown to all, was going through overwhelming personal struggles, wallowing in darkness and despair and simply gave up.
In many cases, those in their immediate family orbit say, they never saw it coming and will be left wondering WHY. Suicide, contrary to the lyrics of a popular song, is never painless. Those left behind who will have to pick up the pieces deal with the heavy pall of gloom and guilt that descends on them for a long time.
So how does one deal with the dark night of the soul?
I don’t know about you but it seems to me that darkness can only be fought and won decisively by seeking the light. Only light can dispel darkness.
Psychotherapy, anti-depressants and all other known scientifically proven ways of dealing with mental illness and the eventual sickness of the soul may be of some help.
But as in anything, the first step is to acknowledge and admit the condition as a serious cause for concern and to seek help right away. This is the crucial first step towards healing. And the hardest.
The courage to recognize and admit one needs help may not be enough though. Humility is a key ingredient. The afflicted must reach out to someone he can trust, someone who cares about him and lead him to those that can help. This is when fervent heartfelt prayers, his own and those of others, can assault the heavens for mercy.
The bigger part of defeating the darkness of the soul lies within one’s self. Seek the light every which way possible, both physical and spiritual. Even the very act of being exposed to sunlight can fight off the sadness that afflicts many when the fall and winter seasons with their diminished amounts of sunlight come every year.
If you have strayed from the Christian faith, COME BACK, RENEW AND REKINDLE that relationship with God. He is the vine; we are the branches. Cut off from God, we wither and die.
In daily life, seek the company of genuinely happy people who have that buoyant tendency to lift others. They have the force of high tide that lifts all boats. Cheerfulness is the daylight of the soul. Bask in joy-filled people’s megawatt light until you can generate your own. It may just be a flicker of hope in the beginning that grows into a bigger flame that may become a bonfire blazing within one’s soul. Quite possibly, with the Holy Spirit’s help, that once-ailing soul can become a light bright enough to give hope to others similarly situated.
Like anyone else, cheerful people do have problems and undergo dark times. But they have within their inmost core, a steady spark of God’s pilot light that enables them to tap a wellspring of joy, no matter what season of the soul they are going through.
You must stay away from negative, depressed people. Darkness can and will go viral given the chance. They have twice the force of gravity to bring you down to the depths of despair. They are like blackholes that suctions everything around them.
In my pedestrian view, since deep depression is essentially a disease that afflicts the mind and withers the soul, all physical remedies seem to me to fall far short of true healing. A spiritual illness can only be cured by spiritual means. Match the method to the madness.
A leap of faith is a must. God is light and only God can dispel the darkness of one’s soul. Without God, one can do nothing.
The promise is clear for many who have remained steadfast in their faith. Faith is the solid and unwavering core belief that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead so we may live happily ever after far beyond death into eternity. This is the ending really worth seeking for every life story.
Rock solid faith brings a bottomless well of hope. Faith gives us a deep, down to the marrow, heartfelt and genuine appreciation of God’s unfailing love to see us through and bring us home in His own good and perfect timing.
God gave us life as a gift. Our gift to God in return, is to live as joyfully as possible the whole enchilada, the full measure of that life until we are called home.
What then is the ultimate weapon against dangerous depression that afflicts many today? It is JOY, the pure and simple expression of gratitude for GOD’S ENDURING LOVE.
(Conclusion in next week’s issue …)
Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. To send comments, e-mail email@example.com