(December 29, 2007)

One thing I’ve thought a lot of in the last few days is how Living Room has become like a steady flame, never wavering, never going out. No matter how my mood is, it gives me light. No matter how down I feel, I want to go to the meetings and lead. And no matter how down I feel, I’m able to lead. I want to give hope to the people I speak to there, and I always find a source for that hope. What a blessing that is!

In the spring, while I was going through a more severe depression, I thought I’d like to do a favor for a friend. I noticed how that thought was like a spark within me, providing some light, making me feel better. And it felt like that spark lit a candle, one that kept burning for a while. And I thought of how I’d like to share that image with Living Room members. I wanted to tell them how lighting a candle in the dark can help us feel better. Just thinking of sharing this as a devotional kept my candle burning for the rest of the week. I was able to keep my candle lit. I was able to lead a good session.

There were 15 present at yesterday’s meeting – not bad for this time of year when most activities are put on hold. We had a wonderful time. I quoted from Philippians 4:6-8 which I’ve had my Bible open to a lot lately:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

After a bit of discussion, we all took turns giving thanks to God. There is truly a peace that comes from thinking of the good things in our lives and being thankful for them. Not only does it help remove anxiety, it also helps with depression.

At Living Room we all support each other. Though I’m the facilitator, I receive support myself as well. I always come away feeling better and – most of the time – feel a wonderful, peaceful kind of joy after. I can be myself there, not having to pretend I’m well when I’m not. Though I’m the leader, I don’t have to come across like I’ve got it all together. In fact, it’s better that the members realize that I struggle like they do. When I’m real, everyone is encouraged to be real. There’s great beauty in that.

That steady flame that is Living Room is an amazing, mysterious thing. It’s God at the center. It’s made of love. It heals.