(March 3, 2008)

One of my blogging pals has spoken a number of times about how she needs friends around her who will be with her when she’s depressed, understanding that she may not want to – or be able to – talk much. I also feel that is the best kind of support a friend can offer. With the help of author Peter Scazzero, I’ve come to think of that quiet space between friends as “sacred space.”

In his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Scazzero talks about how we need to recognize the uniqueness and separateness of other people and how true relationships “can only exist between two people willing to connect across their differences.” And how true this is when one person is depressed and the other isn’t! What a gulf there is between us at times like this! How can we bridge that gulf? How can we connect?

When I’ve been with friends who are depressed, I find the best way to be with them is to talk little, but to allow for lots of quiet time. We have gone for walks and I encourage them to talk about how they’re feeling and respond a bit. But I allow for a comfortable quietness as well. That’s the kind of presence I long for from my friends as well, when I’m depressed.

Scazzero writes, “When genuine love is released in a relationship, God’s presence is manifest. The separate space between us becomes sacred space.” When a friend will spend such comfortable quiet times with me, she cuts through the isolation I feel. What’s more, a beautiful intimacy develops between us. And I sense God’s presence.