(June 13, 2007)

Yesterday I wrote a little piece for BC Christian News about the mental health service our church had several weeks ago. I also included something about Living Room. Another little effort to hopefully make a bit of difference. If other churches were to read it, I’m hoping they might be motivated to try the same thing we are doing. Submitting that to the paper last night has motivated me to carry on working for “the cause”.

My next project is to write an article about how Christians can give support to friends suffering from depression. You may think, “Wouldn’t the kind of support Christians give be the same as support given by anyone else?” The answer is, of course, yes. But the truth is that many still believe in depression having a spiritual basis. Also, there are spiritual ways of supporting people by praying with them or by letting them know you’re praying. There’s also the story of Job and his friends who did such a bad job supporting him. Too many forget that story when they’re trying to help depressed friends. It’s a story that has lessons for us.

My neighbor has been telling me about her depressed friend who she is trying to give support to. “I don’t know what to tell her to do anymore,” she said. “I don’t know how to help her.” But that tends to be the trouble with a lot of people who are trying to help. They think that giving advice is going to fix the depression. The truth is they just need to be there to listen – to be available – to be compassionate – to be patient – to continue loving. For most people that’s a hard thing to do. Everyone wants to fix things for others, when that is an impossible thing to do. When we try to fix a friend, there’s a danger of making a depressed person feel worse.

I’m going to have to write about what it’s like to be depressed as well. Supporters need to understand, though of course this would not be fully possible if they haven’t been there themselves. Yet I’d like to try to describe it. This project will be a challenge, but worthwhile.