I am sad most of the time.

Occasionally depressed; not too often. Mostly just sad.

Call it blue.

There are all kinds of reasons contributing to that, most of which don’t bear going into.

Oh, I can put on a smile and muddle through. I can keep it together in most social situations. I can sometimes even call on a show of sharp wit and an illusion of charm.

But I spend most of the time sad, and it’s a pain in the soul because sadness makes it harder to think, to focus, to perform, to excel, to multitask … even to uni-task. Sadness makes it harder to prioritize, socialize, look into others’ eyes. Sadness makes you alone and keeps you alone and alone makes sadness both less and more difficult to bear.

Less because you’re not burdening others with it.

More because your bearing it yourself.

Sharing it can make it worse because you may find yourself sharing someone else’s sadness too, at a time when you don’t feel you can bear your own.

Sharing sadness can make it better because you sometimes find someone who can help bear it with you.

When I am profoundly sad and alone, there is something that makes it bearable even when nothing can make it better.

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. ~ Isaiah 53:3

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept. ~ John 11:33-35

Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” ~ Matthew 26:38-39

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. ~ Romans 8:26

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. ~ Hebrews 4:15

Don’t get me wrong. None of this magically takes away the sadness. None of this miraculously eliminates the reasons contributing to it. None of it is rainbow unicorn photos on Facebook with cheery Bible verses chasing away clouds on brilliant sunbeamy backgrounds. None of it is a guarantee. None of it is a promise of better soon or think positive or pray confidently or best life now.

It’s simply an account of a Man who is God, who understands and shares. So much so that He shares His own Spirit within us to groan with us when words simply will not suffice.

I taught Romans 8:26 last Sunday. I confessed that until I studied the verse last week, I had always misread into it a misconception: that somehow the Holy Spirit provides the words God will understand when we don’t have the words to say. That’s not what the verse says at all. It says that the Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans.

He groans with us.

So that we do not have to groan alone.

I wish that I had gained that insight earlier in life, sooner than a week ago.

It would have made the aloneness less alone. It would have made the blue less midnight and more aqua. It would have made the sadness lighter to bear.

Lighter by half.

5 thoughts on “Blue

  1. Thanks so much for writing and sharing this. As a fellow sufferer of being blue/outright depressed I can certainly relate to the roller coaster ride of emotion that can influence us to close our eyes and miss out on opportunities to alleviate our own “down” moments and those of others. Unfortunately I suffered from clinical depression in the fall of 1988 while serving as minister of a small congregation in west Tennessee. One short (actually pretty long) year later I was “let go” from that position. But God was always there working in His mysterious ways and I now as a home health OT, minister/serve more than I ever could as a pulpit minister. Strange things happen when one almost loses touch with reality–like writing the word, “GOD”, on a legal pad for a Christian psychologist because you are at a loss for what else to do! May God bless you as you struggle with being blue and may you find some comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Pray for me as I pray for you! Deal? God’s best to you always.

    • I will pray for you, Bill, and Keith too. We are long time blog friends and I, too, suffered deep depressions for many years, although now am on a wonderful anti-depressant for EIGHT years that helps. Still . . .

  2. I read a book written by Ann Voskamp. Some men won’t read books written by women, but I definitely recommend it. Years ago a doctor labeled me with clinical depression and told me that I would have to be on medication all my life. She was wrong. I wonder if you might read “One Thousand Gifts” by Ms.Voskamp. Her writing was a tool that encouraged me to stop asking “why?” and put me in a different direction. I think fighting depression can become a focus that distracts from the only focus that I need. I want more than anything to feel joy! I want to escape that heavy wet blanket of sadness that drags me to hell. I desire the light of God to shine out of my soul and to feel the presence of His Holy Spirit. And I do now! In the days of depression I wondered if death was preferable to the darkness I felt. I want you to know there is hope.You can get to the other side of sadness. I also thank God for those days of sadness. I know they had purpose. If nothing more, it kept me communicating with God. I want my prayers answered Fed Ex style, ASAP! However, I believe we are in a process and God is providing time for us; to grow, to heal. We can not work through the process of our potential over night any more than a peach seed can instantly become a peach. I’m guessing that you are a compassionate person, that your gifts lie in the area of being sensitive to others, but that sensitivity can also turn against us. Maybe like Luke Skywalker we have to learn how to use “The Force” within us before we can become who God desires us to be. I’ve wondered if depression was part of the process of using my gifts to greatest potential? Would you consider reading this book. It is one person’s quest for joy. I’m sure there are many good books, but God used this writer to help me find a way out of the black hole of depression. I prefer to think of depression as just one step closer to being healed and joyful. I asked God to provide for you as He has for me.Maybe you would ask Him to keep me focused on His plan for me. Im grateful for the strength of many prayers offered. When my focus is drawn away from the sadness and surrendered to Him, I break free! This did not happen overnight.

  3. I understand, Keith. Sometimes it seems that life is sadness punctuated by brief flurries of happiness rather than the other way around. Anyone who has struggled with deep loss or dealt with chronic health issues in a loved one or self knows that’s how it feels. I think a lot of men our age also fight against feelings of irrelevance because it seems so few depend on us anymore. I’m there with you. Peace.

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