Every evening we sit out back, give to each other the bits and pieces of our day, and listen. The meadow behind our house is lush with new life and, neglected, it has become a forest. Birdsong and spring peepers call to us somewhere from within the thick brush. The silences are full.
The other night, a sudden, pounding spring shower chased us indoors. It left as quickly as it came, as these flash storms do, and we resumed our post, wiping away clinging raindrops with old towels from the rag pile. The air was heavy with moisture and the perfume of the wild, flowering rose haunted us. But the most amazing thing about the washed-clean grasses and leaves was how they were alight with fireflies. Something about the dewy atmosphere must have been invitation to living starlight and it was a gift to watch their shimmer.
How many nights have I missed the fireflies showing off?
For ten weeks we’ve been talking about depression—about loving someone who has depression. I think you know that just because the series has come to an end doesn’t mean this journey is over. Many things have gone unsaid. There will be many more difficult days. And there will be light.
The many ways depression infects a life are insidious, stealthy. When I look back at our beginnings, I sometimes wonder how we ended up here. It is a slow takeover. One that requires attention and deliberation to overcome. Depression is a way of seeing the world, and its many distortions narrow the vision. If there is one thing I pray you leave this journey with it is this: never stop looking for beauty. The kingdom of heaven is in our midst but we lose sight of it every day.
When I was in Nebraska, my friend Michelle and I were talking about this depression journey. “Why is it that negativity seems so much more contagious than the opposite?” I asked her. “Why can’t a positive attitude be more influential?”
“I don’t know,” she replied. “I don’t know.”
We have found the treasure in the field but we’ve forgotten where we buried it. So we must leave no stone unturned to recover what we know is already ours. When life becomes one big treasure hunt, the positive attitude becomes more powerful.
It is not easy. We grow tired. I grow tired. This is why we need each other.
So, to sum up our ten week journey, when you love someone who has depression:
Never stop looking for beauty. Foster a community of support.
Surrender. Make letting go a regular practice.
Celebrate the moments of light. Cultivate opportunities for them to happen.
Nurture your curiosity. Encourage your beloved to explore new opportunities to grow too.
Seek professional help.
Talk about it.
Your companionship on this journey is a gift to me. Thank you for sharing your stories, for letting me create a safe place here for heavy hearts. I hope yours is a little lighter for this walking together.
All my love as you continue on.