04/16/17 (Depression and the Easter Weekend)

Today is Easter Sunday. Friday morning (Good Friday) I sat down and wrote a post that I’ve since deleted. It started as an idea that turned more into an angry rant about all the things I see “Christians” doing — but realized I was judging them and making assumptions. I was painting very, very broad strokes about a whole lot of people based on limited knowledge of a few. This is the sort of behavior that gets me angry very quickly, and yet here I was doing the same thing. Hi Pot, my name is Kettle….

Anyway, the vague idea that the post started with was a rough parallel of depression and Easter weekend. Something about how after Jesus crucifixion on Friday (probably early afternoon), how his disciples and followers must have experienced a roller-coaster of emotions. Shock, disbelief, certainly. This was the man who claimed to be the Son of God, the man they believed was the Messiah. The man who had performed miracles, healing sick people, even bringing the dead ones back to life. The man who they left their trades and livelihood to follow and learn from. They had staked their life, their hope, on this man — and now he was … dead?

I’m sure they experienced dismay, and of course much sadness and grief. The man they had grown to know very well after spending 3 years of day-to-day, nitty-gritty life was gone.

Most of all, and the one I can most closely relate to, is a dark overwhelming depression. The Book of Luke (from the Bible) Chapter 24 states it like this:

13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing him.

17 He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”

They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. 18 Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”

19 “What things?” Jesus asked.

“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. 20 But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. 21 We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. (NLT) (ED — I’ve added emphasis using italics and bold that were not in the version I copied from

Sadness. We had hoped. Not stated in the text but i’m inferring a lot of dispair, hopelessness, and an overwhelming emptiness. He’s dead. We buried his body. And now his body is gone too, probably stolen. WE HAVE NOTHING LEFT! Rage at the unfairness of it all — an sudden void where hope had once lived. Emptiness.

There are a lot of hours between Friday and Sunday. A lot of time for the “what ifs”, the “what do we do nows”, and for the crushing weight of overwhelming emptiness, loneliness.

There are a lot of hours of darkness when you struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. There are many dark “what ifs” and countless “what do I do nows”. Endless streams of them some evenings. It’s so hard to hang on when all around is dark, threatening, ominous — especially when the very thing you seek escape and respite from is the one thing you can’t turn off without literally destroying yourself, and that thing is your own mind.

There’s a lot of hours between Friday and Sunday.

But yet if we take that same chapter from Luke and fast forward briefly, we find this:

25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, 29 but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. 30 As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. 31 Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.

32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” 33 And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. (NLT, emphasis added)

Somehow they knew that something had changed. Before Jesus revealed Himself to them, they unconsciously knew life had changed yet again — the hope was returning.

And my very rough parallel is this. Perhaps it’s a poor analogy, and I’ll admit it doesn’t line up nearly as well in writing as it did in my head, but here it is. The 18–24 months have been my “Easter Weekend”. The hope faded. All seemed lost. I thought it was the end, (and it’s scary how close it really was to being the end). And while there are flickers of hope, I’m still wading through the darkness of between the loss of hope on Friday, and the life-changing, flood of hope renewed of Sunday morning. And I do have that hope, and here’s where the 2 of these weekends come together. While I struggle with my faith, and God, and if He really cares, and if that struggle and faith really lines up with the world I see….I do hope that what happened on the Cross was for me too. And I have the hope that despite the death and destruction of hope on “Friday” that the rebirth of a deeper, stronger, steadfast hope will come on “Sunday”. I don’t know how long the weekend in between will be. It already feels like a lifetime. But I hold on to the threads of hope that one day, it will be my Sunday.

Happy Easter. Hope lives.

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