I recently (in the last four years or so) went through the darkest and most painful depression I’ve experienced. I knew a lot about why, but not much about how to stop it. Since very little of the advice helped from friends or from articles and books they suggested, the best I could do was ride the lows until they passed.
I hoped the experience would somehow prove worth it, that I would learn and change and grow, and I did. What I didn’t expect, though, was to feel gratitude except that I was through the worst of it. It wasn’t until I said it out loud to a friend last week that I realized how thankful I am for those dark moments.
My friend talked about her family’s circumstances. She said, “I broke my number one rule. I talked with a family member about a problem that wasn’t mine to discuss.”
Next thing I knew, I was admitting my thankfulness, “That’s one of the reasons I’m grateful for the depression I went through. For the most part, it kept me out of others’ lives and out of their business.”
Since I said “… one of the reasons,” I’m guessing I have more, but, for now, I’m happy to identify one. Who knew darkness would be a backdrop for gratitude?
My third grade teacher may have known a thing or two about it when she showed us how to melt crayon shavings in between wax paper. The most memorable artwork for me was when we melted black crayons on top of the colored ones and then etched scenes with our pencils – memorable because we made sense out of what had been abstract and dark. I etched a sidewalk up to a bright house and a colorful tree.
Have you found gratitude, or at least a bit of brightness, in your darkest moments? I’d like to hear your stories.
WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Dear God, I’m sure it saddens you when we live in dark and painful places, even though darkness and pain serve a purpose. Help us etch paths toward gratitude and brightness.
On the side: During this season of family, holiday meals and a gift buying frenzy or two, I’m practicing renewed faith, the faith stated in I Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks …”
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