(Originally written in 2015 – and sadly still relevant for me too)
As I began this post, It’s the Saturday morning before Christmas and I’m tucked away in a corner booth in a local diner all by myself. While I wait for my eggs, I go for the comfort food of choice, Rice Krispies. It doesn’t have quite the same “snap, crackle, pop” I remember, but it’s a wonderful connection to memories past. Something about hearing those sounds and feeling the airy crunch makes me long for no responsibility except waking up early enough for Saturday morning cartoons.
But that’s not why I’m here.
The neighborhood diner is across the street from my mechanic and I was told, “it’ll be awhile.” Never good words to hear and especially bad a few days before Christmas. Since sitting down, I’ve noticed two other men sit down in booths to have their breakfasts in solitude. And I wonder. I wonder are they having the day I’m having? Are they having the year? Is this quiet moment alone a respite from a life that feels out of control for them?
I wrote an article for Christ Hold Fast, “When You Don’t Feel Merry..” I’m still there. To be brutally honest, I’m pretty sure I’m depressed, but I’m functional, so that’s something, right? Before I know it, Christmas will be just one more memory and New Year’s Eve will begin to rear its ugly head. I say ugly, because it’s also my birthday. There is nothing like celebrating a middle-aged birthday, especially when you don’t feel like celebrating anything.
What do you do when you feel this way? How do you get rescued from these doldrums of life? Do you just cheer up? Maybe put on a happy face? Do you let people, “turn that frown upside down?” Most people want you to cheer up around them because they really don’t know how to deal with honest thoughts and feelings. Oh, they have them too, they just keep them locked away behind that shiny smiling exterior.
Imagine, what might happen if they let their guard down and said, “me too,” as a hand drapes over your shoulder. I know I’d probably do a double take. Now, I’m not talking “pop-counseling” phrases, like, “hey, I can really relate to what you’re feeling right now!” I imagine the person saying it to you giving you double, gun-pointing fingers and little wink as he finishes with, “this is why I ____ to cheer up!” My thoughts in regards to that are, “if I punch him in the face, maybe I WILL feel better!”
I know people are out there without joy and hope this Christmas season as well as other times of the year. They’ve lost loved ones to death, they have failed relationships, they are suffering with debilitating or life-threatening illnesses. As much as I want to tell them about the hope of God found in the person of Jesus, all I can muster is, “me too…” Please hear these words and maybe even repeat them to yourself. It’s not any mantra that holds some special power or a kind of declaration that makes everything all better. They’re simply words. True words. Words worth reading, worth speaking and maybe if you never considered it before, worth believing:
Christ was born… for me too.
Christ lived a perfect life… for me too.
Christ sweat blood as he contemplated his death… for me too.
Christ was battered… for me too.
Christ died a bloody death on a cross… for me too.
He is acquainted with pain and suffering just like we have RIGHT NOW, IN THIS MOMENT and even more. He is all I hold onto in my soul’s darkest nights. Please let him hold onto you in yours. Still, there is one more, “me too” to hear:
He was raised from the dead and lives forever… FOR ME TOO!
He is my future hope and a light for my weary legs as I walk out, (NOT out of) this depression. Right now, hours before this post goes live on my website, I am NOT better. I’m still there. I’m still blue.
So, whether you grab hold of these truths about God or not, please know at least this one thing, that in your darkest pains and hurts, there is another person on earth right now that is saying to you…
Photo Credit goes to: Todd Shaffer