For me, the opposite of depression is hope.
Depression, for me, is a miles deep crater that I believe I will never crawl out of. It’s disillusionment born of an unfulfilled longing for peace. It’s fear that hope will raise me up just to drop me even further down. It’s a cocoon of despair snuggled all around me doing its best to keep me from breaking when the inevitable fall comes.
The irony in all of that is that it precludes me from living and dreaming and hoping and praying.
But I hold on to it so strongly at times, as if my life depends on it. Because sometimes it feels like it does.
But I sit here today, decently removed from the worst of those moments of despair, and I feel myself longing for hope.
I find myself wanting to take all my pain and turn it into strength. I want to take in all the pain of this world around us, and I want to turn it into prayer, and I want to pray for the beauty that comes from the darkness.
I want to shine a light.
The past few weeks haven’t been easy. I’ve been anxious, more anxious than usual, dealing with intrusive thoughts and the panic that accompanies them. I’ve been trying to shut off my brain so as not to think. I’ve been trying to hide from myself.
But I’m reminded that beauty comes from pain. Change comes from heartache. The good that is done in this world is done by hands and by hearts that have been broken and beaten and mangled but have also been chiseled down and perfected through the fire of this life.
Life gives us all hardships. It gives us all crosses to carry. It asks so very much from us.
And sometimes we can feel ourselves screaming into the wind, begging God to answer us, “why? why me?”
But when the wind calms and the screaming ceases, we can often hear an answer back, “because you were chosen. because you can make it beautiful.”
So at the risk of sounding corny, I wish I could whisper into every soul out there and urge you to take your pain and use it to transform. Use it to ease the pain of others. Use it to soften your heart. Use it to open your eyes. Use it to quiet the judgments.
There is pain and there is heartache, but there is also beauty and there is holiness. Eventually, we all have to pick a side.
Butterfly photo available from Shutterstock