Years ago, my sister-in-law had a dream in which I struggled to stay afloat in a churning sea, surrounded by circling sharks. During those tough years, I became deeply depressed. If you’ve never been depressed, and I hope you haven’t and never are, it is like being in a dark body of water and just letting go, blissfully sinking down, down, down, ever deeper, feet first, arms above your head—and not caring. Suddenly, something grabs your ankle and you kick instinctively, but it won’t let go. You’re really scared and kick again, hard, twisting and pulling. Finally, you’re free. With your last bit of strength, you pull and pull toward the surface and break through, gasping for the precious air you had dismissed just moments before. That is depression, the certainty that it doesn’t matter if you live or die, until you come right up to the dying part and you have to fight for your life.
I do know that not everyone keeps fighting. If you are reading this and have lost someone to suicide, my heart goes out to you. Most of the time it has nothing to do with family and friends; many, many people have survived far worse living conditions than those of your beloved family member. It is important to know that the person struggling in the dark ocean just couldn’t kick anymore. And the teaching that people who commit suicide don’t go to heaven? How did God get turned into the worst of human nature, an unforgiving, small-minded and small-hearted bully? Who did this to God; and to us?
I have a single-mom friend whose children created some mischief where our kids went to Catholic school together; yet, no matter what, she always stood up for them, fought for them. Somehow she knew that if they could have done better, they would have. She amazed me. We have to choose, like my friend did: Either God is a devoted Father/ Mother who loves us all unconditionally, or God is the Judge on High who damns us to hell.
I am going with God as Divine Love, indefinable and everlasting, into whose Bosom we all land, where we are comforted by the knowledge that He/She Who Made Us knows each of us inside-out, along with the magnitude of our life struggles, and perhaps most important, that we truly are doing the best we can. If we could do better, we would; it is that simple. No one celebrates evil or doing hurtful things.
Let us be healed of all our fears, our sorrows, our doubts, and just know, know, that we are loved wholly and absolutely and that our Wonderful Magnificent Creator is waiting for us all to return home. This knowing helped me to heal from the worst of my bouts with depression, as did the practice taught me by my therapist: Spread loving-kindness wherever you are. She was right; somehow every kind act seems to cancel some of my dark thoughts. Go forth, be kind and cancel those dang, dark thoughts!