Posted by: suek2001 | August 26, 2014

The Great Notion and the Cross…

Robin Williams was given another tribute at the Emmy Awards last night…and I am reminded I still haven’t delved into the issue of what might have killed him..depression..

As most of my readers know, I am a practicing Pentecostal Christian. Yet, I have battled depresssion..and suicidal thoughts as well…
I recall once in Sunday School, when I was a teenager..there was a list of questions that people commonly had about issues in reference to faith…and one of them was “Can a Christian commit suicide and go to Heaven?”….some of my classmates scoffed at that question and said “Well, of course not…” and then moved on…

For me, I wondered about it…as my teen years were not easy. The success of the teen years depends on what kind of kid you are. If you are outgoing, charismatic, have atheletic ability and and socially-connected, they can be a breeze..For the rest of us, the silent torture of not fitting in to that box can be a slow death of sorts…

My insecurites came to the forefront of my heart during my teen years. I couldn’t help but wonder if I really belonged on this planet…

I know all the cliche’s by now that Christians spout off..God, is your Heavenly Father and He loves you and Died for you…

Still, it took me YEARS to get His love and the main thing is I didn’t trust it…As a child of a single mother, the father figure was a strange concept to me..and in that, I couldn’t relate to a God that was a Father…

True, there’s the feminist spin on God but Pentecostals don’t embrace that view and in the South, it was hard enough to allow women to preach but giving God female attributes was nowhere near correct..

I still don’t view God that way…

During my teen years, music became my solace…and writing really angsty journal entries(God, those are painful to read now)..One album I loved was “The Kingston Trio’s Greatest Hits”..a repackaged version of their live album called “Once Upon a Time”…

One of the songs was a cover of the old Weavers standard, “Good Night Irene”….

The second verse was my favorite…for my angsty reasons..
“Sometimes I live in the country,
Sometimes I live in town
..and sometimes I take a great notion
I’m gonna jump into the river and drown”

John Stewart sang that verse..and I LOVED the way he sang it..it was with a fierce arrogance with a hint of rage towards the world. It had no hint of self-pity but of defiance..as if to say “This is what I feel and what I want to do and there’s no changing my mind”…

That became a repeated favorite of mine…and while I never actually attempted suicde, this gave me an outlet to express those thoughts without shame…

The Church as a whole..has had issues with people expressing this desire. They balk at the mere discussion of assisted suicide..and for the most part, the counselling arena was “Hey. God loves you..Why do you have to be down?”

I know some who are outright hostile against therapy..and even Christian counselors….and that does not help…Clinical depression is not cured by making Christians feel weak-willed if they don’t embrace the sunshine and flowers view that most have.

For a lot of us, it is a struggle..to just know that God loves us and wants something from us…and the more people understand that, the better off we all will be…

It is time that the Church take a serious look at depression..and be the hand and the heart of God in this area. It is time they seek to embrace the hurting not with Bible verses and intense prayers but with love, friendship and counselling. The Bible has it’s place in this area, to be sure but too many are too willing to say “Pray and read this Scripture” and you will be better….In Pentecostal circles, we lvoe to believe that the the Holy Spirit takes away all those thoughts and evil desires…and yes, instant healings can occur but sometimes they don’t..and when they don’t, the cycle of depression continues and faith of those who seek help, is challenged moreso than the ones with quick healings…

I’m not saying that drugs and counselling are the answer to this issue while the Bible and prayers are not….They all can work together to make us better…and when we are better , our impact on the world is stronger and isn’t that the ultimate goal?

The shaming of the hurting in the Church must end…It should end and I beleive it is God’s will for it to end…

I will close with this, I am blessed with a great network of support..from family to friends to a great Church family. I am one of the blessed ones..

It is ironic in away…Two days prior to hearing of the suicide of Robin Williams, I was sitting in a concert hall listening to friends sing Kingston Trio songs…and my dear friend, Debbie Pinkney, sang a song that meant something to her..”Goodnight Irene”…

As she got to that second verse, I smiled..and cried…as I looked around the room at all my fellow Kingston Trio fans..I thought back to the hours of listening to that song..and realized that the Great Notion didn’t take me..and because of that, I am experiencing the family, friendship and inclusion I longed for all those years ago…

God has a way of getting us through the worst of times…it just would help if His children helped each other through those times as well..

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