“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
No American document has had a greater impact on the wider world. As we celebrate the 239th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, we give thanks to God for our many blessings.
Scripture contains many stirring statements. The 6th century BC was a catastrophe for the Hebrews. Amidst this, the Spirit of God empowers a man named Ezekial to challenge the Hebrews to reform their lives, to re-orient themselves to God and one another.
|Paul Preaching (Acts 17)|
Paul in his letter to the Christian community in Corinth, Greece alludes to a “thorn in his own flesh.” Biblical scholars have debated for centuries about what this disability was. In fact, Paul says, the power of God’s grace sufficed for him to overcome many hardships.
And in the Gospel according to Mark, Jesus speaks to a tough audience, some of his own relatives and friends in Nazareth. But they reject his “Good News.”
Ezekiel, Paul and Jesus must have felt misunderstood, unappreciated, disappointed and even depressed at times.
Depression strikes most of us in some form or other at some point in our lives. But how can one deal with it and make it work for us.
I am talking here of occasional, minor, normal depression, not severe, ongoing, debilitating depression. When it is severe and ongoing, we need professional help at once.
But depression is sometimes a temporary occurrence. We feel blue, out of sync and unable to motivate ourselves.
One form occurs when our chemical balance is out of whack. A professional helps us manage this with medication. A good physical examination is always important.
A second form of depression is caused by “something” outside ourselves. It's a loss that affects our well-being, for example, the loss of a parent or spouse or child, a divorce, a retirement, the empty nest, the end of a relationship, unemployment. Time may help heal depression due to loss. Support groups are invaluable.
Then there’s stress. We run out of energy to deal with demands we think people make upon us. For example, a person who tries desperately to do everything and do it perfectly. It’s bound to fail.
How then deal positively with depression?
As we grow older and wiser, we try less to be perfect. We'll do things as best we can but we won't take on more than we can handle.
Recognize our stress so we can deal with them. For example, if I’m irritable, this is telling me I need to get away briefly. If I’m unmotivated, do something more creative, etc.
Engage in physical activity. Communicate with family. Change your habits, vary your routine. Do something you like; call friends; lend a helping hand; rekindle your spirituality by reading.
Make feelings work for us, not against us. God is always with us. And remember the words of St. Paul: "God's grace is sufficient for me," no matter what comes our way. May the Lord give you his peace!