My family doctor suggests that up to 80% of his appointments could be handled by everyday, non-medically-trained people. Dr. Marlowe Haskins perceives that many of his patients have few or even no friends, so they’ll make appointments to see him every few weeks. I wonder whether these people are hypochondriacs or actually admit up front that they come simply for a few minutes of conversation and human interaction.
Dr. Haskins gave this statistic yesterday at Telkwa CRC. I had spoken about depression, using Psalm 42 as a launching point. Afterwards, I invited him to speak from his Christian perspective and professional experience. Dr. Haskins did not at all dismiss the importance of diagnosing and treating depression, but he made it clear that much healing from feeling blue and even outright despair can be found within a loving community.
If we opened our eyes wider on Sunday mornings, we would likely notice more people in the pews around us who are lonely and feeling down. We can affirm them, remind them that they mean a lot to us, offer help as we are able, and, most importantly, spend time together. On the other hand, when we are feeling blue, maybe we need to ask ourselves why we don’t reach out to someone in our church community. God does not expect us to wear a plastic happy face when we enter a church sanctuary and, I pray, many of our sisters and brothers in Christ don’t expect us to all the time, either.
As I said in yesterday’s message, depression is treatable… And you and I are part of that treatment! You and I can remind people who suffer from it that we accept them and that God loves them. We do this with our words and in our actions and with our time as well as our prayers. May you and may I continue following the lead of the Holy Spirit, offering the refreshing living water of Jesus to those who are thirsting for it.