When you are eleven years old you should be happy. The world is new and your future is all ahead of you. There is not the pressure of life problems that come when we get older. Unfortunately I found myself at eleven in a very dark place. I was very depressed and the guilt was unbearable. I would go to my room and cry. I was suffering from enormous guilt about something I did. At the baseball clinic that summer I had taken a baseball that didn’t belong to me. I put it in my glove instead of the ball bag thinking that my friends and I could use it. The ball was one of those rubber coded balls they used to make them last longer. This baseball was nothing special because the ball bag probably had 100 balls that looked the same. If I had asked the instructor would have surely laughed and said go ahead and take one home. But I didn’t ask and that brought the guilt to me. So here I was going to my room alone in a depressed state and only wanting to cry.
My mom was such a caring person. When something was bothering her kids she was someone who always wanted to get to the root of the problem. She came to my room and wanted to know why I was so down. I’m glad that I shared my problem and guilt with her that day. Although she didn’t condone what I did she didn’t condemn me either. She had a way of just making me feel better. I don’t remember her exact words but I am sure she mentioned that what I did was what anyone might have done. This was before we had both became Christians so there wasn’t a prayer involved. It was just straight counseling and caring about her son. She knew I couldn’t go on in that dark state and she talked to me as a counselor would only with undying love added in. Our talk that day got me out of the dark place. I started looking forward to the baseball clinic that next Summer where I would return the ball to it’s rightful bag. In the meantime that ball was stored in my room and not played with. The first day of the next Summers clinic I placed the ball in my glove and put it in the bag of like balls. I had left my Winter guilt behind and was ready to enjoy the Summer!
Guilt is a very powerful thing and can lead to depression which in turn can send people to the dark place. The dark place is a place where we feel there is no hope. Whatever we are going through gets to be such a weight it is impossible to get it off of our chest. It is in these dark times that people sometimes decide that life isn’t worth living anymore. Depression is a real thing and it’s consequences can be deadly. We all go through dark times in our lives. As the proverb states for everything there is a season. The problem is when the season of depression takes over all of the seasons. It’s like having Winter all year long. Now I realize some people like Winter and that is not a good example. However in my thinking that would be the ultimate of what depression is like.
I worked with a lady years ago who was in the dark place a lot. She would be fine one day and the next she was calling in to tell me she wouldn’t be there. Instead of the normal sick day however she was crying as she was sorry she couldn’t handle it that day. I don’t remember the details but I think she was eventually let go. I get that a business is out to do what is best for them but this lady was a good worker when she could. I don’t know what her demise was but I googled her a few months ago and read her obituary. Her donations were going to an organization to help people with depression. Of course that is a worthy cause but it is unfortunate she wasn’t able to overcome it.
I was working a side job years ago and we were trying to recruit people to work with us. An acquaintance recommended this very sharp guy I should meet. I called him and got an appointment to come and visit him at his house. At the appointed time I knocked on his door. When he finally came to the door I could tell that something was terribly wrong. His eyes were red and wet from crying and he was very somber. He told me he just wasn’t interested and shut the door a quick minute later. I found out a couple of days later that this guy I had just talked briefly to had killed himself.
My mom left us way too soon and I never really told her how much I loved her. She had been diagnosed with cancer and they couldn’t operate. Our only hope from the cancer doctor was that they could try to shrink it with chemo. Before she could even start chemo therapy the cancer blocked off her kidney function. I came over that morning and mom was laying on the living room floor. My sister and I thought she was still sleeping and I went to the store to pick up something she needed. Suddenly the store intercom voice was calling my name and telling me to head right back. When I got there I asked my sister what was wrong and she pointed to moms bluing face.
I had a dream about mom the other night. Maybe my dream was caused by her sudden and quick departure. Or maybe it was remembering that dark place I was in as a kid. I dreamed that the doctors all knew she was going to die and they had her in a hospital where they were sedating her. It seems like the room had many people being administered to at the same time. When I entered the room I didn’t know where she was. I yelled “mom”! Suddenly I saw her and she was taking off the mask she had on and calling for them to let me come. When I got to her bed she sat up and I gave her a big hug. I told her how thankful I was that she had taken the time and loved me in that time of my depressed state as a kid. I let her know that because of her love I was able to get out of the dark place I was in. She didn’t say anything but her hug was firm and I woke up with a warm feeling that I knew was the Holy Spirit.
To anyone who is going through the dark place know that God loves you! Seek his love and pray for peace in your heart and mind. Send for a caring relative or friend and let them know what you are going through. Do not keep it inside. Share and talk about your feelings and let them help you. If anyone knows someone who is in the dark place know that your caring and loving attitude will greatly help them. Give them hope and let them know how much you care about them. Do it not only in words but more importantly in actions. Listen to their problems and find a way, like my mom did, of making the guilt, pain, loneliness, hurt, or whatever else the cause go away. You will never know how much your words and actions can bring someone into the light. Give them a hand to grab on to. Pull them out of their dark Winter state and into the Summer season of warmth and love.
“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” —Fred Rogers