Monday, December 24, 2012

It Really is A Wonderful Life

As far as I can tell, I have struggled with depression for nearly a decade. I have heard it said that depression is not a medical condition, but a state of mind that can be self-inflicted. In the early years, it was hardly distinguishable from my natural emotions of sadness or anger, but it soon overtook my life. To me, depression was a state of being, but it was certainly not self-inflicted. I didn't want to be uncontrollably irritable or sad. What fourteen year old girl wants to avoid her friends, spend time sobbing in her room instead of enjoying herself at parties, or fear for her future? When you have depression, it consumes you. Your heart is numb, your mind overrun with thoughts, your body aches, and your eyes are blind to what surrounds you.

Just a few weeks ago I watched the classic Christmas film "It's A Wonderful Life". I had seen it every year with my family or friends and expressed some appreciation of it, but somehow this year was different. This year I watched it at home, alone. I was surrounded by my pets, the warm glow of the gas stove, and the beauty of our family Christmas tree. In the past, I have had difficulty feeling the unseen blessings that Christmas brings. As I watched this classic tale of hope, I saw myself in the story of George Bailey. My battle with depression so often has overwhelmed me during the holidays that rejoicing in the birth of our Savior seems a foreign concept. Material matters clutter my mind, and thoughts of what I do not have cast a dark shadow over thoughts of that which I do have. But as George Bailey comes to realize that his greatest blessing is the gift that his existence brings to others, I too, realized that the depth of my despair and the greatest trials I have faced pale in comparison to the blessings that God has given me. I was born into the most loving and supportive of families. I love, and am loved by, dozens of dozens of friends and neighbors. I have a roof over my head, fresh food, clean water, and thousands of amenities which make life safe and comfortable. I have been afforded the opportunity to expand my knowledge of the world through education. I am healthy, strong, and safe despite all that is bad in the world. And I have found Truth in the life of Jesus Christ, whose deeds teach us that peace, love, mercy, and goodwill are the best gifts we can give or receive.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A December Update

Wishing you the very merriest of holidays! Things are moving along too quickly here, but it's best to take a step back and remember why we celebrate this season of the year.