u know the poem "If" by rudyard kipling. u know how at the beginning it says: "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you" -- well in the last several months i've been impressed that i need to keep my head -- or at least my thoughts -- in check even in the worst of circumstances. that my reality is NOT papa god's reality and that what i see about me isn't necessarily what or how it really is.
now this is easier said that done when most of ur life u've seen the glass as empty and never even half full. its a true test of will to "keep ur head" when the circumstances dictate something much more dire. its a real-learning of sorts. retraining ur brain to look at the crap and see that its not really crap. kinda like the king asking everybody to see him in his new clothes when he's really naked -- sometimes the naked just can't be imagined away.
i'm not asking u to imagine something away either or pretend it doesn't exist. what i am asking u to do is to try to see it in papa's reality. here's an example: i live in subsidized housing and sometimes its really not very pleasant here. the walls r thin and i can hear ppl screaming at their children on either side of me (which hurts my heart), and in the spring and summer there is a lot of conflict here between residents when their children get into scuffles. let's just say that some of the parents don't have very good communication skills beyond screaming. there has also been a lot of drug dealing and police calls, and well, u get the basic picture. now on the outer layer it looks like a really crappy place to live and i could sit around and wallow in self-pity over the fact that i have to live in a place like this. but what papa god has shown me is that compared to others, i have been quite blessed. i have a roof over my head, a warm bed to lie in at night, food on the table and a reason and ppl to pray about. and something that in the past would have put me down and kept me down for months (maybe even years) no longer does.
sure, sometimes i get frustrated and angry and yes, even sad, but the sadness never lasts long (like it used to) and i'm immediately reminded that what i see before me is not papa god's reality. that he is so much bigger than any issue that is laying in my lap and that i just need to let it go, put a smile on my face and move forward.
recently, i've had the pleasure of talking to two ppl i love dearly about their depression. one has made some unwise choices and is now suffering the consequences. they r miserable and i can see y. but i also see a way for them to get out of the mess they r in -- something they were having a hard time doing. it seems like when u get into the muck, there is very little room for actually seeing the path of escaping it. and i understand this really really well because of a lot of "messes" i have gotten myself into the past 53+ years.
the other person is just generally depressed because of things not going the way they had planned. other ppl's attitudes towards them is causing them grief and they rn't overly happy in their job, and they don't like where they r living, and u get the picture. i understand this area as well -- having been in all these circumstances. and having been like both of these ppl, i was depressed and miserable for ages. when ppl would ask me how i was i would tell them (even though they really didn't want to know) and could see the instant look of "oh my gosh i shouldn't have asked" come across their faces. some ppl -- those who have compassion -- would become miserable just from listing to my story. it bothered me that i was making someone else miserable just by telling them about my miserableness.
so a year ago, i made this conscious decision to just not tell ppl unless they really pressured me -- or i really trusted that they wouldn't become emotionally tied to my miserableness. because i couldn't handle seeing someone else upset. y should i make other ppl miserable just because i was. the other thing i vowed to do was to wear a smile on my face -- even though the world around me was crumbling, i knew that i was deeply loved and cared for by papa god and that was worth smiling about. the reality is that i was not alone in any of the muck, even the muck of my own making, and that the one being who was there for me and holding me and supporting me and providing for my needs was papa god -- and that warranted a smile. a big smile.
what started to come back to me was smiles -- and i found that those smiles bolstered mine even more. if someone wanted to really know about my circumstances, i would tell them, but i would always end it with the statement that i was well loved and blessed by papa god and that what i saw around me was not what papa saw and therefore i was making the conscious decision to see it through papa's eyes.
yes, sometimes i don't do that. sometimes i get down -- but what i have discovered is that the duration of the depression has been more than halved just because i've chosen to see the glass as overflowing from papa god and not as empty. i've made a change in my "state of mind" which then changes my perspective and reaction to my set of circumstances. its empowering and uplifting. and i know i couldn't do any of this without papa god's help and guidance. he's set me on this course and is there all along the way to help me when i stray off the path. he always reminds me -- even in the smallest of ways -- that he cares for me and is there blessing me. and that makes all the difference ....