0 thoughts on “Ever had one of those days….”

  1. If someone really had plans to jump, a working phone would probably not stop them. However, the stunning irony of the situation portrayed in this photo might just be enough to humor them into changing their plans. It would all depend on the level of their despair, of course.

    Amazingly, an out-of-order phone might just be be of more benefit than a working phone.

  2. Thanks for posting that. For this melancholic, irony is the natural voice of humor. (Perhaps that of more melancholics than not?)

    Ironically, might irony itself not be one pointer towards grace? Offhand, I can think of few writings more ironic than the graceful 28 Theological Theses Luther wrote for the Heidelberg Disputation.

    His theology of the cross (at least for me), exposes just how ironically foolish a seemingly wise theology of glory must be. But just when nothing but irony seems left, he shows how irony itself, but irony made real in the ultimate irony of the cross itself, “unparadoxes” the paradox. (I was going to say “reconciles,” but might that be glory-talk sneaking in the side door?)

    So what’s the point? Well, once again speaking as a lifetime melancholic, one now dealing with a particularly stubborn bout of 3-plus years, one that’s been a particular challenge to faith (and faith in the sense of a spiritual gift is not one that I’ve been given a large portion of—but at least Paul seems to think that’s OK), the image of a life-preserver being all that keeps me afloat in an empty sea is one that repeats itself. In looking as always for answers—no really, I should say hints—I came to read both your blog and, by a similar but not identical route, a rereading of the Heidelberg Disputation.

    It may be the juxtaposition of those two events, but it struck me that the very reality, the physicality of the cross could be what has helped me to hold on to it so desperately, even when my mind tells me it’s an illusion or that it’s getting waterlogged. (Note the use of present tense. Did I remember to say that faith is not my strong suit?) But at least I’m still here and have somewhere to go, even if my gloomifying says it’s a crummy place to be and the places on every side are just as, or even more crummy. It’s not much, but it’s something.

    A final question: I’ve been looking and looking. Are there any authors who deal exclusively with Luther’s theology of the cross as it relates to depression? Not spiritual despair, but out and out depression—inevitably (?) accompanied by spiritual despair—of the sort it seems Luther himself knew. If so, who are they? In not, why not?

  3. Mr. Mueller,

    Perhaps you will be the author of the book you seek.

    However…..depression is rooted in the physical aspects of the brain. It is a physical dis-ease, as are cancer, heart conditions, and every other physical sickness. Why not also look for a book which deals exclusively with Luther’s theology of the Cross as it relates to cancer, or heart conditions, or any other physical disease?

    Do we think depression is a special disease which deserves more attention than other illnesses? We should be thankful that depression is recognized now for what it is.

    Depression….with the actual physical slowing of nerve impulses across synapses in the brain…..leads one to truly experience feelings of despair, hopelessness, emptiness. These feelings permeated my entire being when I was in the depths of depression, and my thinking became mixed up and chaotic. And I felt totally drained and deflated…..like an absolute nothing.

    The Law is supposed to bring us to a point of contrition over our sin…..a point of despair, hopelessness, emptiness……to which the Gospel brings a turning point and relief. And Lutherans are taught that it does……we don’t need to feel it, or we’re not supposed to feel it, so we don’t feel it. The Word does its work without our feelings getting involved.

    So that despair and hopelessness over sin which even undepressed people have (but don’t feel), or are supposed to have, in my view is an entirely different despair and hopelessness than what the depressed individual has surging through his being.

    The theology of the Cross is for everyone, including, but not especially for depressed, “melancholic” persons.

    I would encourage you to cease lamenting your supposed lack of faith. The life preserver is yours, and you say its image keeps you afloat. The life preserver of Faith in Christ is the most anyone can cling to…..there is no more to have in this earthly life. Why in the world do you believe you are lacking in faith? Faith originates in God, not in you.

    Pray for grace to rejoice in your infirmity. It can be used to bring help and healing to others. Pray to be used in such a way.

    Thank you for this blog, “I Trust When Dark My Road”. And what a fitting motto for a depressive/melancholic. Is there irony there in that motto? Maybe. Naturally, our instinct would be not to trust when we’re on a dark road. So letting go and trusting while on a dark road goes against reason and instinct.

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