Monday, September 23, 2013

The Other Side of the Mountain

My recent post about depression stirred up a number of responses in folks.  Like most bloggers I have folks leave comments here on the site, and others comment on the links I post on FaceBook.  Since I'm a rather public blogger, that is since I also have a public role as the lead minister of a church, people come up to me on a Sunday morning, or at some point mid-week, to tell me what they think of what I've written.

And there are all sorts of reactions to a post like that.  Some call it "brave."  Others say, "TMI."  The vast majority of reactions I got to this one were positive -- it's amazing how many people suffer silently and who are grateful whenever anyone helps them to remember that they're not alone.  There were also, not surprisingly, a few voices who thought that such revelations about my struggles are not appropriate for someone in my public role.  These folks would like to be able to look up to their minister in the pulpit and see someone who's got it all pretty much together.  (Or, at least, perhaps more together than they do!)

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his address to the graduating class of Harvard Divinity School of 1838, said that the preacher's calling is to give people "life pass through the fire of thought."  (I've always maintained that it's also to offer "thought passed through the fire of life," but that's probably a post for another time.)  I can also remember a preacher at a friend's ordination saying that a traditional term for our profession is "parson," and that etymologically what this means is that we are called to be "persons."  Professional persons.  To live our life fully and authentically.  And when I put these two ideas together I feel that that has to include those "too dark" or "too much light" experiences like the one of the other day.

Still, that's not the only reality.  Not for me; not for anyone.  As the Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh says, "life is full of suffering, but to suffer is not enough."  And, so, today I offer this other message:

Pax tecum,

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1 comment:

Dave Dawson said...

I have to admit when I read your post I thought " this a good idea?" But as I reflect back on life, many of us have "cracks" that need the healing love of community. Didn't Henri Nouen (sp?) say something similar in his book "The Wounded Healer?"