Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows

Spring is in the air!! Flowers, rain, the birds, the bees, all that jazz. On days like this it makes you feel new, fresh, clean! A song that came to my mind thinking about it is this (If you don’t know it, watch it!  If you know it, WATCH IT!):

Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows

CATCHY! Come away from watching that and it’s going to be stuck in your head. If it’s not, we’re doubting the existence of your brain.

Yet, on days like this, there is something that continues to come to mind. Coming out of winter should mean a renewed vigor for life and love. So why do so many of us struggle with irrepressible depression?

I know. I said it. The ‘D’ word. In a world where ADHD, mono, AIDS and cancer are openly discussed, there is one disease that is the shame of our society. The one sickness that nobody wants to talk about. Depression.

The hardest part about depression is that it’s not an ailment of the body – it’s a sickness of the mind. Most people who struggle with depression are perfectly fine physically. But their mind, their psyche, their spirit, the very essence of their being is ill. And nobody wants to talk about it.

So I will.

Believe me, this is not a judgy “how dare you be depressed” kind of discussion. I understand these people I’m talking about, because I have struggled with severe depression for several years.

I don’t know that I’ve ever really talked to anyone about it. I understand the shame that comes along with it. What will people think of me? How can they understand what it’s like? Won’t everyone see me as a horrible person for feeling this way?

Depression is a prison more than any cell ever could be. Your body can be broken. But as long as your mind remains intact you are free! So when the very thought of living makes you want to cry, there is nothing left.

I would lay in bed and not even have the strength to pretend to care. Things needed done! There was life to be lived, people to meet, school to finish, pets to feed, family to be with. Yet my only thought was….nothing. There was nothing left in the horrifically empty existence of me.

I had no one to turn to, to tell how I felt. No boyfriend. No really close friends. I’ve gotten out of touch with my best friends since moving, and haven’t made any solid ones here. I have friends – the kind you go to the movies with, or laugh over stupid jokes. But not the kind you can sit down and pour your heart and soul out to.

Lost. Broken. Alone. Hovering in the pathetic no-mans-land of existing physically, but being (in essence) dead.

Is there hope once you have become entangled in this so-called life? Is there a way to pull out of the lethargy and stupor? Is there passion to be found?

In truth, depression is the biggest lie of all. A way of thinking, of feeling, that promotes self degradation and hatred. Saying that we aren’t worth anything, that nobody loves us.

Having these thoughts and feelings isn’t the problem! It’s what we do with them. Do we allow these ideas to consume us? Do we promote them, encourage them, allow them to fester and feed off our discontent? Dwelling on these thoughts creates a monster of oxymoronic proportions.

This is a world where the victim believes they are worth nothing, yet spends all their time focused on self. Not a wholesome focus, but attention nonetheless.

There are ‘cures’ for depression in this age of modern convenience and medicine. But is the answer to our problem really a pill that makes many people suicidal?? How is that the fix for depression?

What if – and just bear with me here a second – what if we stopped paying tribute to our thoughts of depression and suicide? What if we recognized our tendencies towards self, and began to focus on others? Serving people in more need than ourselves, volunteering in every way possible. Giving ourselves over, but not to death. Over to the pursuit of helping others find hope and life.

What if we broke out of the lie that says we’re alone? That says we’re unloved? What if we just talked to someone – confessed our deepest shame. What if we ignored the impulse to isolate ourselves, to give up, to pull away. Isn’t this prison really of our own making? So let’s be the ones to tear it down!  Find someone, anyone, and talk to them!  Commit to talking to them even, no, especially when you are depressed.  If you don’t have a friend or family member who is there for you now, then go out and find one!  Be the one to end the vicious cycle of loathing, and re-enter a world of living.

I went to my mom recently and told her about the depression that was weighing me down. Stress over the ACT, college applications, work, school, relationships, life in general! The first thing she offered to do was pray with me.  And after that prayer I was filled with a renewed hope, a renewed vigor and passion for life.

I am a Christian and have found my salvation in Christ since I was four years old, but this does not make me impervious to the tendencies of my Flesh!! The only question is – will I be mastered by my Flesh? Or will I take control over it?

The scripture I always turn to, and that brings me the most hope, is Psalm 13.

How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;

my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord,

for He has been good to me.

We are alive.  And we are here for a purpose.  Will we be beaten down?  Or will we rise up in the strength God has offered us so freely?

Advertisements

The One About The Hunger Games

May the odds be ever in your favor.

If you are one of the millions hooked on The Hunger Games, just reading that simple phrase will send shivers down your spine.  Anticipation, fear, excitement, horror, romance, and terror, all wrapped up in one.  But why?  What is the craze all about?

I have been asked multiple times why anyone would want to read a book or watch a movie that features kids killing other kids.  It got me to thinking.  Why does everyone love this concept so much?  And more importantly, why do I love it so much?

In order to answer this question, we may have to go back to the beginning.  Not the very beginning…I wasn’t there then.  No, we must return to the fateful night that I first set eyes on Katniss Everdeen.  Mom and Sierra were at a photography class, and I was in charge of the young ones.  After putting everyone to bed I decided to start reading a book we’d just gotten.  I probably wouldn’t have even heard about this book until after the movie came out, except for (duh, na, na!) FATE.  A friend of ours was hosting a book club and had invited us to attend.  The title of the book: The Hunger Games.

Nine o’clock at night I began.  “When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold“. Captured by the characters, enraptured with the writing, there was no turning back.  Mom and Sierra got home, hugged me, went to bed.  I remained on the couch, reading furiously.

Three o’clock in the morning (six hours later), four words remained.  “END OF BOOK ONE“. In a daze I wandered to bed.  Images of burnt bread, mockingjays, mutts, and fire floated through my mind.  It was like my brain had been consumed.  All that remained was the hollow remnants of a captivating plot.

In truth, The Hunger Games does not have much literary merit.  I tell people, reading these books is barely one step above watching TV.  So how do I (someone who is in love with authors such as  Dickens, Twain, Austen, Stowe, and Alcott) find such great pleasure in the writings of Suzanne Collins?

Perhaps her style, if not her content, is what originally drew me in.  Up until that point I had read very few books written in present tense.  If you compare the sentences “I looked into his icy blue eyes” and “I gaze into his icy blue eyes”, which one do you enjoy more?  Most people do not even realize what tense they’re reading (and a skillful writer will make you forget), but subconsciously, do we notice?

Back to the original question.  How can anyone enjoy a book that features the murder of kids?  Maybe because it’s not that far-fetched. 

Our society already takes great pleasure in “Reality Shows”.  What could be more fun than watching bratty kids with two tons of makeup prance around stage in ruffles and bows?  Or brides that will kill anyone that gets in their way?  Or (for the guys) cops tackle that ever elusive drug dealer?  The one I grew up with was FEAR FACTOR.  What’s not entertaining about watching a girl in a bikini get in a glass coffin filled with tarantulas?  And those guys that have to drink the putrified liquid they squeeze out of cow intestines?  I really liked them.

WE’RE SICK!

If people ever revolted against the government, how far of a stretch would it be for them to throw kids in an arena to kill each other off?  And how far of a stretch for people to enjoy watching it?  Ask yourself, how great do you feel right now?

Returning to the question, I don’t think it’s only the despair and disgust that attracts such a following. As President Snow says in the movie, “Hope, it is the only thing stronger than fear.”

The girls (and even guys) of our generation are constantly bombarded with images of what they should look like, what they should wear, who they should date, and most importantly – how to be important.  “Drive an awesome car, become a movie star, and you too could have a fan club”.  Disney Princesses are the worst.  Cinderella is never noticed until she’s all decked out in jewels and silks.  Sleeping Beauty is Sleeping Beauty (or what Hollywood thinks is beautiful).  I especially love the lyrics in the catchy tune that the women sing in Mulan when they’re getting her ready (read carefully).

Wait and see

When we’re through

Boys will gladly go to war for you

With good fortune and a great hairdo

You’ll bring honor to us all

I love this stanza:

Men want girls with good taste

Calm

Obedient

Who work fast-paced

With good breeding

And a tiny waist

You’ll bring honor to us all

(You know you sang this!  It really is catchy!)

And now to the point that I was making with all this.  In the story, it’s not the super-model with perfect hair that gets the guy and saves the day.  It is an ordinary girl, who is not spectacular at all, and thinks nothing of herself.  Yet she ends up doing amazing things and winning an extraordinary love.  The best part – he loved her before she was made to be beautiful.  The starving, unattractive, harsh, wounded girl is the one that Peeta fell in love with.  Not the Mockingjay.  Not the Girl on Fire.  Just Katniss.

The biggest thing that I was enraptured with was the portrayal of the (very flawed) main character.  She is shown as this selfish person who uses other people to survive.  This appears to be true to a fault.  Do not touch this girl’s loved ones.  Risking her life every day to feed her family.  When Prim is reaped she volunteers, expecting fully to die.  And at the end (spoiler warning!) kills President Coin in return for Coin killing Prim.  I identify largely with Katniss because of this.  The thing that drives her is keeping her loved ones safe.

Several years ago in theater, Isaiah (5 at the time) was supposed to wait in the green room for me to come get him and take him on stage.  Someone else’s mom got him and (instead of bringing him to me) stood in the front hallway talking.  I practically screamed at her when I found my little brother standing with her and a guy I didn’t know in the front of the old CAST building (you know, by the ABC store).  One time a kid was picking on my siblings during Simon Says by making them spin until nauseous, then having them try to jump up and down (all the while laughing maliciously).  It did not bode well for him.  Point being, hurt my family, and I just may hunt you down and shoot you.

Can an ordinary person, who is in no way perfect, still be honorable and heroic?  Is it possible to find a spectacular love, even when you don’t love yourself?  Could people of no consequence rise up and change the injustices they are forced to endure?  Will hope outlive every horror we are subjected to?

Suzanne Collins has captured something very important.  Not just a cool story.  Not just a fun romance.  Not even a great dystopian message.  She has embodied one of the things we all strive for.

Nobody wants to go through life overlooked, unnoticed, blown off as someone not worthy of attention.  We all want to do something.  To make and impact on the world around us.

This is our need to be.

/sīˈkädik/

Because murdering people is frowned upon, a blog is much safer for everyone.

livingtowelcome

One family's journey to live out Luke9:48

sortingthroughmythoughts

Just another WordPress.com site

The Patterbunch

glimpses of Love, laughter, and life through our family

johnryanblack

For Christ

Everett Wickham

God is turning my mess into His message.

Defy Definition

Just another WordPress.com site