Broken - Body and Soul

A few months ago, I had a very real, very intense dream. I was in a bank as it was being robbed, a scene not unlike that at the beginning of The Dark Knight. The details elude me how it came to this, but at some point I found myself alive among the dead victims of the heist. I was behind a counter frantically trying to figure out my survival.

My plan: play dead.

I flattened out onto my stomach and tried to breathe as motionlessly as possible. Then I heard their footsteps. I don't know how many there were, but at least one of the robbers stopped at my feet. And I thought to myself that if I were them, I'd put a bullet in every body--just to be certain. Well, their gun was silenced. But the scream in my head was far from it as I felt a bullet pierce my heart.

The scary part wasn't the blackness that enveloped me like a cold, velvet blanket on a warm day. Nor was it the slowing beats of my heart or the air draining from my lungs like a leaky air mattress. I was calm. In a euphoric sort of way. As if I welcomed what was happening to me. As if, I wanted to die.

"WAKE UP!"

That's what I shouted in my head the split second before I shot up in bed. If you didn't know me any better, you might think that I have a preoccupation with death. No wait, that's true. Dreams have a nasty little habit of bringing to the forefront (maybe backdoor in this case) the lingerings of your mind. And what was lingering in mine that night disturbed me deeply, though I shouldn't have been surprised.

photo credit: freedryk via photopin cc
I recently touched on some heavy metal history and brought up an increasingly popular subgenre known as death metal. It's actually my favorite variety. Now I know it was probably a stretch to some my defending the Christian consumption of heavy metal, in general. But I must be crazy to get behind something that dwells on the most morbid of all subjects.

Maybe I am crazy. Or maybe I'm just depressed. And the thought of how meaningless and futile this life is haunts my waking moments. Maybe my subconscious moments are burdened by the knowledge that this world, twisted and stained, is literally hell on earth so long as the accuser is allowed its rule. Maybe I just don't want to be here anymore.

By now, most of us are aware that Rick Warren's son has passed away. As some have aptly put it, he lost the battle to mental illness by committing suicide. I think there's little more tragic than the desperation one must be in to take their own life.

And I can't imagine how respected Christian leaders, people who have the confidence of so many, must feel. I'd hate to think that they feel like they could inspire the world, but couldn't help their own son. No, this heartbroken father and mother are not to blame. However, I fear there will be some who will cast it their way. Because, as we all know, the prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

This is a touchy subject for me as I've dealt with depression and suicidal thoughts nearly half my life. In fact, it was this very issue that I mentioned previously was brought up for public prayer at my home church. And the church just fails miserably when dealing with mental illness. Rebekah Lyons said it well when she wrote regarding Matthew Warren, "Let's not shame mental illness with the judgment of spiritual weakness." And that's exactly what the church does.

But even Jesus said that not all people's illnesses are the result of someone's lack of faith. Sometimes, our bodies are just as fallen as our minds. And for some people, that may manifest itself as low serotonin levels. Some people genuinely need antidepressants. That's ok. It's not an excuse for turning on our spiritual cruise control.

I know I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Jesus. Literally. It's been in the very darkest depravity of my thinking that I've realized there is nothing else to turn to in this life. Everything disappoints. Everything fails. Jesus never does. And I'll continue to serve him with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. My mind just might need some Zoloft along the way.

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