Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I kill myself! but hopefully not...


Lots of posts about depression lately. It was called "meloncholia" by the scholastic (and previous) philosophers. It's a touchy subject especially when someone prominent makes the last act of self-life-taking. Many seek to find a physiological explanation of it: it's because he/she was sick in the head/body. Some see it as an existential experience: life became overwhelming, and this was their "out". Others take the moralistic stance: you can choose to be happy or sad. Others take the "spiritual" stance: He/she is in a better place, free from pain.
In the end, it's about dealing with all of the circumstances surrounding those and other factors. Of course, the claim may be made that unless someone has been through or in or around depression, then one has no right to talk or comment about it. What a quandry! Are we all bound to wring our hands and wonder "how" "why" or "what could be done?" Is it incumbent upon the commentator to ask him/herself, "Have I actually experienced depression, and thus am I competent to comment on it?"
A strange thing happens when one takes a stance on depression...one may have to demonstrate one's "street creds" in this area in order to garner a "right" to comment on it. See how I've filled this post with "quotation marks" to venture into this arena of discussion?
The fact of the matter is we are all living on a knife's edge between sanity and insanity. We all have issues that can drive us over the edge, or into a life of abundance. In any given moment, I may find myself leaning one way or the other. Much has to do with our formation from birth. Much has to do with the choices we've made in the meantime. A lot has to do with our genetic make-up. It seems undeniable that depression can be a genetic factor in families. yet that cannot explain many who have risen from depressive factors and family history to life success.
I would note that a person who at some point makes the decision to say, "This is it. I 'must' take my own life as an act of..... (fill in the blank)" has made a multiple of decisions before that moment, or may have been forced into various decisions by others, thus depriving such person of the liberty necessary to make a free decision.
In the end, none of us knows the whys, wherefores or whatifs that any other person makes. This is part of the counsel of Christ that we not judge. St. Therese notes that God is just, and this was a great consolation for her, since she knew that God would be mercifully just, and take into account her weaknesses when He judged her.
That being said, in every moment, we are self-judges of our own thoughts, and have sovereignty over how we look at others, and ourselves. Is it a merciful look? a kind look? a just look? have we left someone or some class of persons out of our so-called adult gaze of maturity? I think of the little babies who never get a kind look...who are considered disposable. Decisions we make have consequences. They reverberate, and turn our character in one way or another. Not all paths are just. Not all paths lead to peace. Some lead to severe judgment, and rejection. That's not a judgment on any one person. It's a statement of psychological and emotional fact. If free choice in these matters were not a factor, if choices are not part of the equation, if the consequences of our actions were not a substantive element of later dire choices, then there is no hope for the one who is at the beginning of suffering such experiences.
And let us not forget that the number one factor in leading us to a life of grace and peace is a surrender to the One Who alone can give real peace. This is why the 10th commandment is as important as the 1st.....in that violating it can lead to a violation of the latter.
in the end, of course, we all should give thanks to God that He is, as St. Therese noted so often, a God of Mercy, Who looks upon each of us as His child, for Whom He lived, and died, and rose. And loves us always....despite the choices we make....and perhaps, to spite the choices we have made.

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