Dad was gone. But even before that, Mom became increasingly more and more despondent. She was less talkative as time passed and seemed to simply shut down to a great extent, receding into her own thoughts. To be honest, she repeatedly expressed that she was tired… and done.
In all fairness to her, she had had many ailments over the years including cancer and Meniere’s disease. She had had many devastating disappointments too as we all do in life. We tried to cheer her. She still managed to rally a smile when the youngest grandbaby visited but soon fell back into her sullenness again. It was not pleasant to be around her. Mom was a Christian but very slowly the joy seeped out of her. You could see it slip away.
However, the older I get the more I understand Mom back then yet how can we ever fully comprehend the depths of another’s depression. She had her reasons for being that way, deep seated reasons that only became apparent to me as I matured myself. Clarity is truly a beautiful gift of aging. Mom was tired of suffering and tired of fighting the battle. She was lonely.
I know many of you can relate to how my mother felt. Perhaps the cancer has returned. Or, it seems the conflict cannot be resolved no matter how hard you try. The money never goes far enough. Our bodies just don’t co-operate as they once did. The world seems to be whirling out of control. And daily life itself is more challenging as we age. It seems we each need a personal secretary just to figure it out, keeping abreast of everything new and the new ways of doing things. It is exhausting and frustrating. Carried to the extreme we may feel we are done having reached our limit.
There is an anguish so great that silence is all there is. Yet, even in this empty void Holy Spirit knows our wordless groans and He goes before the Father on our behalf. There is a darkness so great that even a simple kindness seems an erroneous illusion, surreal. Ahhh but when your soul is refreshed and depression must relinquish its grip you CAN rise in pure joy despite your circumstances!
Elijah was tired too. Running from wicked Queen Jezebel, he prayed…
“I’ve had enough,” he told the Lord. “Take away my life. I’ve got to die
sometime, and it might as well be now.” (1 Kings 19:3-14)
Elijah laid down. In his sleep, an angel visited and told him to get up and eat the meal before him which the Lord had prepared. This happened twice. Then energized he gained the strength to journey on.
It’s so very normal to become tired and despondent at times, Christian or otherwise. Even Jesus often grew weary and went off by himself to rest. He sometimes became angry and frustrated but I don’t think he was ever depressed until in the Garden just before he died.
As seniors we may see a million more reasons now than when we were young to become tired and depressed. Yet there are practical things we can do.
Never take your eyes off Jesus. Keep him your constant focus!
Take it to our Father. Pour your heart out to him. He knows what it is to be weary. He can handle your deepest anger and frustration because he loves you so. When he walked here on earth he was fully human so He fully understands. He invites us to lean on him.
Extra intentional rest can change your perspective. There is nothing more refreshing for the body and the mind. Play some worship music to relax and calm your spirit. Hear the peace and hope in the melodies. Let it wash over you and soothe you.
Pray with friends about how you are feeling. Don’t keep silent. Confide in them and let them speak comfort and peace from the Word over your situation.
Remember His past mercies and blessings upon you and your life. No matter the issue He is still more than able to meet your need. Nothing that is happening is a surprise to him. Nothing is too hard. He can provide just as he did for Elijah, just as he has for you in the past.
Take one small step in trying to change your mindset. Look for beauty around you. Change your routine. Get some sunshine because it feeds your soul. Go outside if you can. I know of a lady who went to sit on her wee front step in early winter with her dog and her walker every day even though she had slipped on the ice and broken her kneecap. She did that until the weather was just too cold but now I see her walking short distances still using her walker with her dog in tow. Even sitting in front of your window at home in the sun in quiet contemplation does more than you can imagine.
Weariness, including spiritual fatigue, is real. Depression is real. Get help, professional if you need it. Growing older is hard. Covid has been hard. There is no doubt about it. Yet, I look forward to seeing my mom again when I get to heaven so I can tell her that even though now I get it, I believe there was The Way through.
“I am The Way, The Truth and The Life…” John 14:6
She lost her focus but she didn’t need to suffer in silence and neither do you.