What I was going to say…
If you were in service this past Sunday, you are already aware that I was dealing with a pretty severe episode of depression over the weekend that prevented me from being able to teach. This is not the first time I’ve had one of these episodes since I’ve been on staff, but it is the first time that it’s interfered with a Sunday morning, so it was extra difficult to try to communicate about what was happening. Thankfully (and not at all surprisingly), the Leadership Team and many of you responded with incredible grace and compassion toward me, not to mention the encouragement and support that Caroline also received. I don’t have adequate words to describe how grateful I am to be a part of a community that understands these issues, responds in love, and gives me the space and time I need to recover. I’ve been spending lots of time this week making sure I’m doing everything I can to stay healthy be able to keep pastoring our community as well as I’m able to.
I wanted to pass along the teaching that I had prepared just in case anyone was interested. As is often true, it’s one that I needed to hear as much as anyone else, so this may just be self-gratifying more than anything. In reflecting on it, however, it did become apparent that it is important for us as a community to continue celebrating Advent, and not just Christmas. While the world around us begins the season with Black Friday shopping mayhem, peppy music, and bright lights, we begin the season with the lighting of a single candle and a call to wait. This means postponing our desire for quick and easy answers and sitting with life’s difficulties, fully embracing the pain and suffering of the world in an attempt to better understand the meaning of Christ’s arrival. I hope this teaching communicates just that and helps to set the stage for a season of hope and joy.
P.S. As a bonus, I’m attaching a graphic that my friend, Ellen Dhalke, sent me that I’ve found helpful in describing depression to those who haven’t experienced it directly, since it’s not the easiest thing to talk about these experiences. It’s a little funny, but it’s also pretty spot on.
Teaching 2015.11.29 (text)
Teaching 2015.11.29 (Power Point)