Friday, December 9, 2011

Depression, Springsteen & Bethel Live

I always appreciated a woman who was a member of a church my wife pastored.  She would say when she had a bad day she would always come home and listen to some Bruce Springsteen songs.  Once she heard how bad things were in those songs, her day didn’t seem as bad.

While I was driving home from Huntsville one afternoon, I listened to the three Springsteen songs I currently have on my ipod.  I had in mind that lady from April’s church as I listened to Bruce and revisited my ol’ haunts of depression and low self-esteem.  The darkness I experienced wasn’t brought on by The E-Street Band.  The emotional valley I was driving through was simply provided an appropriate soundtrack. 

This emotional and spiritual condition is not rare for me this time of year.  I cannot determine if the depression, though grounded in low self-esteem, is linked to harmful experiences and memories related to this season.  I’ve thought and thought again if Christmas brings this on within me or if it’s related to a change of season or the end of daylight savings time or a vitamin deficiency.  What guts these theories is that I experience this condition other times during the year, as well.

As I drove home that day I sang certain verses and choruses with gusto.

Some guys they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up
And go racin' in the street
Tonight, tonight the strip's just right
I wanna blow 'em all out of their seats
Calling out around the world, we're going racin' in the street
-- “Racing In the Street,” Bruce Springsteen

I remember in years past having no expression or voice for my feelings of frustration in my heart except for . . . song lyrics.  Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece.”

I’ve learned some things over the years in battling the depression.  There is great power and peace I find in worshipping God.  After I listened to Bruce and sang the old lyrics and expressed the old feelings, I switched my ipod to my Bethel Live worship album and sang along with Jenn Johnson on I Found a Love.

When I call on Your name You answer.
 When I fall You are there by my side.
 You delivered me out of darkness.
 Now I stand in the hope of new life.

By grace I'm free.
 You've rescued me. 
All I am is Yours. 
I've found a love greater than life itself. 
I've found a hope stronger and nothing compares. 
I once was lost now I'm alive in You.
-- “I Found a Love”

That car trip was a trip to my past amidst keeping company with an old, bitter companion – depression.  I’m on a new trip right now.  It’s a trip to find out the source of this recurring darkness.  While I visit some partners in prayer and counseling, I know one of my key tools in this work will be worship and declaring things found in lyrics like “By grace I’m free.  You’ve rescued me.  All I am is Yours.”

I thank God for giving me expression through The Boss when I couldn’t say all I wanted to, and I thank God for showing me the life found in surrendered worship.  I believe it will all be all right.

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