Just a few months ago, I wrote about my experience with depression.
Crippling, life-stealing depression.
I wrote how I was choosing to serve God whether or not I ever found healing or relief from depression. How I was choosing to be faithful—or at least trying to be.
I shared my experience of the low, the tough, the vulnerable. And then I was silent, on the blog at least.
So today I want to share a follow up. I want to share a story of healing and joy and gratitude.
I’ve been reluctant to write this post. I don’t want my healing to sound cliché. I don’t want to prescribe a how-to formula for overcoming depression because I know it doesn’t work like that. I don’t want to jinx it.
But somehow I’ve come out on the other side and I can’t help but rejoice. I can’t help but share.
I think of my favorite T.S. Eliot quote, “So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”
Today I am dancing and I don’t quite know why. Like Allie of Hyperbole and a Half bursting into hysteric belly laughs at a lone kernel of corn, it doesn’t make any sense.
For me it started not with a piece of corn, but at the Sea of Galilee, overlooking the waves that Peter once braved.
God spoke to me that day. He declared inner peace over my soul. He declared me healed and free.
I can’t explain how I heard Him or why I believed that I would be free. I just knew He broke something FREE in me that day. Free from bitterness and wallowing and the chains of depression.
I felt the healing work deep in my soul, deep in my bones. So much so that I couldn’t help but dance.
Dance?! On the shore of the Sea of Galilee? Alone. Ear buds in. Eyes closed. Hips swaying and hands raised.
Like a lunatic. Like someone crazy for Jesus and the healing power he brings.
I didn’t feel the healing yet. I hadn’t experienced it yet. But I knew it was time to start dancing over my graves of depression and burnout and disappointment.
Dancing became a sign of faithfulness. A way to declare victory before the war was even over.
I danced in worship. I danced my praise. I danced for the grace and redemption and renewal I hadn’t yet experienced.
Nothing else mattered but setting my heart and my body to praising the God who promised to heal me. To love me. To bind my wounds.
As I danced, I prayed the chains would be broken. I prayed that my freedom would bring freedom to others.
And when the songs were over, my body stilled, I opened my eyes and turned to see a Korean tour group sitting just a few feet behind me, staring at the girl swaying to the music in her earphones, in her head, in her heart.
And I didn’t care. I was being healed. I am being healed.
Since then joy has found a way to creep in. Little bit by little bit. I began to experience joy in my new grad school classes. Joy at caring for the daily needs of a 94-year-old woman with advanced dementia and one heck of witch cackle laugh. Joy in meeting with my favorite girlfriends on earth to chat and pray and cry and laugh together. Joy in just being.
Today I have a lot to delight in– a new boyfriend and a new kitten for starters (!!). It’s taken work, though, don’t get me wrong. I’ve worked hard in counseling, finding the right medication, admitting that I need help. I’ve prayed and prayed. I’ve recommitted to taking care of myself.
But the healing started that day at the Sea of Galilee. When God whispered something to me, calling me to deep inner peace, silencing my striving like Jesus once silenced the very waves that crashed before me. He declared freedom in me that day.
And I danced it. I hope I am dancing it still.