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  • Godwin Cotter

I've never really experienced servere depression. If trouble is on the horizon I merely cryogenically freeze my emotions and when the danger is past, I resuscitate them. Sad to say, if you do that too many times and they don't really work all that well. Emotions are funny; you're supposed to cry at funerals and weddings and laugh at the boss's jokes but not your own. Fake smiles I can do, but not the waterworks or laughter. Sometimes I feel a bit like the space alien in Men in Black, trying desparately to put on a show of authentic human emotion. But enough about me, it can get depressing.

In today's blog posting, a main character, Adam, finds that his get-up-and-go has got up and left. His life is stalled out like a becalmed sailboat on a sea of glass, not a puff of air in the sky. Life can do that to you sometimes. In the Bible, wind and air currents are often invocative of the Holy Spirit. But there doesn't seem to be a wind in Adam's life at this juncture, no inner life, no motivation, nothing to fill the sails.

This phenomenon where we are profoundly disconnected and distanced from our very selves as well as God, happens to both the sinner and saint, but in different ways. Mother Teresa, for example told her spiritual director: "I am told God lives in me — and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul." In 1 Kings 19:4, Elijah parks himself under a broom tree and asks God to take his life. Jonah does the same a under a plant that grew up one day and withered the next. Hagar sits down in the desert and waits for God to take both her son's life and hers as well.

For the wicked it's a different manifestation. Biblical villains like Ahaziah in 2 Kings 1 and Antiochus Epiphanes in 2 Maccabees 9 take to bed to complete their despairing death watch. One wonders why some people eventually walk out of the valley of despair and depression while others die there. It seems to hinge on an apparently arbitrary decision of God to answer a prayer that was made or perhaps even a prayer that should have been made. In Isaiah 28, Hezekiah, a mediocre king, receives a notice of impending death from God's prophet. He pleads with God for life and surprisingly is given an additional 15 years.

In this week's page of the Repentance comic, Adam decides to go and talk to a priest. His life has entered a motivational dead zone. He's not interested in confession of his sins, he is still only vaguely aware o them. Adam wants merely to talk to a safe human being who will listen to his troubles and keep things confidential. But that will prove to be the crack in the armor that lets God in. Thank God that He does that, He finds a way into our lives when our force fields are still largely operational. Sure there is going to be a crash, but when it is all said and done, maybe we won't have spend all our energy faking authentic human emotion. God will make us anew.

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