I love this poem about depression. Even though it does not seem to be written from a Christian perspective, it is starkly honest and boldly courageous. So many pastors that I know, like me, struggle with depression. It is a killer that steals life, hides hope, and defames Christ. So thankful that the gospel is the lifter of my head, that the love of Christ gives me power over the darkness, and that the hope of heaven tomorrow gives me confidence to embrace today.
“Jesus, lift the heads of those you love. Lift the chin of those who suffer with depression. Lift them out of the miry pit of self loathing, out of the miry clay of despair. Put a new song on their lips. May your presence be like honey on a bitter tongue and like a fount of water in a dry land.”
Today’s post is a poem written by my 15 year old son Camp Melton.
I’m watching her; I can’t will myself to look away from her bright beautiful form. I doubt she notices me, I am so dwarfed by comparison, but it does not matter. Just a few more minutes, I tell myself, and then I will scrape the last amount of dignity I have out of the bowl and I will look away. I feel as if I am feeding off of her radiance. If I look away I believe that I will die. I must look away in order to regain my self-respect. I have to stop worshiping the Moon. I may be a flower, but I am not ordinary. I am a rose. The king of flowers. I can defy the Moon. She is false nourishment. I must get back to my true light. With all the determination I have left, I force my gaze away toward the ground. I did it. I looked away, and I am still breathing. There is no hurt. No death. I remain whole. But then I start to feel it…a burning deep within me, and an intense sense of shame. I have bowed before this idol’s borrowed glory and now I am ashamed. What have I done? Is there nothing that is true? The red within my petals withdraws into the ground. My bloom begins to fade. Death sets in.
Just when these thoughts seem most crushing, I feel the change. The Moon is gone and something has replaced it. The Sun has broken in the morning sky, elegant and majestic. He lights up all the earth and I feel myself being fed and renewed. He notices me and my shame is cast away. He looks at me and I know that I am loved. Once starving, my hunger now is quenched. I know what is true and what I will worship. True light. True warmth. True fire. I am weak, but he is strong. I will falter, but I am forgiven.
I was loved, I am loved, and I will be loved.
Yet, I must drink deeply now, for night will come again.
This morning Danny Stiling, a friend of mine, posted this video on Facebook. I am grateful to him for introducing me to Taylor Mali – a wonderfully, powerful poet. You can check out more of his stuff at www.taylormali.com. In this particular poem, Mali urges us to believe and to speak with a conviction that affirms that belief. I firmly, like, agree with him, I think…you know?
This is a poem written by my daughter – Callie Melton. She calls it “Made to Fly”. Whenever I read it, it makes me think of heaven. My heart yearns to dwell in that place where earth and sky are one, where the curse has been removed, where our doubts no longer master us,…where our faith has become sight and we dwell together with our God in the garden that he has prepared for us.
Click “Read the rest…” to read the poem.
I love the Crispin’s Day Speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V. It gives me so much hope. Several years ago, after once again watching Kenneth Branagh’s version of the play, I memorized Crispin’s Day. Ever since, whenever I get depressed and start losing hope, I imagine Christ giving me this speech, reminding me of the day that is coming, when His Kingdom will reign visibly and gloriously upon the earth. How could I turn back? Just like Peter, I agree that Christ alone has the words of life. Where else could we go?
The setting of the Crispin’s Day Speech finds King Harry and his men in dire straits. In the long journey to meet the French on the fields of Agincourt, just before Harry delivers his address, he overhears his cousin, Westmoreland, wishing that the English army could be fortified with more troops from home. Not only were the English tired, hungry, and depleted from previous battles, but they were now facing a French opponent that outnumbered them 5 to 1. Henry responded to Westmoreland by spurning the idea that they needed more troops. In his address to the men, Henry appealed to his men’s sense of honor and loyalty, declaring that if any man wanted to leave, he would pay them to do so. He would not die in that man’s company that feared the fellowship of dying together with him.
In the same way, Christ also calls us to follow Him, to engage in a battle where the only thing we are promised is the glory and joy of fighting beside our Sovereign King; a King who will never leave us and never forsake us. Just like Henry’s men, may we respond to Jesus’ clarion call – ‘He who wishes to gain his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for the sake of Christ, will most assuredly find it.’
Click below to hear my version of the speech and to read the speech as it is written:
Albert Benjamin Simpson (1843-1919) the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance was a leader of the church during his day. He wrote a beautiful hymn called “Himself” that is absolutely stunning in its clear emphasis upon dependence on Christ. In the sermon that preceded this hymn, Simpson writes…
“(I once thought) that the Lord would take me like the old run-down clock, wind me up, and set me going like a machine. It is not thus at all. I found it was Himself coming in instead and giving me what I needed at the moment. I wanted to have a great stock, so that I could feel rich; a great store laid up for many years, so that I would not be dependent upon Him the next day; but He never gave me such a store.
The Hollow Men by TS Eliot, creates the imagery of a group of scarecrows that huddle together in a barren land. They only move as the wind moves them. They are stuffed with hay and yet they are empty of anything of substance. They can hear the winds of heaven, but only as a fading star. Only Christ, the Multifoliate Rose, the Perpetual Star, whose “eyes” gaze at the Hollow Men from death’s Dream Kingdom, can save these empty men from the cactus land of Idol Worship. Are we the Hollow Men?