I have often heard it said that depression is is caused by internalized anger. I don’t think it is that simple. I believe that internalized anger is more closely associated with shame (or defeated pride). I don’t disagree that shame is a factor in causing depression, but there are other factors to consider. Chemical disorders, demonic oppression, difficult relationships, financial struggles, dark memories, and various other abuses are all elements that could contribute to a person’s struggle with depression. Many of these factor into my own struggle. Continue reading
I wrote the following poem from the perspective of a dying maple leaf. Several years ago I was driving along Interstate 81 heading toward Roanoke, Virginia. It was autumn and the leaves were absolutely gorgeous. I pulled my car over to the side of the road to enjoy a breathtaking view that overlooked a valley filled with white farmhouses and green pastures. The surrounding trees were brilliantly splotched with every color that autumn could possibly render. As I stood there drinking in the scene, I noticed a maple tree on the side of the ridge beside me. Its head was stretching in the wind. The tree grew out sideways over the valley and as a result it had lost almost all of its leaves. I took special note of one bright yellow leaf that hung on tight, shivering all alone in the wind. That leaf held fast when almost every other leaf had given way, falling hundreds of feet into the valley below. I wrote this poem with that leaf in mind. I cling to life. Just like that little leaf. I hang on with the vain hope that I will live forever, scared to death of the “undiscover’d country, from whose bourn no traveler returns.” Yet, a day will come, sooner than I realize, when the Autumn Daystar (the beloved Savior – Jesus Christ) will call me to let go of that which was never mine. As that day moves closer, I am learning how to die – how to bear the Cross, how to die to myself, how to die to sin, idolatry, selfishness, and anger. I am learning to surrender to the call of Christ’s sacrificial love. I am learning to surrender to the music that will one day sound my departure from this life. Until then, may Christ prepare me for that day, so that I may release my grip with joy and worship, singing “Autumn Daystar, bid me come.”
I’m feeling pretty pensive today. I thought it might be a good day to repost my poem – I Descend into the Beauty. This time, I have included effects and music in the recording. If I had to put a scripture reference underneath this poem it would be “Matthew 16:25 – For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” I am finding that spiritual maturity in the Christian life is gained through learning how to die – dying to selfishness, dying to anger, dying to idolatrous dreams, dying to sin – that we might gain Christ. In the poem, I am the yellow maple leaf, weak with fear, dying to the blows that life delivers. Until I finally release my grip, I cannot know the joy of Christ’s Song nor dance in his arms. How thankful I am that the Autumn Daystar reveals himself to me and pries my fingers away from my idolatrous life.
The music in the background is from the movie Pan’s Labyrinth – which by the way, is also about dying, overcoming fear, and selfless love. It is a beautiful picture of the gospel. But that’s another blog entry. Enjoy.
Click below to hear the poem.
Click “Read the rest of this entry” to read the lyrics to the poem.
Somehow we seem to have lost touch with the fact that we’re dying. I don’t know how this happens. It is the one thing in life that is absolutely guaranteed: we will die. Yet, we tend to live as if our days will last forever. We make money, buy big houses, buy new cars, watch our big screen televisions and whisper to ourselves that death is long way off…that we should eat, drink, and be merry, and pretend that life will continue on forever. That we are able to trick ourselves like this – to blind ourselves to our impending demise – is one of our strangest capacities. For death is all around us. Our friends and loved ones pass away. The evening news is filled with the reality. And if we’re still and quiet, we can feel ourselves getting older…heading toward death. How is it that we are able hide our eyes from this?