Depression and worry are often justified.
It is certainly well understood by all that life is often besieged by worry and despair. The Bible says quite emphatically that man is born to trouble as the sparks of a fire naturally fly upward. Is it any wonder that people worry about difficulties that often befall them? I will unashamedly admit that I am concerned about certain spheres of my life. I feel that such is natural for any human being.
But, shall we take a closer look at a very logical conclusion that will surely appear if we give the matter more than just a cursory glance? I have been told, more times than I can say, that I should be thankful for every thing that I have been blessed to have. Of course, with that I do not disagree. Have been told that if I have been worried or depressed about any particular life issue, I should always keep in mind that things could be worse than they are. Whenever I hear such admonitions I am reminded of the two men who met and began to share their personal difficulties. One man lamented that since he had no shoes his feet were lacerated by the sharp stones along the road. The other man, being most sympathetic, said, I can see how that would be a difficult and painful experience. But, you see sir, I can only dream of having your problem, for I have no feet. So, we will all agree that things could always be much worse.
However, I have come to the conclusion that such advice, or whatsoever admonishment may accompany it, is entirely missing the point. To correct a poor family living in the Appalachian Mountains (one of the poorest reagins in the country) as though they were being ungrateful for whatever they did have, and comparing them to a family in India that had much less, is to compare apples to oranges. I completely understand that the family in India may be existing under considerably greater hardships than our family in the mountains, but those are their hardships, and I have no doubt that they often worry and despair over them. Am I to believe that only people in more developed countries have a monopoly on worry and despair?
A family in Africa may live in a mud hut, but if the roof of that hut begins to leak, they must repair it. Ironically, although they may be seen as having much less than our family in Appalachia, their leaking hut is a problem they will find much easier to fix than if a similar problem existed in Appalachia. Simply put, one roof is easier to fix and much less expensive. One may cost nothing at all except the labor to do the job.
And, since we have been dicussing repair jobs, take an average family on any average street. If their water heater needs to be replaced, that will entail a considerable expense. I know, because it happened to me. As I write this, we have not been able to take even a warm shower in five months. Some would say that having to take cold showers is no big deal. I’m sure that’s true until you have to do it in the teeth of a freezing winter. You see, we are trying to fix the problem but a lack of money is the issue. It always has been. And, until my ship arrives, it always will be.
And so it is with many people in as many cities you can name. They face problems day after day for which solutions are hard to find. Should they just take it in stride that their only means of getting to work has just broken down? Should they laugh off the fact that they are behind three house notes, and that, through no fault of their own? Should they say, Oh well, when they have to send their children to bed hungry? If you could see the particular difficulties that families and individuals have to bear, you should understand that worry, depression, and even despair are conditions of mind and emotions justly felt.
There are times when depression and a level of despair over life’s difficulties are more than warranted. To be told by a doctor that you have cancer is no cause for celebration. Most people, upon hearing such news, are struck with a body numbing wave of fear. Should they be told to lighten up, because some are sicker than they? Such an admonishment would be completely absurd.
Finally, the upshot of our argument is that our own lives are microcosms, self-contained universes where things happen that affect only us, and which require our serious consideration. As I have said, these predicaments are ours alone, and it is not to be expected that others will come to our rescue. We must confront and deal with these tribulations. If our home needs repairs, then we are solely responsible for solving those issues. As far as I know, no one has a fairy godmother that can wave her magic wand and make all things new. Until such otherworldly assistance is discovered, each man will ponder over his own problems and have good and just reason to worry on whether he may find a solution or not. In many cases, it is perfectly understandable if he justly despaired, as it is true of us all.