Sunday, September 26, 2010
I had a dream the other night. In it I was writing a post about broken bones. And depression. What a strange thing to dream about?!
But I couldn't shake the idea. So here I am, writing a post about broken bones and depression. Because the two have more in common than you may imagine.
Broken bones happen for lots of reasons. An accidental slip, a fall, a crash. Climbing too high and falling too far. Going too fast and hitting a wall. Being attacked, smashed and beaten.
There are big breaks and little breaks. Fractures and compound fractures. Even a small fracture is painful. There is swelling and bruising. It must be splinted, braced and supported to heal quickly and in the right way.
A broken bone left unset will heal eventually, but there will remain a deformity, something twisted, residual pain and loss of function.
Some breaks require more than a simple cast. Some breaks need an Orthopedic Surgeon, a specialist in bones. A person skilled at repairing the broken things and setting the crooked straight again.
Nobody ever looks down on a person with a broken leg for wearing a cast. In fact, if a person with a broken bone refused a cast to help their bones heal, we would think them crazy. We would know that their limb would not heal or function properly without support.
Medication does not heal a depressed person's brain any more than a cast heals a broken limb. But anti-depressants work to help the brain function properly so that the body's natural healing can take place. Just like a cast. No shame in wearing a cast, is there??
Now as I said, some breaks are worse than others.
And some people are more broken than others.
Down deep, where we can't see. Deep inside. Sticks and stones didn't break their bones. Sometimes it was names that hurt them.
Rejection, disappointment, abuse, exhaustion have caused such deep damage, such complex breaks that a simple cast is not enough.
We require a skilled Surgeon. Someone who knows how to set the crooked things straight. How to bring healing at the deepest level, where we are smashed to pieces.
There's a saying that goes, "The Truth Shall Make you Free." It's from the Bible, but they quote it in The Matrix too. Only the deepest Truth can bring the kind of freedom we need at the very core of our brokenness.
I once rode an ambulance with my 18-month daughter.
She climbed too high and fell too far and something inside her little baby arm just broke.
I only had to glance at the caved-in limb, and hear the piercing quality of her cry to know, it was broken.
Not a simple break. One that required a Surgeon to set the bones.
So we waited at the hospital hour after hour. She cried for her daddy, some food or a drink.
She was top of the list, they told me. So she had to remain Nil-by-Mouth, waiting for her turn with the Surgeon.
The waiting was painful. And tedious. It felt as if it would go on forever. A day passed and a night. Still no Surgeon. Emergencies would come in and we would be pushed down on the list again.
Didn't they understand that she was a BABY? That my precious was hungry and tired and sad and broken?
How long would we have to wait???
Another day of waiting and pacing and hungry tears, sips of water and empty reassurances.
We were at the top of the list??? Somehow I thought I could do better than waiting here.
10pm on the second night, I took my baby home. They were taking too long. We can sort this ourselves, I told myself. We have Health Insurance.
As hubby began to telephone around, my horror grew. There was no other help.
Nobody else could do it. We would have to go back.
And start all over again.
Because surely by now, we had been taken off The List.
Then a Miracle. A phone call and the blessed words: "If you come now we can do her straight away..."
Somehow, by some miracle our baby was still on the list.
And we returned, and they operated and set her bones straight.
We need the Expert Healer. We need the True Truth to set us free.
But waiting for that Word, that touch, that Moment when He meets with us can be frustrating and painful and seemingly futile.
How many times did I cry to the ceiling? I can't do this!! I can't fix myself!
"If you're up there," I would shout, sob, whisper, "Help me won't you????"
"Don't you care? Why did you let me get this way? Why did you let this happen to me??"
Silence. Silence from the ceiling. Silence from Heaven.
But one day when I was least expecting it, a thought. A piercing other-worldly thought cut through my gloom, like a laser beam. Cutting to the heart of my brokenness. Truth had found me. And one of the broken places became straight. And the healing began in that part of my heart.
Little by little, over the years this has happened again and again. Penetrating Truth has continued a process of healing.
I cannot and could not heal myself.
Antidepressants could not heal, they could only assist in supporting, like a cast, holding my thoughts in order.
The ground I have taken, the progress I have made has been as a result of staying "on the list" and waiting for The Surgeon. Asking for help. Staying connected with others. Holding on. Not giving up.
I marvel at how far I have come.
Old pain has been surgically removed by Truth. My heart is more free now than ever before. I see myself more clearly. I see my Surgeon more clearly. Truth has been working in me, as I let it.
I have written this with friends in mind. Some beautiful women I know who are broken too. My heart aches for you to be free. I pray you would meet the Surgeon and experience the cutting away of the lies under His gentle scalpel of Truth.
I know there's no magic cure. And it all takes time. But I know know know, that we can never be free or whole without the help of someone Greater. And the more broken we are, the more we need Him. I for one, will always need Him.
I pray and hope my friends that you will let Him in.