Compassion speaks a language all its own,
Often it’s not even vocal,
Our compassion proves God’s on the throne,
Of our hearts – where, there, He is local.
Is there a better sign that God’s Spirit dwells deeply within us than our compassion for others? Where we are slow to judge but quick to see the best in a person, God’s love flows in real and practical ways. Relationships are the winner.
“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.
Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”
— Stephen Fry
Compassion is what underlies the desire and the sacrifice to interact with someone who is depressed, and, though the compassionate do not need a reward, they are rewarded by God by what they give a person who might otherwise struggle to receive. When a person is struggling it isn’t anything intentional that they will receive, just the space to be themselves in the company of another person. If we are that person, we are compassionate.
Some matters of life require no further exploration than their simply being.
When we can coexist with the person who is struggling with a condition as mysterious as depression is – and we can include anxiety in this, also – then there is space afforded. Such space is the affordability of tensions that ordinarily frustrate people. This is why some people cannot let the depression go, accepting it as something that needs to be left, unless the person themselves seeks to explore it with us. Some people find it necessary to ask questions that are clearly none of their business. We need grace in dealing with these people, for they will seek to take from the relationship rather than to give. They exhaust trust.
Supporting someone with depression is about discerning them and allowing them the freedom to be as they are. When we can be with them, allowing such freedom to flow, we find that we are living as if we are them. We are privileged to be considering them as we would consider ourselves.
Supporting someone with depression is about being wholly available to offer them space without enquiry, their opinion without judgment, and the intent of their wishes without being too critical.
Being a friend for the person grieving or depressed is simpler than we might think, but we need to think a little like they might think, talk as if they were hearing, and walk as if in their shoes, holding their hand with acceptance.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.