Monday, July 28, 2014

Remember...

"The sadness of the past is with me always."
~F. Scott Fitzgerald in a letter to his wife, Zelda, who was chronically hospitalized for mental illness

One of the many blessings/curses of living with a mood disorder is the ability to experience intense emotional states. Sometimes those states are the roller coaster heights of pleasure, desire, anger, agitation, sensuality, and joy. Even for those that experience these highs, the fall always comes and the sufferer endures loneliness, emptiness, sadness, regret, and an overwhelming desire to isolate.
As many as 1 in 4 Americans lives with a diagnosable mental illness at any given time. The people that you meet everyday in line at the grocery store, at your office, in your classroom, that wait on you in restaurants, and even the people sitting across the dinner table may be dealing with a burden far beyond what shows on the surface. 
It doesn't take much effort to be kind.
To say, "Thank you."
To hold open the door.
To call or text that friend who may be struggling.
To pray for those around you who are hurting.
To offer a hand, a hug, a listening ear.
We can never truly know what another person is experiencing, but we can all resolve to make an effort to be present in the lives of other people. Helping others, rather than burdening us, actually serves to help lift our own load.
May we be a blessing in the lives of other people and may we also allow them into our lives so that they might bless us.

Have a great week!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Growth Chart

In the very first post I made this year, I revealed that my focus for 2014 was going to be growth.
I realize I haven't been posting as often as I have in the last four years, but I think the silence has been helpful for me in achieving my goal of growth. I have come to realize that there are some things that are very special to me, and, for the most part, I want to keep these new interests and experiences to myself. In the interest of updating you at the halfway point of the year, I wanted to share a few ways in which I have embraced growth this year in the hope that it will encourage you to do the same.
  • Starting in December 2013, I began scheduling my sermon topics several months in advance. I was skeptical of this practice at first, but I have found that it has been extremely helpful in allowing me to have more variety in my lessons and in helping me have a seed to start with each week.
  • In January, I stepped out of my comfort zone and took an acting class in Memphis. The class was taught by a professional director and was very challenging in multiple ways. I was glad that I had the courage to take the class, and also that I had the courage to admit it wasn't something I wanted to pursue any further.
  • Beginning on my birthday, I started a scheduled plan to read through the Bible in one year. I hope to complete this project by May 25, 2015.
  • I have worked to expand my social interactions both in person and online. I am developing some new friendships and renewing several others.

All and all, the year of growth has been mixed. Some areas of life have improved while others have stayed the same or regressed. Still, on the whole, it has been a good first half to the year.  I am looking forward to what's to come and to growing even more in the months and years ahead.