God, Take My Depression — Please!

I am, or so competent authorities inform me, a chronic depressive.

I hope I can say that without being mistaken for a guest on some daytime talk show. No one should read this as a sob story because, really, even my worst spells aren’t that bad. I don’t have Churchill’s Black Dog, or whatever Lincoln called his dips into the abyss. I’ve never taken medication, never attempted suicide, never been hospitalized, and — God knows — have never lost my appetite.

No, my type of depression consists mainly in leaping to the gloomiest possible conclusion in any situation, whether objectively good or objectively bad. Actually, “leaping” is a terribly chosen word; it implies a dash I lack. It would be fairer to say I roll over onto these ideas. If, while camping, you’ve ever rolled over onto a rock or a packed mound of earth that pressed into your ribs even through your sleeping bag, you’ve got the general idea. Imagine spending the night in that position — either because you can’t find the resolve to roll back, or because you’re sure rolling back will bring you into into contact with a scorpion nest. Now we’re on the same page.

For a more concrete example, let’s say I’ve written something that’s gone modestly viral. I will immediately think, “Well, that’s my last good idea used up.” If the tone of the successful piece happens to be light and playful, I’ll conclude that from now on I’ll be pegged as a fluff merchant. Some day, I’ll end up at a conference of Catholic writers, where I’ll be introduced to some heavyweight like George Weigel, who will say something dismissive, which will make me fluster and throw a punch, which he’ll slip and counter. John Allen, Jr. will write about it.

If it happens to be serious, I’ll imagine myself pigeonholed into writing nothing but polemics, which will bring me into a professional and social circle made up exclusively of polemicists. I won’t end up in any brawls, but everyone will make terrible company. We’ll have no choice but to hang around together, because no one else will want to hang around us.

I bother to bring this up now because of some advice Elizabeth offers in today’s First Things column: She exhorts Catholics to “…take some of one’s suffering and—rather than popping a pill—endure it for a bit; live with it and in it, and do something with it; make it worthwhile instead of meaningless.”

In all seriousness, this is a terrific idea. It reads like a solution to a spiritual energy crisis, a practical use for some abundant, easily overlooked natural resource — solar power for the soul, if you will. The problem is, to a high-functioning depressive, depression doesn’t look like suffering. It looks like a personality trait, or at worst, like one of those slightly-behind-the-curve spots into which accidents of birth plant everyone. Offering up a depressive reaction of the type I describe above would feel just about as whiny and self-dramatizing as offering up one’s hopelessness at long division.

There is, I think, among social conservatives, a general uneasiness regarding the use of clinical language to describe any personality quirk less grave than a persistent and earnest claim to be Napoleon. Unlike Michael Savage, few commentators would go so far as to predict that diagnoses of autism would drop by 99% if only more fathers invoked the Yiddish word for penis. Nevertheless, I contend their thinking follows that general drift: to speak clinically is to absolve morally. Or, as the catty mob wife in Goodfellas observed, “Depressed? Jeannie’s drunk! The woman spends her life in a nightgown!”

I am not expert enough on the subject to have formed an intelligent opinion. But where my own moods are concerned, my gut pulls me toward a vague sympathy with Signora Carbone (I think her name was), if not with Savage. Ihe fact that none of my depressive moods took me down before I became Catholic suggests none of them are worth offering now that I am Catholic. The idea of everyone’s joining his or her suffering to Christ sounds like a kind of potluck, and I’d prefer to show up with something more substantial than a small bag of Doritos.

On the other hand, it happens to be all I have at the moment. It certainly wouldn’t do to be stingy. To wait until I’d come down with leprosy would involve the same kind of grandiosity that made that nutty monk in Da Vinci Code wear his cilice about five notches too right. No, I might as well offer up what I’ve got. And feel silly over it. And offer that up, too.

Sometimes God hands you a cup, sometimes he hands you a shot glass.

– Max Lindenman

  • http://www.manofthewest2000.blogspot.com/ Matt

    Max,

    Perhaps you’ll be a bit uplifted to hear that almost nobody regards George Weigel as a heavyweight. I think you could trounce him with one hand tied behind your back.

    In fact, would you please?

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Japan-Nuclear-Earthquake-Banker-Conspiracy/171288189588928 Mohammed

    Eat well, sleep well. You’ll be fine. And remember, the Illuminati is committing indescriminate global genocide, so don’t sweat the small stuff.

  • http://anchoress maria

    Max you are my elixir for melancholy!

  • Annie

    This, I thought, was a brilliant assessment:

    “It reads like a solution to a spiritual energy crisis, a practical use for some abundant, easily overlooked natural resource — solar power for the soul, if you will.”

    Ok, this may sound simplistic, but I wonder if you keep a gratitude book? I got one a few years back but didn’t really use it because I just chalk everything up (for which I am grateful) in my mind and I have a never-ending list that just goes on and on. And just recently I heard that grateful ppl are happier ppl.

    This is some of the stuff that recently happened for which I’m grateful:

    • long distance phone calling reinstated in my office (after being out since Monday)
    • found a great dentist
    • hard drive arrived today!
    • finished a schoolwork chore today so l have time to watch an old Xena episode tonite while I drink a beer
    • a colleague who I thought didn’t like me wants to get together with me in her free time
    • found a whole pile of baby clothing set out for the garbage a few days ago and I know 3 women expecting their first ever babies in June! Have to wash it all before I can give it away but it will be fun to divvy it up and give it to the new Moms.
    • took lots of photos of deer the other day and they turned out beautiful!
    • can keep my office laptop till the end of the month even though my contract ends earlier (and I’ll be unemployed)
    • found a dozen roses on Mother’s day complete with vase thrown on the top of a dumpster. Kept 4 that are very pretty in my apt and gave away the rest to one of the new Mom’s and a shut-in neighbor.
    • found some very cool things at the Goodwill today…
    • Bought a pile of shrimp and a bagged salad on sale today and they were yummy!
    • didn’t rain
    • Someone I really care about arrived safely back from England and we’ll talk soon…(anticipation)
    • found some interestingly textured pieces of wood and stuff from trees that I’m going to throw on a scanner to incorporate in my artwork
    •etc, etc…

    Anyway, maybe you’ve tried this. I do hope you are grateful for your gift of writing and don’t ever think “Well, that’s my last good idea used up.” because that’s simply untrue. Creativity flows and the more creative work you do, the more it will keep flowing out of you.

    Take care and I hope you find some ways toward a warm, soft and cushy “campsite” that leaves you waking up to the rays of sun and marveling at all the life and beauty teeming around you.

  • Max Lindenman

    Thanks, Annie. That sounds simple, but not simplistic. There is a difference.

    Maybe I shouldn’t go here, but when you mentioned Xena, I thought you might be an old girlfriend. But, she doesn’t drink beer or cook, so I’m assuming you’re not.

    Max’s gratitude book, entry # 1: Awkward reunion averted.

  • Gia

    Max, what you describe sounds like the typical artist’s malady: melancholy. It’s a wonderful but painful gift. Yes, do offer it up. That’s what an artist with faith is called to do!

  • Katie

    Dear Max – you have such a self-deprecating sense of humor, even in confessing something as serious and personal as depression. I suspect that your style doesn’t appeal to everyone (who realistically could?). I will admit (in public, no less) that your writing is something I can very much relate to, both this topic, and in general!
    I’m quite impressed! Thank you for sharing with us!

  • Max Lindenman

    “Melancholy” — I like the sound of that. It makes me picture some guy in an Erroll Flynn-style ruffled shrts holding a quill as he gazes by candlelight into the miniature portrait of some Olivia Dehaviland look-alike. As offerings go, that’s straight out of the Sharper Image catalogue.

    Thanks, Gia.

  • zmama

    On this theme Max-please keep a friend of mine in your prayers the next couple days. He suffered with bouts of depression for years and despite an outwardly happy appearance and a wife and children he dearly loved, he chose to take his own life this past weekend.

  • Max Lindenman

    Wow. Will definitely do. Wow.

  • http://fineoldfamly.blogspot.com Sally Thomas

    What I always think is that it’s better to show up with the Doritos than not to come to the party.

  • AMO

    “The problem is, to a high-functioning depressive, depression doesn’t look like suffering. It looks like a personality trait… Offering up a depressive reaction… would feel just about as whiny and self-dramatizing as offering up one’s hopelessness at long division.”

    EXACTLY. You’ve just encapsulated what I’ve been unable to articulate to my friends, family, coworkers, psychiatrists, and confessors for years.

    Thank you.

  • Pete

    PLEASE tell me you’ve consulted a psychiatrist about this. Have you tried a course of medication? I feared being “on pills” for years but finally caved. I now feel the full range of emotions – from very happy to very sad, at appropriate moments. But no more crippling depression.

  • kenneth

    As Zmama’s situation highlights, depression is nothing to be trifled with. It is not a quirky but endearing personality trait. To ignore effective treatment for a treatable disease and then “offer it up” is senseless and can easily become self-indulgent. If someone with an infected foot wound allowed themselves to become septic and die or become an amputee as a road to the “grace” of suffering, we would call them a damn fool.

    Yet for some reason, we think “sucking it up” with depression or bipolar disorder is a noble thing. Even when it doesn’t end in the tragedy of suicide, it invariably damages quality of life for oneself and all those around them. They end up “offering up” ie saddling others with their misery. Medication isn’t always the answer of course, but it often is part of the answer.

    There’s enough real and unavoidable suffering in the world to offer it up. We don’t need to manufacture (or let stand) needless suffering for that purpose.

  • http://aconservativelesbian.com Cynthia Yockey, A Conservative Lesbian

    Max, please see a sleep specialist to rule out sleep disorders, which can cause depression. Also, please have your thyroid hormone levels checked–or at least your thyroid-stimulating hormone levels (this one is produced by the pituitary). Hypothyroidism can cause depression.

    And: the experience that leads you to God is bliss. Suffering takes you in the other direction.

  • Kurt

    I probably share some of the tendencies you describe; it can keep me from being as active as it might sometimes, but I’m not usually given to bouts of insomnia. Nevertheless, I wanted to echo Annie’s comments about gratitude. I don’t keep a book, and so I don’t record all of the things I’m grateful for each day, but I always go over a handful of things at night before I go to sleep. Especially in these times of economic hardship, it’s very easy to be grateful for stuff that can seem pretty basic to most people, but I try to always remember that. And I am also always grateful for my dogs who not only make great companions, but who always make me laugh and feel loved and appreciated.

  • Ellen

    Yeah, depression is not a comfortable thing. Mine is only intermittent, however it usually manifests itself right before a big holiday or before I plan a vacation. I snap out out of it pretty quickly. According to my mother, my grandmother was like this. Understanding it makes it easier to bear.

  • Gail F

    Whether your depression is a treatable clinical condition or a personality trait — and only you and a professional working together can tell — you can still “offer it up.” Let’s just say it is a personality trait. So what? Why would that make it less “worthy”? Your depression isn’t good enough for God? Give Him whatever you’ve got!

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Concerning Anchoress’s First Things essay, I must be out of the Catholic mainstream. I’ve never understood the concept of “offering it up.” When Christ came across suffering in his journey, he didn’t tell the sufferrer to just “offer it up.” He healed them.

    If a medical doctor can heal someone’s depression or anxiety, then what is there to be against it? I speak from first hand experience. My mother suffers from depression, anxiety, even mild paranoia. She’s been on medication now for at least 25 years. There is a huge difference between when she falls off and when she’s dilegent in taking her medicine. I have a cousin-in-law who suffers from depression to the point he was suicidal. He’s now on medication, back at work, and handling life relatively well, and not so depressed.

    I’m always taken aghast when people superficialize mental health problems. Mental illness is real and it’s an illness. I don’t know how one distiguishes routine down periods and mental illness. I’m not a psychiatrist. But asking people to “offer it up” is not compassionate.

  • Max Lindenman

    Manny: When Elizabeth proposed offering it up instead of taking a pill, she wasn’t speaking literally, I don’t think — at least not when it comes to problems as severe as the ones you’re describing. She’s just too compassionate and too smart for that.

    For my own part, I found it odd and interesting that offering things up, which makes people stoical in one way, makes them into painstaking chroniclers of their own smal problems in another. But again, I’m speaking of people like me, whose problems really ARE small. No comparison to your relatives is implied.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Max – I didn’t mean to say Anchoress wasn’t compassionate. I know she is. It’s the train of thought she’s on and the greater implications I’m reacting to. I’ve heard the argument of suffering through things. It rings hollow to me. There are scores of books about Irsih poverty stricken childhoods in Ireland where the Church essentially told families to suffer as Christ as a response to their problems. Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes comes to mind. “Offering it up” is a corrollary to suffering through one’s problems. Sure sometimes there are no alternatives. But to me the response should be “let’s solve the problem” or “God, help me endure this,” not “let’s offer it up.” Even on a theological level, does Christ want us or expect us to be crucified like Him? I don’t think so. But who am I to pontificate.

  • Max Lindenman

    You’re a guy who’s making a heck of a lot of sense, that’s who you are.

    Elizabeth alluded to some of the things you mentioned, although she didn’t dwell on them at any length. Without quoting her directly, I believe she said something along the lines that, before Vatican II, people proposed offering it up in contexts where it wasn’t appropriate. Instances of extreme poverty would surely qualify. So, I think, would instances of severe illness, mental or otherwise.

    I’ve read about Legion of Christ seminarians who were denied medical treatment for serious problems; when they reported their symptoms to their superiors, their superiors accused them of malingering. There’s nothing Christian in that. In fact, there’s nothing recognizably sane or human.

    To me, offering things up makes sense when: 1) where everything that can be done to help, has been done; or 2) when the problem is essentially bearable. That’s my commonsensical interpretation, anyway. I’m fairly sure Elizabeth would agree. In fact, i’d bet she could translate it into theologese.

  • Sal

    What Kenneth said.
    Just as we wouldn’t deliberately be unkind or rude to those around us, we should fix whatever makes us a beating to live with, if possible.
    The depressive relative who wouldn’t take pill for that, but took Welbutrin to stop smoking? It was like the ‘good parts’ version of them.

    Um, doesn’t everyone’s Morning Offering include “prayers, works, joys and sufferings”? I thought that was standard.

  • http://runswithangels.wordpress.com/ Jan

    No one is arguing that a treatable illness shouldn’t be treated – mental or physical. Of course people should seek medical treatment – you wouldn’t offer up your un-set broken leg – that’s just dumb. But you would offer up the pain you feel, the difficulties you will endure because you are laid up, the frustrations and all of that.

    It’s no more strange to join one’s sufferings to the suffering of Christ than any of the other things we do. When Jesus suffered and died, He took it all.

    As for depression, most mild to moderate depressions are self-limiting – that is, they come and go and don’t always need medication. In my experience, depression really can’t be cured – that’s pretty rare. Severe depression can be treated fairly well, though.

    I’m not a doctor and I don’t even play one on tv, but it sounds to me like Max is more of a pessimist than a depressive:)

  • Brother Jeff

    I have no expertise in the area but it does seem that the solution to everything these days is medication, Prozac nation, etc. And the number of “personality disorders” listed in the DSM has skyrocketed since the 1960s.

    I think we feel great pressure in American to be “happy” constantly. We feel it’s abnormal not be happy even when there are good reasons to be sad. From the time I’ve spent in Europe, they don’t suffer from that Disney-esque imperative.

  • erica

    you mean i can’t offer up my hopelessness with long division??! what about calculus? i’d recommend “acedia and me” by kathleen norris. great and helpful read.

  • ormom

    Max, I think what you are describing is called dysthymia. It is lifelong, mild (“high functioning”) depression. It is hard to treat and is so much a part of who one is that it is easy to think of it as a character or personality trait. It has it’s cycles of ups and downs that can last for months and even years at a time but it rarely ever results in what most people would call a “clinical” depression.

    Mine began in childhood and when it’s bad it manifests itself in me as lack of energy and motivation and procrastination. When I’m in a good place I can accomplish very good things. It’s very hard on long term relationships and employment since people don’t understand how I can go from high functioning to low. I understand the tendency you describe about being suspicious of and not really able to enjoy “success”. For me, the knowledge of the inevitable let down is always there to cast a pall.

    I second what another person said about reading Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris. It was very helpful for me to recognize my own spiritual sloth. At some point I knew that there was no pill or amount of talk therapy that was ever going to help me as much as getting my spiritual house in order and that has been very true. My sessions with my spiritual director are far more beneficial than counseling ever was. My religion is about the only thing that never leaves me depressed and for which I seem to have plenty of energy.

    Your ability to write about a heavy topic in a humorous way is truly a gift. I loved the reference to a small bag of Doritos. Then I thought of it in reverse. Going to a soup kitchen and being handed a small bag of Doritos to take home because I didn’t have it nearly as bad as the others who got the help of a full meal. I look forward to reading your blog.

  • http://janehartman.com Jane Hartman

    Max, I was a depressive for many years. Artistic melancholy, I think they called it. But through daily Eucharist, it’s turned my mourning into dancing. Praise the Lord out loud for good things and for bad things….say the Psalms out loud….attempt to smile. Rejoice and again I say, rejoice. If Christians can’t be happy, then why would anyone want this Christian stuff? Through counting my blessings and praising the Lord in my heart always, my Lord has turned this melancholy (which is still there) into a total blessing. Also, as depressives, we have nearly 300 negative thoughts daily. We’re addicted to negative thinking. We need to replace those thoughts with thoughts of hope, peace and joy.

  • More Unwanted Advice

    Max, you sound Irish. That sounds like a case of the Irish Melancholy.

    Sometimes having that scriptural thorn in the side is what makes us. Its our personal jewel polisher. Big deal. I like that you are handling it and not getting hung up on it. And, thought habits can be changed. So, why not choose the direction and start catching yourself thinking always down the gloomy alleyway and then start changing directions? It is work, though, you might not want to do that if you also have what I have, that trait toward sloth. ;D

    A friend took her family off all grains. She has 2 autistic kids. In 4 weeks her own lifelong depression was gone and has not come back, DESPITE having 2 of 5 kids with special needs and homeschooling. They’d have to talk me down off the ledge if that were my life.

    Offer it up.

    Deal with it.

    Don’t deal with it.

    Its all your choice.

    But if you ever do get really down, please reach out to all of us and I’m sure all your newly devoted fans and commentors will be happy to support you, lend advice, and pray you through it. Just remember not to do depression alone. Bother us with it. Please. We want you to.

  • Jan

    I’m I the only one who really does not like Kathleen Norris?

    Incidentally, antidepressants don’t make you “feel happy” – that’s a myth and it’s kind of demeaning.

    What antidepressants do is normalize your mood so that happy is happy and sad is sad and everything in-between is felt appropriately. And they aren’t appropriate for situational depression, such as a death of someone close to you or other things that happen that make you blue.

  • Diane

    I suffer and I mean suffer, from clinical depression and panic “disorder”. Even with medication, some days are almost unbearable. Yes, I offer it up, I pray, I try to unite my sufferings with those of Our Lord, especially in the Garden. In many cases medication is necessary just to go about one’s life. We even have a saint, St. Dymphna, to pray to. We even have a prayer group. May God hear the prayers of all who cry out to Him in their most desperate moments.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    From Max in #22:
    “Elizabeth alluded to some of the things you mentioned, although she didn’t dwell on them at any length. Without quoting her directly, I believe she said something along the lines that, before Vatican II, people proposed offering it up in contexts where it wasn’t appropriate. Instances of extreme poverty would surely qualify. So, I think, would instances of severe illness, mental or otherwise.”

    -Ok, got it. But people who do have mental illeness rationalize it away, and I can see the “offering it up” as another rationalization.

    Jan is absolutely right in #30. They do not make you happy. They make you normal.

    Jan in #24:
    “It’s no more strange to join one’s sufferings to the suffering of Christ than any of the other things we do. When Jesus suffered and died, He took it all.”

    I guess that’s the theological argument. However I fail to see where biblically it says we should suffer along with Christ. His suffering was for our atonement. What is our suffering supposed to do?

  • Jan

    Manny – don’t’cha know by now that Catholics have extra-bibliar activities?

    The bible says that lots of things happened that “aren’t written here,” so we rely on sacred Tradition as well. But that puts us in the territory of those people who know what they are talking about, so I’ll stop.

  • Jenny

    Manny,

    The biblical argument comes from Colossians 1:24. Paul says:

    I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.

  • http://www.amazingcatechists.com Lisa Mladinich

    Hi Max,

    I just wanted to add to this very interesting discussion that St. Therese of Lisieux, a great Doctor of the Church, tenderly offered every single little moment of suffering to Jesus. She called them “caresses.” I think we can offer it all, joys and sorrows, since our lives belong to Him.

    Of course you should seek treatment for any illness, that goes without saying. We are not meant to seek out suffering.

    But along the way, uniting our inevitable sufferings with those of Christ is an acknowledgement that by His cross He made suffering redemptive. And it’s even more than that. He invites us to participate in the saving of souls by offering our own crosses and carrying them in a spirit of trust. When we unite ours to His, He magnifies the value of our tiny offerings and makes great good come of them. He loves it when we trust Him to make our littleness matter in the big scheme of things. And knowing that we are loved brings joy.

    I hope I’m being clear. If Therese was right, we should never fear suffering nor hesitate to offer it up!

    In Christ,
    Lisa

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Jan, Jenny, Lisa – Thanks. I’ll accept it. As long as it doesn’t get extreme, dysfunctional, or masochistic it becomes a means of bringing some closer to Christ. 2 Cor 4 might also be suggestive of suffering to bring us to Christ. But I can’t find anything in the Gospels or out of Jesus’s mouth that would suggest it. For me the Eucharest is enough to bring me to Christ. Pain just puts me in an uncharitable mood. ;)

  • zmama

    Just back from our friend’s viewing. Going back in the AM for the funeral. One of the longest lines I have ever been in for a viewing. No note-no explanation-but something put him over the edge. Thanks for your prayers Max. His family really needs them right now.

  • ormom

    Manny,
    It is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke that Jesus said if anyone is to be His follower they must take up their cross daily and follow Him.

  • Beth

    Ormom, I believe Jesus was talking there about being persecuted for the sake of the gospel, as was St. Paul when he spoke the words quoted above from Colossians.
    I’m with Manny, I see nothing in Scripture to support joining our sufferings to Christ’s. I’d rather cast my cares upon Him because He cares for me ( as another passage says). And as Manny pointed out, Jesus was always relieving people’s suffering by healing them. Not once did He tell a person to “offer it up”. I think that whole concept is unbiblical and depressing.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Thank you Beth. I’m glad someone agrees with me. Sometimes it feels lonely thinking like an individual. ;)

  • Beth

    Here’s another reference to suffering from Romans 5:3-5: “Suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And that hope does not disappoint.”
    I find this very meaningful and encouraging during difficult times.

  • Jan

    Sometimes it feels lonely thinking like an individual

    Manny – I hope you’re not saying that people who subscribe to a particular set of beliefs are sheep? That we don’t think freely as individuals? That’s not very charitable:(

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Jan – No, no, you’re not sheep. I had a wink smilely attached to that line. It was only a little tongue in cheek statement. I can’t keep track on how people’s opinions follow church positions, but it does sometimes feel that some never have a differing opinion to the church. If you look around at some of my comments across various subjects, I am quite open about when I differ. Sometimes it feels like I’m an apostate or something. ;) But don’t anyone get me wrong; I do love the Catholic Church and this glorious religion I have faith in.

  • Jan

    I understand.

    FTR – although I’m extremely private about it – there ARE things in the Church that I have a lot of trouble with, so I get where you are coming from. Offering up just isn’t one of them:)

  • Jenny

    Manny,

    I agree that people can get weird about ‘offering it up,’ but when used in a healthy manner, it can grant consolations in a situation that otherwise sucks.

    The easiest example in my mind is a pregnant woman. At some point that baby is coming out. There are a myriad of ways to accomplish this task, but none of them are pain free and comfortable. Offering up the pain of labor unites this unavoidable suffering to Christ and, for some, makes it easier to bear.

  • ormom

    When Jesus tells us that we must be like Him, I think that means suffering with grace those difficult things that come into our life. We are to pick up whatever cross we have to face each day and carry it, with love and without complaint if possible. Sometimes that is the only thing that gets me through and brings any tolerable meaning to the painful things in life.

    I have arthritis in my knees and I live in a house with lots of stairs. I can’t do anything to change either circumstance so every time my knees scream out, which is often, I turn my mind to what Jesus suffered for me as he carried his cross and fell on his knees and how He suffered. It gives me the strength to face the stairs without crying or feeling sorry for myself or even letting others around me know how much I hurt. But most importantly, it gives me an opportunity to remember Jesus many times throughout the day and I am actually grateful for that.


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