Fighting the Darkness

I don’t struggle with depression. I know many who do, but that’s just not my constitution. (As Rhett Smith writes, male depression is more common than you might think, and it’s often masked by other, harmful lifestyles.)

For a couple years, around my divorce, I took an anti-depressant. I came off of Wellbutrin over two years ago, and I haven’t felt the need for any medication since.

However, there are times when various aspects of my life collide and collude — both personally and professionally — that lead me feel depression-like symptoms. Today is one of those days.

Of course, my life is good. My kids are healthy, and my marriage is better than I could have imagined that marriage could be. But both personal and professional struggles have — at least this week — gotten me down.

Nevertheless — or, better yet, even in the face of this sadness — I want to take a moment to thank you for reading this blog, for engaging with my ideas, and even for being friends through this strange electronic medium called the blogosphere.

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  • Thank you, Tony, for keeping the gears turning in our heads.

    I know the darkness all too well. In fact, I’m lost in the darkness right now. It’s so dark that I can’t even find God in the darkness. Hopefully the darkness will past for the both of us soon.

  • Tony, thank YOU for writing this blog and being the person you are.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. We need you.

  • Bo

    I pray that you rediscover renewed joy and peace.

  • The Misfit Toy

    Like 6.8 million people before you, you clearly need some validation.

  • I appreciate your frankness, Tony. Too often leaders (esp. In the Church) only display their positive, “happy” aspect, but shield their dark emotions from the public. People have ups and downs no matter what their income, occupation, orientation, or denomination. Thank you for being honest with your readers and showing us even prominent Christian leaders have down days. I hope your day brightens.

  • Courtney Clayton

    There seems to be a lot of darkness looming as of late. Thank YOU Tony for taking the time each day to reach out to each of us. Thank YOU for sharing your heart, your spirit and often your soul with the masses. You touch us in so many ways that you will never know. May peace come your way very soon.

  • thanks Tony.
    Feeling quite similar these days as well.
    Sorry you feel this way, but it is strangely comforting to know we are not alone…i hope.

  • Tony,
    I was caught by the title of this entry. Sorry this is a tough stretch. I know God will renew you – hopefully soon!

  • Maggie Mraz

    Peace be with you, Tony. I pray the darkness clears quickly and light breaks forth. It’s a promise we hold. Peace. Maggie

  • Mike

    Hey Tony, thanks for your transparency and vulnerability. I really love your blogs even though I struggle at times. It’s a great “stretch”, and I love the challenge. Thanks!

  • melinda

    Hey… me too. I get it.
    These days have been doing it.

    Deep breaths and dark beers help. And hoping for thunderstorms.

  • Tanya

    Yes, thanks for what you do.

  • Tony,
    Seek peace in the fact that you are not alone in the darkness…

  • Tony: I have always had some darkness in my life and the worse of it came when I too went through my divorce 7 years ago. I was an Associate pastor at the time in a large UMC and couldn’t even walk into church services (spent time obsessively overseeing parking). You helped me by introducing me to spiritual practices in your book “the Sacred Way”. That began a journey for me that has become very important in my life. I find spending time in centering prayer, walking a labyrinth, doing lectio divinia (lately the Gospel of Thomas with a small group) have really helped me to be more centered and able to face the darkness when it seeks to overwhelm me.

  • Jim Armstrong

    First of all, thank you for your continued offerings and provocations. Also for the continued wrestling and evolution that it represents, the source in large part of the energy and encouragement that flows into your work.

    I read it even though we are on different pages in some meaningful areas precisely because there is a transparent integrity in both what you write, and in the hard personal work behind it, …and so it is helpful to me, even in those times when it helps me articulate internally something on which we differ.

    There is also a resonance with respect to the subject du jour. I’m guessing that the not-so-good days pretty much go with the turf at the intersection of your constitution and the things of importance that you choose to pursue. It was helpful to me – in something akin to what you have voiced – when I realized that if I could somehow surgically remove the offending thing, it would in all probability take with it much of what also feeds the good stuff and the very good days. I still don’t like those encounters, but I can better respect them for what they are, the delicate balance of which they are a part, and at least intellectually, their contribution to tensions and discomforts that result in movement (however tectonic) of spirit, and creativity.

    Rest a few moments, my friend. And breathe. And maybe even stroll over to Rachel Held Evans’ blog to pick up some energy from someone else’s good day. She’s done an interesting identification thing in her most recent post.

    I appreciate and benefit by your voice and your work.

  • Thanks for working through the darkness. I’ve been through depression following a church planting disaster and it’s something that never fully leaves me even though I have learned far better how to handle it over the years. Thanks for always making me think through me faith: when I think you might be right, when I think you’re wrong, and when I’m sure you’re wrong. 🙂 I always appreciate your honesty.

  • We love you, Tony. Chin up (from someone who’s right there with you [and seeing a new doctor about it on Thursday]).

  • Evelyn

    Tony, I’m sorry that you’re sad. One thing though – We CAN’T be friends through the blogosphere. There’s no human energy exchange and we can’t read each other’s emotions. All we can do is talk to an electronic screen and project what is happening. Perhaps this is your difficulty – get away from your computer and seek human contact!

  • Danny

    Thank you. You make a difference. You matter. I appreciate all that I have been able to glean from your blog. It is required reading!

  • Jeff

    For what it’s worth… the last time I had a ’bout,’ which was a long time now, I survived it by repeating and repeating, “I’ve been through this before, and come out the other side.” Because I had. And I did again. And so will you.

  • Tom

    Hey bud,
    I remember years ago Kurt V and I went to cheer up his mom when she had cancer. We were doing everything we could. Finally she looked at us and said “boys I’m sad today. Sadness is ok. It’s also an emotion God gave us. I’m sad. Let me be sad.” One of the best reminders of life for me. So if you are sad be sad. But know your friends (some of which have known you since grade school) still come back and keep reading. We continue to appreciate you. We continue to celebrate you and who you are. We learn from you and soak up your thoughts on all things. While we may not always agree, we do respect and love. You are appreciated and valued. Thanks for being authentic and simply you!

  • Scot Miller

    Tony, after reading your post, I didn’t know what to say. I don’t think you need my advice or words of wisdom. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your work here an in your books (I’ve even got my wife to read your book on the Didache and the atonement). I am especially grateful for your allowing me to write a few guest blog posts. Your encouragement and confidence in me means a lot.

  • toddh

    Love the blog, keep the conversations coming!

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  • Hang in there, bro.

  • You’re welcome!

    JUST KIDDING, Tony. Although, I did appreciate the sincere thank you note to your readers, as I am one of them. And since I’m getting a good taste of the darkness myself these days, all I know to do is sigh and empathize a little. I love you, Tony, you’re a good friend.