Surely I would drive my friends away, wouldn’t I, if I moped? I caught an occasional questioning look as I cracked wise or laughed louder than the others at a mild joke. Later, one would come alongside me (I’ve never understood that phrase the way I learned it last weekend) and murmur, How are you?
Finally I said, “I’m tired.” I dropped the leaden disguise of faithless cheer and phony banter that crushed me even as I chirped with false glee. I sagged. I drooped. I stepped from the shadows I’d sought when I couldn’t conjure a smiling face. I cried during worship and grew pensive over coffee.
My friends did not vanish. No. A few said, Me too. I have dragged that weight along my path. Someone called me brave. Another proffered wordless, fervent hugs. One made me a beautiful collage. Another had packed a book from home, just for me.
It is likely, that somewhere along the way, someone else muttered What a whiner. So be it.
I would love to tell you that I came home cured of my depression, that my heart is once again light and my step, merry. That would be a lie, as surely as my too-strong bond to humor, one week ago in Texas, was a lie.
But this is truth: My friends loved me. They cared for me. They accepted me, sadness and all. They blessed me.
I went to Texas to meet my friends with skin on. Instead I met Jesus with skin on.
5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
Romans 15:5-7 (NASB)