I have two blogs. I started the first one last year because I wanted to archive the e-mails I had sent to family and friends after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and also to continue writing about Japan. I started this blog recently, because I wanted to explore different topics, and specifically to write about Julian of Norwich. Her Revelations Of Divine Love have been part of my life for many years and are always close to my heart.
I have just spent some time writing about suicide in Japan, and posted it on my other blog; now I find myself pulled here, to bring some light to the darkness I have explored this evening.
I was clinically depressed at university for two years. It was a dark time in my life, and I remember very little from that time, but what I do know is, the person I am, the person I was meant to be, came out of that time. It was during that time that my faith finally struggled through. Somehow I managed to attend confirmation classes through the autumn on 1987 and was confirmed on Advent Sunday that year.
I wanted to find a quote from Julian as the title of this post, and when I opened the edition of Revelations Of Divine Love that I’m reading at the moment (Penguin Classic, translated by Elizabeth Spearing) I saw on page 57, ‘the soul can do no more than seek, suffer and trust’. Although I am over twenty years free of depression, and am incredibly thankful that it has never come back, I can still remember more clearly than I care to just how hard that period of my life was. For those two years I really did ‘seek, suffer and trust’. I had no energy for anything else. Sometimes that’s all you can do.
There are many things that make me thankful that God didn’t give up on me, that He kept trying to get through until I finally listened. Looking back on my teenage years I can see now that my faith was trying to get through, but that the depression was also on its way. There was only one way through and it was tough, but I needed to go through it. It opened my heart to the concerns of the world, it taught me empathy, it showed me how to live.
There have been times in my life since then that have left me praying only for resilience to keep going until God’s plan reveals itself. Times when I have been unable to imagine how everything could possibly be sorted out. Of course, when I saw how everything fell into place I could look back and think, yes of course, I see why that had to happen. The seeking, the suffering can be a challenge, the trust is sometimes the only thing left, but as a formula to keep going through difficult times it speaks to me.
Seek. Suffer. Trust. Then be thankful that there is light.