Before my reading last Tuesday, a woman from Michigan approached me with a copy of Journey to Aztlan in her hand. She asked if I could sign her book, which I did. When I handed the book back to her, she looked at me, dead in the eyes, and her pupils were as pinned as could be. A smile tried to crack her cheeks, but didn’t fully succeed. I wondered if she was trying to ask me something, because she stood in front of me wearing a half-open, half-smiling mouth, but with laser-focused eyes. “Is there something else you wanted to ask me?” I asked her.
She let loose a deep breath and said, “Yes, there is, if its ‘s ok?”
“Absolutely,” I said.
“Did God play a role in your overcoming Depression?”
Upon hearing her, I understood her hesitation. It’s a common rule to not speak of religion or politics in public or at family gatherings and although she really wondered about my relationship with God, she was simply scared to ask. I smiled and nodded and then said, “To me, there’s no way to heal the wounds that Depression and Addiction rip open without God.”
“Thank you,” she said and shook my hand. The smile that hadn’t fully formed was now connecting her ears. She left, satisfied with my response.
I, however, wasn’t. I wanted to tell her that, Depression and Addiction reduce a life to a single relationship: Self with Self. There is nothing to a life except for the relationship with either a person’s painful abyss (as is the case with Depression) or with the target of the Addiction. There is no doubt that people need to believe in something bigger than themselves; we are just as much spiritual beings as we are physical beings. When we do not express our spiritual needs, we are left with our own reflection. Prayer and meditation are just as important to humanity as is food or water.
However, when overcome with Depression and/or Addiction, we disconnect ourselves from anything other than our own reflection. There is no God; there’s nothing but our own self-gratifying obsessions with pain or substances (or behaviors).
Here’s the thing, though: God requires us to act. We are not going to connect with God, either when depressed/addicted or not, without some kind of action. Prayer is a way to reconnect with God, but we must take active roles in expressing that prayer. For example, I write a bunch of “how-to” articles, but if no one actually performs the steps in the “how-to” articles, they won’t work. In much the same way, God isn’t going to ride in on a cloud and wave a magic wand and make our lives better. However, if we learn to see ourselves in His image and likeness and then learn that we are merely stewards of that image, then real positive change will result.
Therefore, God absolutely plays a role in healing: God requires us to understand that we all are His sons and daughters and we are all worthy of respect and love. We must understand that we must respect our own lives and then respect others’ lives. We are not alone on this planet and if it’s true that God created everyone and everything, then we must accept His entire creation.