I suffer from chronic depression. This leads to feelings of loneliness from time to time. Some of this is due to PTSS from trauma suffered as a child and young adult. Some of it is due to repeated sexual abuse by a cousin, a rape in my late teens and another rape as a young adult. This has also led to various trust issues as well.
My depression leads me to times when I would like to be a hermit, living alone in the middle of nowhere and spending every moment in prayer and reflection. Other times, I crave human interaction. Yesterday was one such day.
I sat in the Augusta Mall watching people go about their daily lives. Sometimes, just being around people helps. However, yesterday, I wanted so badly to scream that I needed someone to just sit and talk to me. I didn’t for fear they might lock me in a padded room!
It was one of those days of crushing loneliness. It was in that moment that an aspect of the story of Jesus birth sudden came to mind. We reflect often on MARY saying yes. We consider her journey to Bethlehem and the whole no room in the inn situation. But we forget one part of the story: Mary’s crushing loneliness.
Consider this, a young woman in Israel who suddenly comes up pregnant with a fancifully tale of Angels and a Virgin Birth. The towns people likely whispered behind her back, people in the market turned their backs, and the women at the well stopped talking to her and shunned her. It had to be a tremendously painful and lonely time for Mary.
I doubt it got any better after Jesus birth considering the stories told about his birth. She was likely labeled as a liar, or a nut job. Eventually, people likely warmed up to Mary, but I doubt it happened over night.
In some ways it is a comforting knowledge that our Blessed Mother understands our moments of pain and loneliness. She can bring some comfort to us in those moments if we only reach out to her. After all, she is our mother too!
If you struggle with depression and loneliness, know that you are not alone. Reach out for help and support, rather than carrying this burden alone. Call a friend, speak to a therapist. But do not try to walk this path alone. I am here walking this same path and I am happy to walk it with you!
Let us walk this path toward heaven together!