READ: Psalm 143
THE BLACK DOG
And King David wrote, “Answer me quickly, Lord, for my spirit is worn out. Do not turn your face away from me, or I shall be like those who sink into oblivion. Let the dawn brings the news of Your faithful love, for I place my trust in you. Show me the road I must travel for You to relieve my heart.” – Psalm 143:7,8
Brother James and I often sit and talk through our common struggle, a struggle we share with the great Sir Winston Churchill. Most days, most weeks, Brother James is a overflowing source of creativity, a most brilliant artistic soul, who is also blessed with a remarkable capacity of empathy. Yet there are periodic times when the “Black Dog” as Churchill termed it comes to visit him. Brother James and I are presently keeping the Black Dog at bay. And we are so thankful that the Lord and the Brothers are here to kindly walk us through this Black Dog visit.
The Black Dog is the medical condition known as chronic depression, an experience that Brother James and I have known. We have each had suicidal episodes in our younger days and we have spent time in years gone by when the struggle was far more dire than these days. But even when manage well, the Black Dog will always come to visit, now and then.
Here at Greyfriars’ Abbey, we have begun a ministry called The Black Dog Cafe, a time and place where the Winston Churchill’s in life can come and find relief among friends, folks who have learned the how of walking through the “darker” hours.
For those who struggle with depression, know that there are souls in Christ who have been there, who understand, and know how Jesus understand. Brother James and I have adopted Saint Peter, as our patron saint, a man of God who we believe lived with the Black Dog.
My Loved Ones, I pray that you will care for those you know who may live with chronic depression. It is not a product of sin, except maybe in the most general sense of the word; it is not a flaw; it is not a failing; it is a medical condition, and, in a certain perspective, possibly a gift given by God to certain creative and empathetic souls.
Brother Anthony of the Cross
“I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand right back and if possible get a pillar between me and the train. I don’t like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second’s action would end everything. A few drops of desperation.” – Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
Churchill made frequent references to his depression, which he called his “black dog