HAVE YOU EVER BEEN BLUE
“Have you ever been lonely?
Have you ever been blue?
Have you ever…”
This old country song recorded by Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline asks a poignant question, which we could all answer in the affirmative. Who hasn’t been lonely or blue from time to time?
That melody set me to thinking about the word “blue.” It can mean so many things. We talk of blue skies and limpid blue eyes, baby blue and butterflies—all lovely things. Yet the word blue also has a darker meaning. It can refer to one who is sad, in low spirits or, taken to the extreme, one who is even suffering from a psychotic disorder called depression. Life has come to a halt. It seems all hope is gone. It is difficult to think, concentrate, or even function normally, and feelings of dejection overwhelm.
I have just come home from three weeks in a rehab facility recovering from a left knee replacement. I needed to be there to take advantage of the great physical therapy, but I hated being there for various other reasons.
At least three times, perhaps four, a nice lady stood by my bed with her clipboard and asked me the following questions.
“Have you ever been depressed?”
“Have you ever felt that life is hopeless?”
“Have you ever thought about killing yourself?”
My answer to each question was an emphatic, “No!”
Those thoughts, those dark places, are so foreign to me. Have I ever been sad? Have I ever felt blue? Of course, I have, but never to the point where I couldn’t function—never to the point where I wanted to give up.
When sweet Cecil died after only five months of marriage, I was devastated. It was the worst time of my life, but even then I knew there was hope and help and one day the sun would shine again. How did I know that? I knew that because I knew Jesus, and His middle name is HOPE and HELP and COMFORT and RESTORATION.
So, here in this rehab center, I was feeling kind of proud, maybe even a little superior. I was laughing and joking with my therapists and caregivers. I was ahead of the curve in my physical progress. Everyone was a little amazed at how well this 83-year-old woman was doing. I liked that!
Then the light came on, and I realized where I was. This place was not only a temporary rehab center. It was also a long term skilled nursing facility, and most of the residents were there without choice, and they weren’t going home in three weeks.
I watched some of these long-time residence wheeling around in their wheelchairs going nowhere, and I wondered about the ones who were confined to their beds. Were they suffering depression? Had they given up? Were they longing for the end of life?
I can’t imagine the degree of desperation that would motivate me to take my own life. Yet I know that it happens. Suicide in the elderly accounts for 18% of all suicide deaths. Among those 65 and older there is a suicide every 90 minutes, nearly 16 every day.
Somehow my sense of pride and superiority disappeared as I realized how very blessed I am. I had a place to go home to in a few days. I would be able to cook a meal and mop the floors again. O, goodie! I could get in the car and drive to Taco Bell. I could go to church and lunch with my friends. I left that rehab center feeling, not proud, but grateful for the healing that was taking place in my body, and grateful that I have a personal relationship with the author of HOPE.
You may feel “blue” today. In fact, you may feel as though you have hit rock bottom and there is no way out of the pit. Let me tell you, “He is our hope.”
The Psalmist David said, “…My hope is in You,” and the writer of Hebrews 6:18 (The Message) tells us that God can’t break His word, so “…we who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go.”
In Romans 5:5 the Apostle Paul declares, “…hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit…”
In your time of need, flee to Christ, who is your hope. He will not disappoint.
If you are on cloud nine today, thank God for His goodness, and share your joy with a suffering neighbor.
Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!