Lessons from the Year of Insanity

Twelve years ago I went through a massive depression. I’d never gone through anything like that before. It was life-changing for me. At the time it felt like it was the most challenging thing I’d ever experienced. I didn’t like it so much. But now, looking back, I’m so grateful for that time in the “wilderness” – I learned so much from it!

Here are some of the lessons I learned during the Year of Insanity (excerpted from The Middle Book):
“I still have moments of loneliness, and I still have moments when I’m scared. But now I know enough to know these moments will eventually pass. I don’t give much thought to them. I’ve discovered it’s possible to be happy even during these times.”

“…I have found that there’s no way I can predict what form help and ‘salvation’ will take for me. I have found that, if I just keep my thought open to all the good…every moment, I’ll find everything I need to get me off my mental ‘island.”

“Right here, where I might see fear and anger and hate – in this exact same place and space, there’s another universe filled with incredible good – and I have a choice of which one I want to live in, and which one I want to see as ‘real.'”

“I think if all of mankind were able to recognize the good in themselves and in each other – I think this, alone, would transform our world.”

“Think back on the last four years of your life, my friend – become aware of all the things you would have missed if you’d given up on life four years ago: the new friends you would never have known; the sunsets and sunrises you wouldn’t have seen; the lessons you wouldn’t have learned; the changes you wouldn’t have been able to make; the pictures never painted; the photos never taken; the songs never sung; all the love and laughter that you would have denied yourself.”

middle book cover

Forever and Ever. Amen.

For a few days in the last week my family was spread out across 2,000 miles – Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago. And as I thought about this, I had a sort of revelation: Did the physical separation in any way weaken my love for my family? Did the fact that we weren’t in close physical proximity in any way make me love my family members any less? And the answer was, of course, nope. No way. Absolutely not. And then I thought about the loved ones who have died through the years and realized that death hasn’t stopped me from loving them, either. In fact, even though they’ve moved on, the relationship we created together has continued to grow and blossom and been a positive influence in my life.

As the character Jack Lemmon plays in Tuesdays with Morrie says: “Death ends a life, not a relationship.” (Mitch Albom)

never separated from love

photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8