Father, thank you for my life — rich with wonder, abundant in blessings.

A very fine line separates life filled with joy and one of suffering with sadness. As one who has experienced and seen mental health abuse, and healing, through a life of faith, I can testify to the delicate balance.

Depression is complex. It is physical, emotional and spiritual. I’ve experienced all phases throughout my life. Even at times when I thought I conquered the cycles, I learned the mountain was still there to climb — or go around — again. I’ve shed tears moments after a great achievement, not in joy, but sadness for the selfish perspective of what didn’t happen.

My friend recently wrote a letter that I could have penned. In fact, we had so much in common it was new revelation. As she shared the personal challenges of this time of hurt before the next plateau of healing begins, I was so moved by the coincidence of our walks of faith. Her note confirmed this morning’s talk with God and summed it up in Proverbs 13:12 — “Hope deferred makes the heart sick; but when dreams come true at last, there is life and joy.”

The ups and downs of life cycles are often described as a roller coaster. The pull up the hill is really slow and long, but oh the joy when we reach the top of the climb. The zoom down the incline occurs in seconds — far too short for the length of expectation the momentum took to achieve. The adrenaline rush is real and we all like the wind in our face as the exhilaration of staying on track takes us to the next erratic motion. The twists and turns ahead will get automatic physical reactions, because our minds are filled with the joy of the fast accomplishment.

It must be why gamblers keep going for the bigger and bigger wins, why the explorer goes on the next adventure, the hunter seeks a more dangerous prey or a climber risks their life, literally, hanging by a rope. To experience the beauty of that moment on a mountain top no car can drive up to, and only the experienced can see, must be fantastic awe. Are we willing to do the training to get to the top? What are the tools needed and can we stay or get fit to build the muscle tone to hold on?

Moses must have grown tired of leading a massive group of complainers and easy-life seekers. No wonder he blew his stack and got left behind, never entering the promised land. Do actions have consequences? You better believe it. Anger today can turn the world upside down. We see it on the news every hour. I’ve stopped watching most of the rheteric on television. Why do I need to be disturbed by something I can’t do anything about?

That doesn’t mean we should stick our heads in the sand and ignore the world around us. I cherish the reality of picking my own battles. This doesn’t come easily and too often I have fought a losing cause. More and more, I’m trying to pay attention to the things I can change and the things I cannot. For the wisdom to know the difference is what many of us pray every day.

My prayer for you, dear reader, is that today you will see the world through God’s eyes, but be careful. It might give you great peace, like watching a 5-week-old kitten sleeping snuggled next to you on the sofa, with a smile on its face. Or it could be an ugly reality that you’d rather not have known about a friend or loved one, a betrayal or fall you didn’t see coming.

Never fear, the Lord has enough love for the broken people in this world and for those who think they have everything together. We all have fallen short of the grace of God. The sweeter the victory when we can share it with one another.

Keep geauxing saints (yes, the football variety, too). By the way, praising God is not about winning or losing, but rather, just because of Who He is.

VICKY BRANTON is the Teche Life editor at The Daily Iberian.

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