So we aren’t depressed. But even if our bodies are breaking down on the outside, the person that we are on the inside is being renewed every day.—2 Corinthians 4:16
Getting older makes us susceptible to the disease of depression. How can it not? You’re not as fast, admired, beautiful, smart, [fill in the blank] as you once were.
Yet, while I’ve felt symptoms of this disease as I’ve used my AARP card, I’ve come to understand the wisdom behind Paul’s words.
It’s all a matter of perspective.
When you’re young, faith is a head thing. Creeds, principles, affirmations. It’s theoretical. When you’re old, faith is a lived thing. You’ve lived through things that revealed God’s presence in a way that transcends understanding. A 20 year old can sing, “Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand,” and think of her grandparent. The grandparent can sing it and think of Jesus.
When you’re young, hope is what you feel as you look into the future. Goals, objectives, events, timelines. When you’re old, hope is what you feel as you reflect on the volumes you’ve written in your personal library. A 20 year old asks what lies ahead and how to get there. A senior citizen asks what he’s done with his life, and will it make a difference. What final, definitive pages can still be written?
When you’re young, love is all over the place. You love everything from steak and lobster to your soul mate. When you’re old, you discover love to describe the intimacy of relationships that knows no boundaries. A 20 year old lets passion lead love. A nursing home resident lets empathy and sacrifice define it. You’ve discovered the power of an arm around the shoulders of someone welcoming a new birth or grieving an unexpected death.
Depression arises from feeling a loss that can’t be regained. But doesn’t faith, hope, and love cast everything into a different perspective?