The books referenced were on my parents’ bookshelves as I grew up. The mark they left on me has shaped my view and I want my girls, nieces and nephews to know that.
There’s a disease running rampant throughout our society disabling our young people from studying, and disabling a lot of our workforce from working. “Judy is not able to concentrate and is feeling very sad. Can you please modify her assignments to help her get through this year?” “Bret is suffering from test anxiety. Can you please offer him extra credit so he can somehow pass this six weeks?” “Mrs. X will not be in today as she is suffering from another migraine.” Our society has labelled this disease depression and somehow we’re supposed to accommodate these symptoms as if we were treating a common ailment that must be cured immediately. The only thing is this “common ailment” lasts a long time with no cure in sight. I do not deny there really is something called depression, and that there really are headaches that can afflict their victims unmercifully. However, I believe there are cases where students or workers are “simply” experiencing a loneliness that paralyzes them from productivity.
Queen Wilhelmina of Holland in her book Lonely But Not Alone had much to be depressed about. She grew up an only child with no siblings. The weight of the monarchy was thrust upon her at a very young age. Her beloved husband preceded her in death. During WWII she had to leave her beloved homeland and flee to England. There she addressed her people regularly and encouraged a Dutch Resistance the Germans found formidable. As bleak as war conditions were in England where she found a precarious and tenuous refuge, she showed up on the air waves and addressed her people. She acknowledges in her book, as lonely as that experience was, she was not alone. Her deep faith also kept her strong. Upon her death she had a white funeral symbolizing her physical departure from this world to a spiritual world.
Eleanor Roosevelt writes in The Years Alone, the years with her husband prepared her to continue important work. She worked relentlessly for the establishment of the United Nations. She travelled the world to assure its progress and was instrumental in drafting many of the principles stated in the UN Charter. When a movement came afoot to nominate her for the Nobel Peace Prize, it met resistance as she had already passed away and this award is not awarded posthumously. Ultimately, an organization she cared deeply about UNICEF was awarded the prize. She was not alone. She had championed many who were alone: children, women, emerging nations, the Jew and the Negro.
Today people are quick to finger out hardworking, relentless people and even utter, “He/She is a workaholic. They must be depressed.” I submit that loneliness is not an affliction, but a necessary state we pass through as we keep our eye on the singular goal that we as individuals envision. When we work towards that goal, many times without the comfort of others along the way, we meet another aspect of ourselves in solitude, meditation and reflection. Unfortunately, in a society plugged into media, a narcissistic one where the world revolves around the one individual, many do not know how to be alone and all too immediately are uncomfortable in their loneliness or solitude. I submit that our meeting loneliness and not knowing what to do in that state is what many label depression. There is no simple cure, pill or potion to cure our loneliness. In fac t, I think we can call it necessary and healthy solitude. We alone must follow our dreams, establish goals and carefully achieve those goals.
I had many wonderful experiences as a young girl to travel alone. I met loneliness but I used it to develop my love for language and reading literature. I was lonely in meeting my solitude, but not alone among the many who taught me so much. Armed with the tools I learned in my loneliness, I have touched many lives.
Consider this scripture: “At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted…He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him” Mark 1:12 Jesus was sent out into the Wilderness. I don’t think the New Testament ever suggests that Jesus was depressed. He emerged out of the Wilderness and proclaimed to his first disciples “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Mark 1: 17
Georgette Sullins and Georgette Sullins’s Blog©, March 18, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Georgette Sullins and [Georgette Sullins’s Blog] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.