How Does That Make You Feel?
Lately I have found myself talking to a lot people who are at crossroads in their lives. Everyone has told me that they are experiencing something akin to frustration, but that’s not exactly how they feel. They can’t describe it as sadness, either.
When we do approach a crossroad in our lives we generally plan how we are going to proceed. We seldom think about how or what we feel when these times in our lives happen.
Attempting to describe how we feel about something is one of the most difficult things for human beings to do. Often when I ask someone how they feel about something they just read or they just heard, that person will tell me what they saw or understood.
Seldom will they immediately tell me how they feel. We do not like to talk about our feelings – it makes us vulnerable.
Have you ever been asked to share your feelings with another person? You know, sit together in a room and tell that other person how you feel inside?
It’s really hard to do. You don’t want to say the wrong thing. You don’t want them to take it personally. You don’t want to upset anyone. So instead of honouring our feelings, we do that famous “stiff upper lip” thing.
I often wonder how Jesus felt when the disciples were sitting and listening to him teach and when all was said and done, they didn’t get it. Did he feel frustrated with them? Was he sad that they couldn’t grasp what he was telling them, no matter how clearly he told the story? How did he feel when they finally got it? Elated? Joyful?
Feelings are a gift from God. Joy, sadness, happiness, anger, frustration – all are feelings that we each experience in our lives, and so many more.
The next time you read a passage from scripture, ask yourself, “how does this make me feel?”
Don’t try to ignore them. Don’t try to sidestep around them. Face them squarely and you will find the stories in scripture pull you into them in a whole new way.
Rev. Sue McCullough
Anglican Parish, Morrisburg
Irouqois and Riverside Heights.
Travelling the Lenten Journey
I wonder how many of you have seen the film Les Miserables? I’ve seen it twice-once with family and once with a close friend. I’d be only too happy to see it again and will undoubtedly purchase it when it comes out on DVD.
Les Miserables is about a man who is sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving child. Many themes arise from this one story, and I for one was crying as the movie unfolded.
The characters sing all of their lines, and they do such a good job that I felt that I could see into their very souls.
Les Miserables is about power perhaps gone wrong–oppression, pain, and what some people have to do to stay alive. It is, however, also about light triumphing over darkness, forgiveness, redemption and hope.
In this Lenten season, we can remember that every individual faces both good and bad times in their livers. We rejoice at occasions which call for celebration, but we sin against God and against one another. We sometimes cause pain to others but forgive people when they hurt us.
We are imperfect men, women and children. Yet God continues to love us and calls us to be the best that we can be. As His faithful followers we are to place God at the centre of our days–we are to reach out to our neighbours with compassion and mercy. We can seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our Lord.
As we travel along our Lenten journey this year, let us take moments for prayer, for discernment, for seeking the peace which passeth all understanding.
May we walk in the paths which Jesus has put before us–let us remember that Jesus will ever be our guide, our inspiration, our example, our teacher, our friend.
Jesus challenges us to build a better world, but He promises to love and cherish us, this day and in all years yet to come.
Rev. Janet Evans,
Iroquois United Church
There are ups and downs in everyone’s life. We all become unhappy when we experience problems and set-backs. These unhappy feelings are usually temporary. For some people, though, sad feelings last a long time and are quite severe. “Depression” is a clinical term used by psychiatrists to describe a long period when a person feels very sad to the point of feeling worthless, hopeless and helpless.
Signs of Depression in Children and Teens
If your child becomes depressed, he/she is unlikely to talk about it. Your first warning signs will probably be changes in behaviour that may suggest a troubled and unhappy state of mind. A child who used to be active and involved may suddenly become quiet and withdrawn. A good student might start getting poor grades.
Changes in Feelings
Your child may show signs of being unhappy, worried, guilty, angry, fearful, helpless, hopeless, lonely or rejected.
Your child may start to complain of headaches, or general aches and pains. He/she may have a lack of energy, sleeping or eating problems, or feel tired all the time.
Changes in Thinking
Your child may say things that indicate low self-esteem, self-dislike or self-blame. He/she may have difficulty concentrating or frequently experience negative thoughts. He/she might even think about suicide.
Changes in Behaviour
Your child might withdraw from others, cry easily or show less interest in sports, games or other fun activities that he/she normally likes. He/she might over-react and have sudden outbursts of anger or tears over fairly small incidents.
How to Help a Child who may be Depressed
Talk to your child. If you have noticed any of the signs discussed here, do your best to encourage your child to talk to you about how he/she is feeling and what is bothering him/her. Depression is very treatable. Start by checking with your family doctor to find out if there could be a physical cause for your child’s feelings of fatigue, aches and pains, and low moods. Many school boards have professional counsellors on staff. The school counsellor or your family doctor may refer you to a children’s mental health clinic. If there isn’t a clinic nearby, there may be a psychiatrist or psychologist who specializes in working with children.
This article provides general information only. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice. If you feel that you may need advice, please consult a qualified health care professional. For further information please visit our web site at: www.cmha-east.on.ca or call 1-800-493-8271.