A while back, a dear friend posted a meme on Facebook that said, "I wish someone would give me a hug and tell me I'm not as worthless as I think I am." She suffers from a collection of physical and mental ailments. We live quite a distance from each other, but I do what I can to be a good friend and I pray for her daily. I wish I could take away her pain.
While, fortunately, I am in better health than her, the sentiment she expressed is certainly one I can relate to. I imagine most people who have ever suffered from depression can understand. People who simply say to "think positive thoughts" have clearly never suffered from true depression when the record player of negative thoughts plays constantly in your mind. You can't escape it, no matter what you do. All you can do is wait for the darkness to lift and the negative thoughts to stop. This can be all the more acute in this age of social media, when every post reminds you of how worthless you are compared to others.
In 33 Days to Merciful Love, Fr. Michael Gaitley reflects on those thoughts and how they relate to St. Therese's Little Way.
There will be that self-accusing ache that creeps in and says, "You've not attained a destiny of greatness. You're not important. You're not attractive. You're nothing." . . . We can never do enough to satisfy our craving for greatness and love. . . .
But remember, the Little Way is a Little Way of darkness. So, we won't always feel the greatness of God filling our hearts. . . .In fact, most of the time, we probably won't feel it at all, and we'll have to fight to believe that God still loves us. . . .
Mary, the Mother of God, had to eat the daily bread of darkness. Think of that. This most blessed among women lived a hidden life in an unknown little town while bearing the same burdens as countless ordinary people. For instance, she cooked meals, changed diapers, and washed laundry. But in the midst of her hidden and ordinary life, she had an extraordinary faith, hope, and love. . . .
Don't believe the voices of the world that say, "You're not important! You're not attractive! You're not successful!You're not anything!" With the Little Way, the Lord will make us immensely important, incredibly attractive, and wildly successful in his eyes - but we'll have to accept that we probably won't see it. We'll have to accept to be in the dark, to live an ordinary life, and to walk by faith.