There is a place that I visit occasionally and I really hate going there. When I go, I make every effort not to get to far passed the door and I try very hard not to stay any longer than I have to.
Some people go more often than me and some go deeper into the place and some stay much longer and there are even some who never do come out.
As far as I know, though I had heard about that place for years, I don't recall ever going there until just a couple of years ago. I really don't know what caused me to start visiting and I have been there several times since the first time. There was even a time in my life that I was a bit critical of people who went there and stayed to long, obviously I was unaware of the draw.
This time of the year seems to even be worse there than normal and yet has a greater draw to go in than any other time of the year.
In fact I visited there this morning prior to writing this blog and have been more in the past few weeks than probably any other time period for a while. This morning, I decided to stand at the door a little longer and pray for those who go more often, in deeper and stay longer and I hope my prayers helped some to turn around and get out, at least for a while and hopefully for a very long time. My ultimate prayer would be that they never have to ever go back and while I was at it, I prayed that maybe I wouldn't have to back either.
I also never thought I would ever talk about it out loud and many, maybe most who go, don't want to talk about it and do not want anyone to know they have been there.
In fact, you may even be surprised that I go to this place. After all, I am a preacher and the regular person out there would probably cringe to think that a person in my position would ever visit such a place. So, this blog is somewhat of a confession if not a testimony.
The place is a dark place and has a strong grip. I admit, I don't go near as much or stay near as long as many, I just would like to never have to go again.
At this point, some of you are waiting for a humorous twist to this story. You think I am speaking of the shopping mall at Christmas or a nursing home or a deacon's meeting or something of that nature. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
This place is called "Depression". Now, understand, my visits would likely be considered mild compared to so many others and I hope it never goes beyond that. But even at mild, it is not a place I enjoy. It hurts, it drains, it pulls you into ugly places.
Sometimes, circumstances and events help carry you there and they try to force you to stay.
I thought this would be a good time to ask you to pray for those who suffer this condition. Also, I would like to encourage you to attempt to be a little more understanding if you see someone going there or standing there. In addition, you may even be able to help a little beyond your prayers, by being more discerning and maybe a little more sensitive and a little more kind.
My prayer for you is that when you see this place, you can simply keep on walking by and thank God you are not walking through the door and then whisper a prayer for those who are in for a visit.