Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Bon Voyage!

When I was searching for a title for the book that would tell the story of my long battle with serious ill-health and chronic pain it was a 'no-brainer'. Braving the Storm: Survival Tactics said it all.  I felt like I was battling to make headway against a raging, howling wind and a strong tide against me.  To a certain extent I still feel like that, but there is a notable difference.  For most of the struggle I have felt pretty sure about the nature of my enemy - it was a physical fight against a measurable disease.  Now, like the mariners who gathered in convoys to cross the Atlantic during the Second World War, I realise that the greatest danger lies beneath the waves.  The unseen realm of the U-Boat wreaked a terrible toll on the convoys.  For my part, the invisible, insidious and underhand tactic of the attacker that poses me the greatest risk is depression.  'Ah yes, Eric,' you may say 'but you don't have to worry about that do you?  After all, you are a pastor and Christian leader, and they should not get depressed, should they?'  'Get real, Pal' is my response!  Even Jesus was described as 'a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief' and when it came to Satan's tactics against him we also read 'he was oppressed and afflicted' - now that's pretty depressing.

Why are Christians among the last to be willing to admit that they get depressed?  They usually either refuse to take medication or do so ashamedly, afraid to admit to others that we might need some chemical help to overcome a condition that is often chemically based or exaggerated and complicated by the drugs we need to take for pain.

Convoys were difficult to organise, but they worked.  Ships gathered together with others heading to roughly the same destinations, and they travelled as one.  Of course they were limited to the speed of the slowest among them, but the idea cut the death toll drastically and led to a painful though marginal victory in the battle of the Atlantic.  So - I get depressed, and when I do I need others who understand what it means to face this bleak and heinous enemy to make the journey with me. It simply is too dangerous to make the trip alone. It is also sad and silly to reject any means of grace, even if it is received by mouth!

The book which followed on from this was called Storm Force and enabled me to look more closely at some of these unseen tactics of the enemy.  I thought that the next one should be called 'After the Storm' but as I am writing it I am finding that neither the storm nor the lessons from it are decreasing.  So, I'll let you know the title once it has been confirmed, after all - you are probably in the same convoy and we need each other!  Bon Voyage!