The Problem of Feeling Good
Jan 29, 2011
I am reckoned as one in the tomb:
I have reached the end of my strength,
like one alone among the dead;
like the slain lying in their graves.
Friday night compline is a little gruesome. That’s only fitting, of course, that’s what Friday’s for, and it’s often helpful too. It’s been a long time, but I’ve felt what the Psalmist records here. At times like that, it’s good to know that your heartache is, so to speak, officially sanctioned.
On the other hand, how do you pray a Psalm like #88 when you feel great? The odd thing about depression is that, when it’s at its peak, you can’t imagine ever feeling any other way; but when it’s gone, you can’t even call up what it felt like. These past few weeks I’ve felt almost uninterruptedly peaceful and happy. It’s pretty nice! I could get used to this.
And I discovered something useful. You can say a Psalm like an intercessory prayer. No, I don’t feel like I’m lying dead in a grave somewhere, forgotten by God and man. But I know people who do, or have, or will. I can say the Psalm as if I’m them. Deeply depressed people sometimes don’t even have the strength to cry out, so I can do it for them. It’s nice to spend a Psalm on somebody besides myself.