Tom Wright: Nobody much gets healed, nobody much get stoned

Tom Wright writes about part of one of this week’s readings, Acts 14:1-7, in his book Acts for Everyone (Part 2):

I once knew a young man who suffered seriously from depression. He was grappling with all kinds of issues, memories, buried fears, imagined guilt (and some real guilt, too). He had, on my recommendation, been to see one or two doctors, because his condition was becoming clinical. But, he told me, he got frustrated with the medication he’d been prescribed, and which he had taken for a while.

‘All the highs and lows disappeared: he complained. ‘OK, I don’t like the lows. In fact, they’re terrible. But the highs went as well. I just felt like a cow, mooching around, never getting excited about anything. I can’t live like that. It’s just not me.’ And he came off the medication and went on working with a counsellor who, through patience, wisdom and prayer, brought him steadily through the worst.

Now for all I know they may have improved the medication since then. I’m not an expert in that area. Sometimes medication may be the only way to help someone out of the deepest part of a depression so that they can begin to work on the real issues. But that notion stuck with me, of doing away with the highs and the lows. And I find myself thinking of it as I read a passage like this and compare it with what I know of ordinary church life in today’s Western world.

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