“This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before.” – Maya Angelou
During the most severe years in my struggle with anxiety and depression, I can’t imagine calling the darkest days “wonderful”. Meaningful, yes. But no, not wonderful. Typically, the words that come to my mind are “excruciating”, “painful”, “alone”, and “exhausting”.
And yet, I have to wonder: is it possible for each day to be wonderful, even in the midst suffering? I believe so.
To be clear: “wonderful” does not always equate to “happy”. Here is one of the definitions you will find on dictionary.com:
Wonderful: “Of a sort that causes or arouses wonder; amazing; astonishing.”
I like that much better than the idea of waking up with inane, giddy happiness lacking in substance. Wonder. Amazement. Astonishment. Last I heard, those can all be experienced within any circumstance, even within seasons of pain.
Recently, I was talking with a friend and his wife, when we were suddenly interrupted by a horribly rude individual: their infant son. How dare he interrupt me with his crying and need for attention! After this horrid distraction subsided, my friend told me that his son is currently at the stage of life where he’s curious and in wonder of EVERYTHING.
Children…How silly they are, with their curiosity over every mundane thing…Or are they simply more aware that they are alive, that life has such wonder, and that everything is spiritual?
What’s disappointing is that we were never meant to lose that wonder…Yet, within the chaos of life, we have often neglected one of the most beautiful expressions of the human spirit: reflection.
We were created to wonder, to imagine, to reflect on the eternal, and to meet God in the midst of it all – even in our pain. Despite our struggle with depression and anxiety, it is always possible to wake up each day with a heart full of wonder.
Will there be pain in this life? Sadly, yes. Will you always be happy? No, but being unhappy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Happiness is often more blissful than meaningful.
Is there always something wonderful about this moment, this day, this lifetime that can be discovered? Wonderfully, yes!
Despite the painful memories of dark days and lonely nights, there are memories I hold close of people, places, songs, prayers, train rides, discussions, nature, sporting events, coffee, movies, stories, and a vast number of wonders that I experienced in the midst of my suffering. In fact, if I’m honest (and you too), we are often reminded of what truly matters in life during seasons of suffering, not during the fleeting moments of mindless celebration.
In happiness, we are able to enjoy and savor life, which can be incredibly beautiful. Yet, within depression, anxiety, and suffering we are often reminded that there is more taking place beneath our skin – a broken soul looking for beauty, in need of healing, searching for God, and longing for eternity.
If you suffer from anxiety and depression, I know how easy it is to just go through the motions of each day, hoping to avoid additional pain. Yet, we’ve bought into the lie that wonder is only for those who have it all-together (fyi: no such person exists).
Whatever you’re going through, take some time to reflect on what matters most in life. Imagine who you long to become and the world you want to create. Search for God and truth with a heart filled with wonder and mystery. Explore the beauty that is captive within art. Befriend someone who needs you. Walk beneath the stars, listen to your favorite music, enjoy a moment of rest, read a good book, write about your life, give generously to someone in need, and always keep looking for the wonder in everything.
Even within your brokenness, there is wonder to be found. Isn’t that wonderful?