As many of you know, I have always struggled with faith, God and religion. Today, I was thinking about my mental health with respect to faith and began to contemplate some of the things I feel; and, there is no doubt that there is an intimate connection between our spiritual beliefs and our psyche. Suffice it to say that I have a belief in a Higher Power, but I have many critical doubts about His/Her nature and an exponential number of critical feelings about how people interpret and use Higher Powers to sway control and influence over others, but my thoughts today are focused inward and with respect to my own mental health.
My thoughts today reminded me of a talk I heard once from a catholic priest that described the difference between Catholics and Lutherans (He was quoting someone, but I can’t remember who…) with an analogy. Before I mention the analogy, let me preface that I mean no disrespect and my focus isn’t on the difference in religions as it is the difference in analogy as it relates to my own self-image. Anyways, this priest claimed that Lutherans theology describes the human experience as people being Snow-Covered Dung Heaps, whereas Catholic theology describes the human experience in terms of people being Dung-Covered Snow Heaps. In other words, the priest was comparing human nature as the difference between people being bad in their basic nature and covered with goodness or people being good in their basic nature and being covered in badness (IS that even a word???).
The idea behind being a dung covered snow heap is the idea that we are basically good, but the world has a way of covering us with crap. On the inside, however, is this nice pile of snow that is clean and pure and only impacted by the crap on the inside. At a time, when I still accepted Catholicism as my faith, I found this to resonate deeply with me. I mean, wouldn’t we all want to be seen as basically good? In all fairness, it has been my observation that any/all faiths tend to see the followers of their chosen faith to side with the idea of being basically good (This can be an entirely different topic altogether), but that isn’t the point of my discussion today. But I want to feel basically good and I think this is something we all want to feel on some level. It benefits our own mental health to feel good about ourselves and it is something even those of us that suffer from depression would want to see as a good thing.
Unfortunately, many of us that suffer from depression typically have low self-image and low self-esteem. This has the effect of making us feel like we are actually dung-heaps and that many of the things we use to make us feel better is the pristine snow that covers us. We become appealing on the outside, but feel dank and stinky on the inside. It’s the essence of depression. It’s not something we want, it’s something that feels like a reality to many of us. We feel like massive crap.
On a side note, however, sometimes we get the opportunity to shovel that shit away. I’d like to think I have recently purchased a new shovel in life and I’m doing what I can to remove the crap of my life. On some level, I’d like to simply think that I was actually a pile of snow that melted away and left the crap. I’m trying to use this analogy that because the snow melted, it is now easier to shovel away the crap and clean the yard to allow another snow fall.
Now, if I could manage keeping the dog from pissing on it, I’ll be in good shape. 🙂