It’s almost the end of October. I look out my back window and can see the wild geese that gather again in the pond in my back yard this time of the year. It’s a way station before they fly off to warmers climes.
People with depression feel less than – less than good, less than successful, less than a loving spouse or parent. Too often, they feel poverty in their souls. In their heads, they chew on thoughts that if they were only “better” people or more “successful,” they wouldn’t be suffering so much or could overcome depression.
It’s as if they’re to blame for their depression and any self-compassion is as absent as rain in the desert.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
You don’t have to prove – over and over and over again – – to yourself or others – – that you’re worthy to walk this sweet earth and enjoy a sense of wholeness. You don’t need to beg others for their approval because God, however you define him or her, is always announcing in the natural world on fire with colors and portents of change at this time of the year, your intimate belonging in this world.
Poet Mary Oliver captures this so beautifully in her poem Wild Geese:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.