Pedagogy of the Depressed

My good friend Jabari said something that I’ve been trying to explain for this entire year. He said, “Firstly, people need Christ. Secondly, people need people.” If that is not The Gospel Truth, then there is none…

I’m sitting here next to a young girl that’s working with us at the embroidery place I now toil at. She’s young, repeating school, working to pay for some dental work she had done. She keeps talking, not always to make sense or share a point. I think it’s to remind people that she’s there. She keeps asking me if I understand her, and every so often her tone suddenly and inexplicably changes to anger. She’s not really angry. She’s just gotten used to not being heard. Or maybe listened to.

On her first day here, she said she has no friends. She’s never had a boyfriend, or has even been close to boys. She’s not particularly close with her siblings either, she hints. She’s all alone, sitting next to a giant sewing machine, staring into space. And she’s used the word ‘depressed’ just a couple times too many.

At some point in the day, I found myself saying that this girl was a bit too much to handle. Not annoying or overbearing, but just not what I wanted to be around in that moment. And then it hit me – that wasn’t just her problem. It was mine, too.

Because we’re the stars of our own stories, we often don’t think about what we need to do and give for the other characters in our lives – how we can cater to others beliefs and desires in order to make then feel wanted and cared for. We need people, to feel wanted and considered and like our thoughts, feelings and emotions matter. After all, in a major way that’s all we are. And, after feeling for a long time the way I imagine this girl felt, I can be more patient with her. And maybe myself. And maybe hope that more people are patient with me as well…

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