The Blessing of Love

Even in her darkest hour, one woman found hope in the care and comfort of true friends.

By Brigitte Weeks

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“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me...” — MARK 14:36 (NIV)

“Father...please take this cup of suffering away from me,” Jesus pleaded in the darkening Garden of Gethsemane. No one can know what pain and grief lay behind those words, but they came suddenly and unexpectedly in to my mind when my therapist told me quietly but firmly, “It’s time for electroconvulsive therapy, Brigitte. You are losing this battle.” Depression has shadowed my life for years, yet I’d always imagined I could endure it into defeat.

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But now it was hard to eat, a major task to pick up a ringing telephone and, even worse, hard to feel the usual blessings of affectionate children and incorrigibly winning grandchildren. ECT is feared for its ability to wipe out short-term memory. But did I have a choice?

I trusted my therapist, so I took medical leave from work, even though I felt life as I had known it might be over.

I underestimated something simple and powerful: friendship. Led by a fellow depressive, my friends closed around me. Alice drew up lists of who would take me to the hospital, who would make sure I got home and how to reach my doctors. I knew memory might leave me, so I bought a large red notebook and resolved to write down everything that happened before and during my treatment.

My notes tell me that my friends took time off work, rearranged their busy schedules, e-mailed one another with progress reports, brought me cupcakes and offered prayers. The curse of depression became the blessing of love.

Thank You, Lord, for the faith and care of true friends.

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