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I have always felt lucky. Always felt that I had what I called 'the happy gene'. Sure things would upset me or get me down but I have been able to bounce back fairly easily, even when things were pretty rough. But a couple of years ago I had to stop and recognize that something wasn't right and hadn't been for some time. It was hard to smile, hard to feel motivated to do much, hard to concentrate and just a general feeling of being overwhelmed. It wasn't incredibly intense, but when I looked at myself in the mirror, my eyes looked lifeless. Knowing that I wasn't alone in what I believed was a mild depression, I called my doctor who met with me and we talked about counselling and a mild medication to try. I did both and I am happy (again!) to say that they (and my already healthy lifestyle) were incredibly helpful for me. And our plan was that in a year, we would reevaluate and see how things were. Suffice to say I am off the medication and no longer speak with a counsellor but know it is always available. 

Not everyone is so lucky. There are so many living - and suffering - with debilitating mental health issues. And we need to talk about it and support all those affected.

This Sunday we will share a service dedicated to mental health. It is important. Now more than ever.

For those who are feeling the toll this pandemic is taking on their mental health, I share this wonderful prayer:

I feel alone, Loving God, and it troubles me.
I miss so much.
I miss the casual greetings of neighbours,
the warm hugs of family members.
I call them to mind:
(time of silent reflection)
I miss being able to shop wherever I like whenever I like.
I am thankful for online shopping but
I miss the groups of which I am a part,
exercise and special interest groups.
I remember my friends there by name:
(time of silent reflection)
And I miss what I have taken for granted all these years,
being in church for the Sunday service.
I miss greeting old friends and new friends of the faith community,
I miss being present when the words of scripture are read,
I miss the time of reflection that follows,
and I miss the singing, how I miss the singing!
I miss making a joyful noise together, but I also miss our mid-week study groups.
(time of silent reflection)
I am thankful for the wonders of the Internet,
through which I can see family members and friends
and talk with them as if they were close, but I can’t touch them
or see how they are. I miss the holding and the hugs.
I rejoice that the Internet brings worship to my living room.
It is good to greet my fellow worshippers online;
it is good to share in the worship life of the faith community.
I give thanks for modern technology, but it isn’t the same, and I long for the time
when we can get back to our church community home again.
Be my companion in the loneliness, Loving God,
be strength when I feel weak, be endurance when I feel like despairing,
be the source of hope when there seems nothing to hope for,
and stay with me in all the pandemic days.
I offer my prayer in the name of the One who knew loneliness and what it felt like to be utterly abandoned, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

—By David Sparks, United Church of Canada minister

Be well,

Karen Murray-Hopf

Communications & Media Coordinator