The Pit to the Palace
by Billy Beasley
It is the last day of October, my favorite month, as I write this column. This morning, I went to my friend Matt’s house for the dreaded weekly session of leg training. It is only partly for the physical that I go as I have plenty of workout equipment at home. We are good friends and it is an opportunity to catch up with each other. Teke loves to come with me and she starts whimpering each time I turn on the street where her Uncle Matt lives.
As I was driving home, I thought about how happy and peaceful I felt. I shared my story of my struggles with depression in my September column for Pandora’s Box. This week is suicide prevention week. Sadly, a friend shared of a family member who took her life this week. I saw her photo. She was very young, cute and her entire life in front of her. I make no judgments on anyone. We never know how bad another person is hurting. The sad truth is we won’t know if she might have found happiness, next week, next year or several years from now.
But as I reflected today on my happiness, I am certain that the years of depression sure do make me appreciate it more. By the grace of the Almighty God, I am living proof that you don’t have to remain in that dark hole forever. There is hope.
I have lived without hope. Each day, a chore to survive. During the deepest, darkest times I filled my mind with thoughts of how and when I would end my life. Somehow, I kept surviving for another day. It took a long time and I am always wary of the great foe depression is but I am for the most part happy.
The biggest help for me was that day driving on College Road when I decided to place God first. Now, do I live that way every day? No. I get bogged down in the worries of this life, the frustrations, the disappointments, just like anyone else. But it is usually a short time before I return to Matthew 6:33.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
I am thankful for what depression has taught me. I do not take happiness for granted. I treasure it. I have come from one end of the darkness to happiness with light.
My favorite scripture, for over twenty years, has been Luke 12:34.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I have for most of my adult life believed in living from your heart. Who and what do you hold dear in your heart? Because, the rest of this life is so much fluff. If we choose to live Luke 12:34 we will truly appreciate the simple things in this life as opposed to chasing a bigger house, fancier car, prestige and power.
The treasures stored in my heart is what I value most. My wife, Julie, who is beautiful, tender, captivating and constantly teaches me when I get idled about the future or disappointed in circumstances. “Chase dreams but stay here happy with me while you do.” My friend, Matt this morning said, “Julie is pretty but she has such a spirit about her that is so beautiful that it just draws you in.” I thank God for her every day.
My adult son, Micah, who will always be my little boy, lives in Raleigh. I treasure our times together. The laughter that easily comes. Once during one of our greatest disagreements, I told him I did love him and his unflinching response was, “Dad, I never have questioned your love for me.” That is the good stuff.
Our dog, Teke, who in the middle of the night if I move away from her in bed, repositions herself to make sure she is touching me. The greeting she gives Julie when she comes home from work. The excitement never grows old. It is never taken for granted. I really believe God created dogs to show us a glimpse of what unconditional love looks like.
My friends that have been with me through the good and bad of this life. The people from Lifepoint Church that God has placed in my life to help stretch me spiritually beyond what I thought capable and quite frankly beyond where I wanted to go.
Those that are family, both related through blood or those that are family simply out of love.
There is nothing more special about me than it is about you. If I made it out of the pit of despair, I have to believe you can as well. If you choose to end the battle you will never know what might happen in the future. You will leave family and friends behind that will speculate as to what they could have done. This is not intended as a guilt trip but it is real.
Think of all I would have missed out on if I would have given up sixteen years ago. I have seen my dream of being traditionally published twice and I continue to write and dream. I have the woman of my dreams.
Best of all a relationship with a Savior, who never gave up on me.
You can make it.
About the Author
Billy Beasley resides in Carolina Beach, NC with his wife Julie and their Australian Cattle Dog, Teke. They are active members of Lifepoint Church in Wilmington, NC.
Billy is the author of The River Hideaway- a traditionally published work of faith based fiction and the newly published novel, The Preacher's Letter. He shares two simple beliefs with his favorite character in this novel. Faith in God and a conviction that ‘Hearts have no color’.
You can read Billy’s “Sunday Inspiration” column on the 2nd Sunday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.