Wednesday, August 3, 2011


by Alice Valdal

  I've always known that we all see the world from a unique perspective.  A recent trip by car and ferry brought home the message.  The country we travelled through was beautiful -- and empty.  Mile after mile, hour after hour with nothing but mountains and rolling grasslands to see.  Amid all this beauty, we longed for the sight of a Tim Horton's!

   Then, at the end of an absolutely breathtaking drive through the Buckley and Skeena valleys, we reached the Pacific Ocean and boarded a ferry for the fifteen hour sail through the Inside Passage  back to Vancouver Island.  The weather was rainy, but again, the passage through that pristine waterway was spectacular.  The only sign of humans in that long day was the First Nations village of Bella Coola.  And, I confess, I was getting a bit tired of looking at rocks and trees and water.  I started counting the minutes until the buffet opened. :-)
    But others on the ferry, from more populous parts of the world, couldn't take their eyes from the view.  They exclaimed over every waterfall, every rocky outcropping, and every tiny beach.  When a whale breached off the port side, they rushed to the windows, cameras clicking.  While I had become bored with a landscape I knew well, others were enthralled with the novelty of "nothing to see."

    A recent article in our local newspaper discussed the growing problem of mental illness in our community.  Apparently depression is an epidemic in this affluent, pleasant, cultured city.  Depression, despair, despondency.  How, I ask myself, could so many people fall into  hopelessness?  Could a change in perspective be the answer?  I am not trying to belittle the devastation of mental illness, but I have to wonder if hopelessness could be turned to hope if the sufferer looked to the Lord?  Could despair become optimism if the afflicted walked with Jesus?  Just as it took someone else's perspective to help me appreciate the miles and hours of "nothing," so too, might another point of view turn the despondent to hopefulness. 
    Praise God that we have, "our sure and certain hope" in Christ Jesus and the life to come.
     And pray God, we never become indifferent to the many blessings we enjoy each day.

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  1. I agree that a bit of 'nothing' is very refreshing to our outlook sometimes. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if the increase in depression cases correlates with the increasing abundance of distractions and pleasures beginning in the latter part of the 20th century.

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  3. Alice, I have several friends with young adult children suffering from mental illness. You are right that those who know the Lord are doing better than those who are still fighting God. Sadly, the Lord doesn't always grant healing even to those who trust in Him. But for those of us who are merely discouraged and distracted by modern busyness, reveling in His wilderness creation is wonderfully refreshing.