Recently on a trip to Walt Disney World, I had an encounter that stuck with me. At the theme parks, they hand out buttons that read “I’m Celebrating” for all of the various events they know their guest may be coming to enjoy. After a trip last summer, I had an extremely simple idea that was ultimately for my enjoyment, and in the empty space under the bolded, celebratory words, I wrote: Life. Nothing fancy, nothing elaborate, just something frank. Yet, while waiting in line, I heard a small voice behind me say “I’m Celebrating… Life. That’s neat.” All I could do then was quietly say thank you and move up in line, but it wasn’t until later that her words hit me.
I was celebrating life fully, as crazy as it may seem and as discouraging as it may be. I was choosing to live.
To add detail to my thinking, I scribbled down those four simple letters to prove something to myself. I wrote them to prove that there was significance to everyday that we get the chance to breathe, no matter how menial it may seem.
I wrote them as a remembrance that despite any circumstance, there is still joy to be found in this life that God has given us.
And, I wrote them to stand in the gap with the thousands of brothers and sisters that struggle with the will to live everyday.
Statistics from the National Institution of Mental Health state that approximately 15.7 million adult Americans and 2.8 million children 12-17 battle with depression. The American Association for Suicide Prevention claims that 117 people take their lives everyday. Fewer and fewer people are choosing to live, much less joyfully live as we are called to do by our Creator. Even as a high school student, I see the effects of depression everyday through my peers, my friends, and my family. Why have we let our will to live become so belittled?
Well, maybe we have forgotten our purpose. Maybe we have forgotten that our Creator has made us in the delight and likeness of His image.
Maybe we have forgotten that our Savior trampled depression and death itself so that we might encounter a life worth living.
Maybe we have become so prone to falling into the trenches of our troubles that we have forgotten to lean upon the One who loves us the most. Maybe we have forgotten that our reliance upon our Father in the time of our struggles may be the hope someone else desperately needs to see. Psalm 42:11 proclaims, “Why am I so sad? Why am I so troubled? I will put my hope in God, and once again I will praise Him, my Savior and my God.” (GNT)
So I pray that whatever cloud of sadness you may walk through and whatever weight of despondency you are trying to balance on your shoulders, you would realize that you have a Savior that has already payed the price for your pain.
I pray that you may encounter the Lord in such a way that hopelessness will no longer gloom your day.
And I encourage those of you who have found joy and hope to reach out to those struggling so that we all, through Christ, celebrate life.