Feeling depressed during the holidays happens to many people. As we enter the end of the year, there are many emotions coursing through our bodies. For me, I’m feeling several of them yet sadness seems to be the front runner. This is the first holiday without my father-in-law. I miss him dearly.
As I write these words I slowly sip a hot cup of Panera dark roast coffee while watching an interview I did with my father-in-law a few months before he passed away. All of these things help to prime the emotion that’s been trapped in the busyness of the holiday rush.
The lump in my throat has been present for days. My glands feel swollen with repressed tears yet the distraction of our children keeps me from fully acknowledging this sadness. Hearing his voice on the video helps me shed a few tears as I keep my head down hoping that nobody will see me as they enjoy their Panera breakfast.
Beyond the way I’m feeling, my wife is going through her own grieving process while we try to do our best job parenting these energizer bunnies we call our kids. The pressure and pace of our life doesn’t always accommodate these seasons of sadness we feel yet we must press on.
Feeling the Pressure
Everyone feels the pressure. Even the Son of God.
After the Last Supper, Jesus retreated to Mt.Olive and laid face down by an olive tree alone as he cried out to His Father 3 times to take away the pain. The pain of his eventual crucifixion and the unthinkable pressure of the world’s sin soon to be placed upon him. The pressure that Jesus felt was real.
In this era, oil was viewed and used for many spiritual purposes (anointing people, healing the sick, etc.) Moreover, the way the olive oil was made also had a deeper meaning of the pressure that one endures building their faith through life’s trials.
The best way to understand this metaphor is to learn how olive oil was pressed. Pictured below is an ancient olive press. Each time the heavy wooden wheel circled around the olives the weight and pressure of the wheel would yield olive oil.
Purpose In The Process
The process of pressing out the oil went through 3 different presses. Each press grew with weight and intensity similar to each of the 3 times Jesus cried out.
The first press yielded the most pure oil that was used for cooking and eating of the Kings & Queens who could afford such a delicacy.
The second press squeezed the pulp of the olives and was used to light the lanterns of the middle class who needed the oil to light their homes at night.
Finally, the third press took the last little remnants of the pulp and squeezed out any remaining drops of oil. During this final press there was often dirt, sand, and other elements that weren’t intended to be in oil. This oil was used for poor people to cook & eat with. It often was unusable and didn’t appear to have much of a purpose at all. However, make no mistake, each press had a purpose. Each press was used for a reason.
We must press on.
You Are Not Alone
I understand you have pressure.
You have things going on in your life that you may not post on social media. Posts of things that are happening in your world that squeeze your thoughts and your motivation to keep moving forward.
Everything from death to divorce, addiction to recovery, sickness to healing, loneliness to loss, and many other olive press moments that you are faced with.
Yet you continue to press on.
The word depression implies that something is pressing down on you, that you are ‘de-pressed’. I stumbled upon this image on Facebook earlier this week and thought it was fitting for this story. As shown below, the word ‘depression’ when rearranged spells out the phrase “I pressed on”. How neat is that?
As you reflect on your year, I encourage you to look for all of the areas in your life that you’ve pressed on. Make a list, tell a friend, or grab a cup of coffee and release the final drops of oil that this year has yielded. Remember, every drop has a purpose for your life.
Keep pressing on!
“You seem to look upon depression as the hand of an enemy trying to crush you…Do you think you could see it instead as the hand of a friend, pressing you down to the ground on which it is safe to stand?”