With Sighs Too Deep for Words

Grace and Depression

A. Robert Hirschfeld

Jun/2020, 128 Pages, PAPER, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9781640652606

A meditation and prayer companion for Christians who struggle with depression

The stigma around mental illness in our culture has had a damaging effect on those who suffer from its grip. As a priest and bishop, Hirschfeld has quietly and secretly been in treatment for depression for decades but now shares his own experience publicly. In this book, he offers short meditations, prayers, and suggestions of how one can follow and call upon Jesus for strength and peace during times of emotional upheaval.

Christians often feel that their experience of depression or mental illness is a reflection of a deficit in their faith. As a result of seeing depression as a moral shortcoming or spiritual failure, we risk more damage to ourselves and even hurt those around us by denying what is really going on. This book, with its prayers and practical suggestions for spiritual and creative practices and resilience, can be a companion for those who suffer so that they may know more deeply the resilient love of Jesus.

Read an excerpt.

A. ROBERT HIRSCHFELD served as a parish priest in academic communities (Yale, University of Connecticut, the Five Colleges of the Amherst, Massachusetts region) until becoming the Tenth Bishop of New Hampshire. His studies in literature and existential philosophy have informed his interpretation of the scriptural themes of alienation from God and the restoration of human dignity in Jesus. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College (Bachelor of Arts in English, 1983) and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale (Master of Divinity, 1991; Doctoral Degree, 2013). He lives in Concord, New Hampshire.

With Sighs Too Deep for Words originates in the author's revelation of the personal secret of depression. The woods, rocks, soil, and rivers of New England are the harsh and riveting landscape where he explores suffering and beauty, pain and gift. This book is an exercise of courage and sacrifice, an offering for which I and many, many others will be immensely grateful.”
—The Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Dean and President, Seminary of the Southwest

“What a relief to hear a church leader—an Episcopal bishop, no less—tracing without shame his long struggle with depression. Weaving poetry, art, biblical passages and his own poignant prayers, he offers inventive ways of approaching melancholy. . . . An elegantly written testament to the power of transformation through beauty and faith.”
—Christine Hemp, author of Wild Ride Home: Love, Loss, and a Little White Horse, a Family Memoir
“In powerful verse, humble stories, and heartfelt prayers, Rob lets us in on his experience of living with depression. In doing so he offers life: life for himself, life for his readers, life for all who live with mental illness. This is a story of ongoing resurrection.”
—The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Connecticut

Chapter 1: Depression and Joy

Chapter 2: A Peculiar Kind of Pain

Chapter 3: Mystery

Chapter 4: Waiting for the Beauty of the Ruins

Chapter 5: A Ruin in the Woods

Chapter 6: The Practice of I AM

Chapter 7: Moving the Immovable

Chapter 8: Tormented

Chapter 9: Parochial Anorexia

Chapter 10: Opening the Mind

Epilogue: Living in the Realm of Nonetheless

Resources

Acknowledgments

Click For a Book Preview

Keywords

  • depression
  • faith
  • resilience
  • pastoral care
  • spiritual counseling

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