An Over-the-Counter Antidepressant from God

Like every other day, today I went on a walk. A predictably enjoyable ritual. Today, however, rather than my normal music, audiobook, podcast, or audio sermon listen, I opted for quietness and reviewing some Bible verses I’d written down on cards and memorized mostly a long time ago.

One oldie but goodie sustained my attention a good mile and a half. An over-the-counter antidepressant from God.

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise – think about these things. *

So. many. glimmers. In this one little gem.

Here are two of the brightest.

The Glimmer of the Olympic Brothers

“Think about things that are honorable…”

The 2014 Olympic brothers. Remember them? I do. Alex, the first Canadian two time gold medalist for freestyle skiing, and his brother, Frederic. The Bilodeau brothers took a world watching the most renowned skiing competition, and unveiled something even more desirable than the Olympic gold.

Honor.

Frederick celebrated his brother’s gold win with more exuberance and selfless abandon than I’ve ever seen from an Olympian’s family member. Though Frederick’s cerebral palsy prevented his own body from ever having the chance at an Olympic medal, he championed Alex each step of the way. All the way to the gold.

That, right there, is honor.

Alex’s body, on the other hand, was capable of training for the Olympics. In interviews with the press, however, he acknowledged that his brother Frederick’s stamina and willpower exceeded his own. Frederick’s determination, Alex said, often fueled him through the grind of daily practices.

“If he wouldn’t be handicapped, he would probably be a three-time Olympic champion,” Alex said. “He’s got that motivation.”

That too, is honor.

What stuck with me most about their story was how each of the brothers embraced his own skills and abilities – living his life out fully – while also celebrating the other one living out his life out to full capacity.

The Glimmer of the Garbage Truck Driver Rockstar

On my walks I often pass a large daycare that looks like a school building. One day a group of about eight children — two or three years old — ran towards the chainlink fence yelling…. cheering! When they got to the fence, they stood in a row, each with fingers curling around one diamond of the fence.

What’s going on? What are they so excited about?

Photo by Tracy Friesen

Photo by Tracy Friesen

I looked in the direction of the eight children’s gazes and shouts. There was a garbage truck in the street a half block away.

The driver stopped at each house, collected the garbage, then went to the next house and did the same thing. The truck got closer to the playground with each stop, and the cheers grew louder.

Then came the pinnacle moment.

Just as the truck passed the children, the driver waved and gave a loud HONK! Cheers, jumping, and clapping from behind the chainlink fence erupted. The children had been to a rock concert, and the rock star had just ended the show with a final downstroke of his famous guitar riff.

In that moment the rockstar garbage truck driver honored his adoring fans with the honk of acknowledgement, and they honored him with their cheers.

(I later witnessed the same thing a second and third time, and realized this was weekly ritual between the rockstar and his fans!)

On the Path to Feeling Good

What if we thought more about things that are honorable (or true, or gracious, or anything else from the list) rather than the rude comment that person made, the thing our spouse forgot to do, or how we think our colleague is judging us?

Research says we’d be less depressed.

The Bible says we’d be doing something pleasing to God.

Thus, I raise a glass and propose an experiment!

Today —
during the times when we’re driving, walking into our office, using the restroom, washing the dishes, or buckling and unbuckling kids’ seat belts —

during our mind’s downtime today, let’s intentionally change the channel our thoughts are on, and pick one thing from the list to chew on.

Let’s think about the trees’ color today. How deep God’s wisdom is. Grandma’s infectious laugh. Forgiveness you don’t have to work for. Good dinner conversations with family. The Truth and Justice podcast, with Bob’s good-natured demeanor and fair investigations. Frederick and Alex Bilodeau. The Rockstar garbage truck driver getting cheers. The daycare kids getting a honk and a wave.

What can you think of today?

What’s true or honorable that you can think about?


  • Philippians 4:8