The Study

The road is longer than I thought.

Yes: longer, and much harder too.

The pain is great. Why weren’t we told?

You didn’t hear Him when He warned you.

The victory songs we sang were lies.

Not lies, but only half the truth.

There is no sign yet in the skies.

Not yet, but His scars are our proof.

What can we hope for, as we wait?

For grace sufficient for our thorns.

And will this see us through His gate?

Of that you can be sure.

And then will day consume our night?
The endless day will start.

And will our faith then be made sight?

Yes, sight to fill your heart. 

~ “The Road” by Matthew Pullar (After Christina Rossetti’s “Uphill”)

My study has been a place of discovery. From a tiny space no bigger than a closet at my first church to a comfortable room with an easy chair, desk, and its own bathroom in Pennsylvania; from our unfinished basement in the Finger Lakes to an austere counseling office where I sat behind a large desk in a high-back leather chair – the precise space hasn’t mattered much. What matters are the things I’ve found out about God, myself, and the world as I’ve read books, listened to music, and reflected on popular culture to prepare for weekly sermons, monthly newsletter articles, and daily e-devotions.

In the study of my bipolar mind, I have collected books, movies, and songs that have impacted my understanding of my mental illness. The reflections that follow are roughly arranged chronologically, according to when I encountered the works (or when they most affected me).

These reflections are followed by a sermon called “Spiritual Depression” which I delivered on August 17, 2008 at Greenlawn Presbyterian church. This was in the period between when I attempted suicide and when I finally went on disability. It represents, in many ways, the end of my pastoral career, and, ultimately, the beginning of my writing career.

Time and space do not permit me to share all the resources that have influenced my life with bipolar, so I’ve included a section at the end of “The Study” called “On the Shelf” that points to some practical places you might go for further information and support.

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