Fractal 150 150 Jason Ramsey

This is the point where trying to hold things together for everyone else makes me fall apart.


It’s not supposed to be like this. We were made in His loving image. We are creatures of love, but we don’t know how to show it. The fact that we all have different definitions and expectations of love makes the very notion of it unrealistic and unattainable.


Andrew Solomon, whose Noonday Demon is the bar for the modern psychology of depression, defines depression as the flaw in love. I believed this for many years. Now I can’t take it literally. First, I would have to assume that love is flawed, which, in the case of perfect love – God’s love – it isn’t. I would also have to assume that the existence of depression is a direct result of imperfect love; that depression cannot exist without love.

In fact it can.

Depression is the absence of love.

Depression is the hollow void where love should be. They are separate psychological affects altogether; independent behemoths whose interaction have profound effects on another. They fight for control of our lives.

One always wins.

For me, it has never been love.

Neither has it been sound reasoning or deduction.

I have a tendency to over-love, to be overly affectionate, to pine for romantic bliss. I thought that being loving was part of my human nature, an intrinsic phenomenon cultivated by genetics.

But it isn’t.

My propensity to over-love stems from two withered roots: insecurity and fear. Roots that tangle and entwine. Roots far overgrown and unmaintained. Roots rotted at their ends. I over-love to compensate for the lack of love and affection that I feel from others. I over-love because I long for someone to love me the way I define it.

And that’s stupid, because human love is helplessly flawed.

Life doesn’t have to be complicated. It is what we make it.

If we live in anger, love will fail. If we succumb to desire, love will fail. If we try to change others, love will fail. If we only see fault, love will fail. If we rely on others to make ourselves happy, love will fail.

But if we look to heaven and call upon our Savior, love will prevail.

Inwardly, at least.

Life is fractal.

It’s the withered-rooted tree being chipped with an axe. An ice sculpture ballerina being prodded with a pick. The sooted ash of a house burned down from regret.

Look up.

Bask in the heavenly glow of divine acceptance. Let the love of Christ fill your veins.

It’s the only love that doesn’t empty.


Jason Ramsey

Jason Ramsey is the founder and executive director of ALTARWORK and Amity Coalition. He's married with five kids - including two sets of twins - and walks the tightrope of family, job, and ministry with both eagerness and unease. He gravitates towards mental health advocacy, social and religious equality, hard-life fiction, classical liturgy, modern worship, the Detroit Tigers, and all things Michigan State University. His writing has been featured at Patheos, Venn Magazine, The Mudroom, and The Bees Are Dead, among others. Connect with him below!

All posts by Jason Ramsey
  • Um, yes…what you said.

  • Thank you for your bleeding heart. 🙂

  • So much self-knowledge here…so much understanding of, and responsibility taken for, something that at times feels like it happens to us rather than because of our doing. And yet you dig in and see it for what it might be. And I appreciate how you write it all down, Jason, (so profoundly and poetically) and I keep listening because there are echos of my experience in yours. Somehow, I gain greater understanding of myself as I read your words. I’m only just learning what it might mean to bask in glow of heavenly love…as God love and my experience of human love are melded. But there is something here to be sought…this sitting with God and allowing his quiet love to flow over and into my broken places. Thank you for being brave enough to say what you said. In part, I get it. With love, LAE

    • Thanks, LAE. I’m a novice, too, but I might argue that we all are. We’re all finding our way, somehow, some way. Grace can be VERY uncomfortable. So undeserving. I’m just trying to find a way through the forest without tripping and falling.

  • Spot on. Too often people think of depression as only clinical and not real if its not that extreme. Reality is, we all feel it. Some just feel it far more deeply and it debilitates them. Your description is authentic and gut-level real.