“Love one another.”
It was a commandment (the greatest according to Jesus), but it was also a sort of primal occupational therapy. When a person is hurt or has a surgery that incapacitates them, occupational therapy gradually prepares then to resume their normal activities. Love does that.
Example: You are depressed. Then, love one another. Go out there and help alleviate the suffering of someone else. Volunteer at the homeless shelter once a month. Talk to the people. Listen to their stories. Go around to the tables refilling water or tea glasses. You will feel better.
You are grief stricken. Then love one another. Reach out to family and friends who are hurting as well. Call them. Drop by to see them. Share your stories. Laugh with them, cry with them. Grieving takes time—but love leads to a speedier recovery.
You are lonely. Then go to where people are—but go to places that will make you feel better and not worse. It’s a club centered around one of your interests. It’s an art class or a book club or a church small group. Once you get there, love one another. Make it more about them and less about you.
You are angry. After you have had a little time to cool down, get over it and love one another. Say a prayer for the person you are so frustrated with. You may recall, Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Maybe you write a note to them saying, “Let’s get together and talk—life’s too short to spend it mad.” Nothing sucks the heart out of a good day like unresolved anger.
Maybe you have shame or regrets. Maybe you have let yourself or others down. Then, love one another. Baby step your way out of those dark places by very concrete acts of care and kindness. Altruistic acts have been documented to give people an endorphin kick, not to mention the fact that it reminds us we may not be so bad after all.
It’s pretty amazing how we can love our way out of most holes. And as for the one’s we can’t?…well, God loves us out of those.