Category: About Ken David Stewart

A Eulogy For a Dearly Loved Brother by Ken David Stewart


A Eulogy for a Dearly Loved Brother

Alan Duncan Stewart (Part One)

Hello and welcome family and friends of Allan Stewart. Allan is enjoying a great day today. He just moved from Earth to heaven on August 16, 2017. If you want to think of it another way, Allan is just on vacation.  I will explain what I mean in detail later.

Allan had a chronic progressive illness called myotonic dystrophy. Although Alan was probably already symptomatic in his early twenties, he didn’t become critically ill until two years ago. During this time of crisis his wife Cora, brother Neil, myself and Allan’s sister-in-law, Martha Stewart, went to visit Allan every day. Although we prayed fervent and ardent prayers for Allan, part of me still feared the Allan could pass away that summer.

Miraculously, Allan beat the odds and his health showed significant improvement over the next two years. Allan was transferred from Concordia Hospital to live permanently at Deer Lodge Center. During his stay at Deer Lodge, Allan was well-liked by the staff and was treated with compassion, professionalism, and was shown great love. The family wishes to express our utmost gratitude to the Deer Lodge staff and to any staff members that are present this morning, we thank you. We want you to know that your hard work, dedication and compassion is greatly appreciated by the whole Stewart family.

I only really knew Allan well in his younger years when we were both kids. We would come to know each other some more as we became teenagers and young adults. After a couple of decades we were no longer in close contact with each other. When Cora phoned Martha to tell her that Allan was in the hospital and was seriously ill, the whole family came down to circle the wagons.

My wife Martha once told me she was impressed with the way the Stewart family rapidly rallied around when there was a crisis. This is very true. It’s just a fact. Many people have made derogatory statements over the years about our family and have not held us in the highest regard, but this is one thing that cannot ever be held against us. Whenever one of us is in trouble, the immediate family, extended family, adopted family and close friends always join forces in a rescue mission. No one fails to heed the battle cry.

I want to emphasize that any of the Stewart family that have any resentments or grudges toward another Stewart need to forgive them right away this morning. This is a Biblical command. I must say that I’m very proud to be a Stewart.

The doctors at Concordia Hospital did not give the family with a very promising prognosis in concerning Allan’s health. They told us it Allan would not get any better as as time passed. With myotonic dystrophy being a chronic and progressive illness, we would likely see a sudden regression in Allan’s health. Allan would then pass away.

Allan beat the odds by rebounding and rallying for two more years while at Deer Lodge Center. On many visits to see Allan, Martha, Cora, Neil and me laid hands on Allan and prayed allowed the prayers for Allan’s healing. God heard these prayers and in His compassion granted Allan two more years of life on this earth; a time in which Allan truly found the Lord and became a very Godly man. Allan’s wife for told me during this time that Allan accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and became a very spiritual man. The credit for this will ultimately be going to God, but Cora was a key instrument in developing Allan’s enormous spiritual growth in his latter years.

Cora was truly a loving and devoted wife to Allan and knew that the most important thing that she could do for him was to bring him into the Kingdom of Heaven. Since the evening of Wednesday, August 16, 2017 Allan’s physical suffering has ceased. He is happier where he is than we are here. Allan is exceedingly, abundantly happier than he’s ever been in his earthly life. We cannot imagine how much joy that Allan is experiencing right now.

The other day I told Cora that I had a vision of Allan sitting on a beautiful, multi-colored stool in one of Heaven’s forests petting a group of rabbits. I could see the rabbits sitting on Allan’s lap and looking up at him with an enraptured look in their eyes. There was a black one, a brown rabbit a white one, gray one and possibly some other color. Yes, there are animals in Heaven! We get all our pets back and get to pick out some more awesome new pets.

Years ago when my wife Martha’s father Pastor Frank Peters passed away, I had a vision of him riding a white horse in Heaven. Not only did I not remember that a white horse was mentioned in the Bible, but Martha’s sister, Esther told me that her dad had at one time in his life rode horses.

I recall that I once had a vision of myself rolling down a hill in Heaven with a bunch of Chinese black and white pandas. How cool is that!

 

Recently, I got a word from the Lord that anyone of you who is not a Christian and has not accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will be both saved and will be a Christian before I’m finished preaching today or within the next twenty-four hours. I got this message straight from God and this is a mighty promise indeed! I’m going to put Him in remembrance of that now. God has never let me down.  We will be having a voluntary altar call at the end of the service and all of you will have an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior this morning and will know for sure where you’re going when you die and you will be certain that place is in Heaven with the Lord Jesus. After doing this. your name will immediately be written in the Book of Life and you will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that you now have eternal life.

How to Get Saved:

The process of getting saved or spending eternity in Heaven is very simple. It is very simple as it is God’s will that none will perish or go to hell. There is one thing that you are required to do to receive this free gift of eternal life. You must say this prayer. It may be said aloud in your own words:

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus. Thank you for dying on the Cross in my place. Thank you for paying the debt in full for all my sins, past, present and future. Thank you that there is no further price that I need to pay. I repent of my sins Lord. I am sorry for what I have done. Thank you Heavenly Father that You sacrificed Your Son’s earthly body for me. Today Jesus, I turn my will and my life over to You. Thank you for coming into my heart. My desire is to follow you all the days of my life.

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Spirituality and Depression by Ken David Stewart


Episode Five

What is the relevance of spiritual faith to a depressed person?

My short answer would be that it absolutely necessary for recovery, but that it is also a two- edged sword.

The purpose of this chapter I will be primarily talking about Christianity. I will also talk about the role of twelve step groups a little later in the chapter.

I must point out that I am a Christian and have been so for the greater part of my adult life. I was not brought up in a church going Christian family, although I think that my father believed in God. In some sense, I might have been a Christian as a young boy, although I didn’t verbalize the prayer of salvation because I had never heard it and wouldn’t have known what it meant. As kids growing up the nineteen fifties and early sixties, we were blessed that the public school system was favourable towards prayer and the daily reading of Bible stories. As all my elementary school teachers included these two routines following the playing of Oh Canada, the Canadian national anthem, I assumed that it was mandatory for my elementary grade teachers to lead us in the Lord’s prayer and to read to us from a book containing Bible stories.

I now think that because of these two spiritual exercises practised by the public school system I came to believe in God. In reality, I cannot remember a time where I doubted God’s existence. I was probably not a saved, born again Christian, but could definitely be considered to be a believer. This does not mean that I always tried to walk out the Christian lifestyle. There were many times in my life when I didn’t.

I didn’t officially get ‘saved’ as it is termed in Christianity until I was twenty-seven years old. This occurred only because an ardent local minister came to my mobile home to witness to me. Ironically, this was not the first occasion would someone tried to lead me to the Lord.

Around two years earlier, a young Christian couple came to my apartment to share the Good News of the Gospel with me. During this occasion I was not receptive at all to hearing about Jesus. I only recall that the man who tried to witness to be me was called Hugh and for years after I felt sorry for the way I treated these young evangelists.

Hugh, if by some miracle, you have been reading this blog post or listen to my podcast show, I want to sincerely apologize for my behavior that evening. I just want you to know that you planted a seed and that I became a born-again Christian two years after you witnessed to me.

This has entirely nothing to do with today’s topic, but I just looked up at the calendar on my desktop computer to see that I am writing my first draft of this blog on July 14, 2017. On this day or date, I should say, that in 1966, I was at the Winnipeg Arena watching the Rolling Stones in concert. I can recall that my ticket cost fourteen dollars, the Rolling Stones only played for twenty-five minutes, with sound transmission coming through  their woefully inadequate Vox amplifiers and that the girls screaming from the audience almost drowned out The Rolling Stones’s music.

Now back to my original topic, depression and spirituality. My whole thesis is that the depressed person has to one degree or another lost hope. The answer, of course, is to regain the lost hope or possibly experience hope for the first time. That’s where Christianity comes in. The Gospel message offers the guarantee that if we have truly given our life to the Lord, when we get to heaven we will enjoy an eternal and wonderful life.

There are certain theological streams that seem to contend that this is about the only promise that Christians can count upon and that this only occurs after physical death and the end of our earthly life.

Although this hope can be very comforting, I was also looking for hope during my earthly lifetime. I was never quite satisfied with a Christian theology that implies that our life on earth was just to be tolerated as we attempted to live a holy life, but that for the real reward, we would have to wait for heaven.

 

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Living With Depression by Ken David Stewart


Episode Four

 

In January 2017 a very unusual thing happened. I received a phone call from a teacher who taught a special education class. He asked if I could cover his class for two days. As the teacher’s medical condition was more complicated then he first expected, my assignment turned out to be multi-day assignment lasting seven teaching days. I probably had not taught seven consecutive full days in about fifteen years.

After two days, I was visibly tired. By the fourth day my wife almost begged me to cancel the remainder of my assignment. Although I knew that I was severely exhausted and that there was a real possibility that I could die if I finished the assignment, I told my wife that I was determined to teach the whole seven days, no matter what.

Although, I was able to fulfill my job commitment, I had not made a wise decision from the perspective of my own health.

Two weeks prior to accepting this assignment, I made another very foolish and risky decision which I would not recommend to anyone. I’ve been reading Dr. Peter Breggin’s books that talked about the dangers of taking psychotropic medication. Dr. Breggin had recommended embarking on a very gradual withdrawal of these medications only if one was under the close supervision of medical professional. For some strange reason, probably my propensity to take risks, I did not follow Dr. Breggin’s instructions. I attempted to stop taking all my medications at once. Consequently, I experienced horrible withdrawal symptoms for a couple of days. By the third day of drug withdrawal my wife became very worried about me and called for an ambulance. After spending several hours in the hospital the nurse said that I could go home. I have very few memories of this incident. I recall the paramedics talking to me before they transported me to the hospital and the nurse waking me up, but I don’t remember the medical technicians doing medical tests on me.

Shortly after this experience I made a rational decision to slowly and gradually resume taking my psychotropic medications. After I completed my seven day subbing extravaganza I contracted either a viral or bacterial infection. This illness was serious enough to require two rounds of different antibiotics. Even with this medical intervention, it took my body and mind three more months before I felt well enough to attempt a return to work.

My return to substitute teaching was successful, but painful.

 

I found that I constantly had to push myself to complete an assignment. As I needed the money, I probably accepted more teaching gigs that I should have. I was more than ready to go on holidays in June 2017.

I’m hoping and praying for the day that I would be capable of consistently working a succession of full days and still have the energy to pursue my hobbies after the work day is done.

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Episodes 1 to 4 Inclusive of Living with Depression by Ken David Stewart


Living with Depression by Ken David Stewart

I have had to live with major depressive disorder for most of my adult life. I would estimate that this disease has consumed about forty percent of my productive years.

A few of the symptoms of depression are much more disabling than others. One of the most frustrating symptoms in my life is the severe and chronic fatigue that is commonly found in persons with this disorder. The chronic fatigue may be significantly prevalent for weeks and even months. Sometimes, I find that the fatigue and heaviness appears to go into remission for part of the year.

Why this happens, I am not sure. I am just extremely grateful to get these short seasons of relief. I tend to perk up a bit when the summer season comes along. This could indicate that I also have seasonal affective disorder.

The chronic fatigue that often accompanies depression may cause financial distress. Unless you have good group insurance benefits at work, you may find that your household income can be significantly depleted for parts of the year. When this occurs, worry and fear will usually appear.

I should state at this point that all chronic fatigue may not be attributable to the disease of depression. I have often found that a severe lack of energy may ensue after I have a serious viral or bacterial infection. When my cold and flu symptoms dissipate I have often found that my debilitating fatigue will continue for weeks or even months after. It is quite likely that I suffer from another illness known as CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Episode two

Chronic fatigue will almost always negatively impact one’s relationships with other people. Especially if they have a significant other. The depressive’s spouse finds that her husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend chooses not to go out with them or do much of anything, especially if the activity involves other people and socializing. The partner that is unaffected by major depressive disorder may find that they are spending an inordinate amount of their time alone, or are doing many extra curricular or social activities by themselves.

 

It’s not always that a person suffering with depression does not want to attend the occasional social function. Sometimes they wish they could go to an activity with their partner, but simply don’t have the energy to do it. Even if they occasionally feel that they may be able to ‘push themselves’ to go out, they may be worried that they will bring other people down. Who really wants to hang out with a depressed individual anyway?

When I am in my worst phases of depression I feel that I don’t have the energy to carry on a conversation with anyone. When the depressive thinks about going out for social or group or church event, all they can think about is how much of their already depleted energy it might take to shave, shower, brush their teeth, select and put on clean clothes, etc. The contemplated energy consumption may seem overwhelming to the depressed person. If the depressed individual owns a car they may ask their partner to drive as they believe that they may be too fatigued to operate a vehicle safely. Worry and guilt are two emotions that a person with depression will frequently encounter.

Episode three

 

For the past two weeks I have been feeling relatively well. For most people there should be nothing special about this. For a person suffers from major depression disorder one good day is a day to be celebrated.

 

When I experience one or more happy days strung together, I started to get uncomfortable. I struggle the feeling of happiness in my life. It seems to be such a rare phenomenom for me. I’m so used to feeling depressed, without hope and having very little faith that my life will ever get any better. I was on my default setting when I was feeling exhausted and plagued by physical and emotional pain. I’ve have often thought that this was just my lot in life. I believe that this is why I am probably happier than the average person when I ocassionally experience a good day.

 

I went through a very rough winter season that seems to have started in November of 2016. I suffer from what my doctor termed a mild case of COPD. This illness appears in a mild form when I don’t have an upper respiratory infection. When I catch a bad cold or flu, everything changes for me. I’ve become so ill that I barely have the strength to get out of bed.

During my episodes of severe COPD in the past, I’ve been able to continue with my fiction writing, but not my substitute teaching. This time, however, even my writing was a ‘no go’. Not only did my body feel shut down, so did my mind. I couldn’t seem to string together two cohesive thoughts. I have been writing fiction novels and plays, oft and on, for several years now.

Although I am technically retired, I work part-time as a substitute teacher. I enjoy subbing very much and take as many assignments as much as my health and energy and energy levels allow. Presently, I’m on holidays and have been enjoying the last two weeks immensely.

I’ve experienced long periods in my life where I cannot feel joy in anything that I do. This affects every area of my life as why would I want to pursue activities that no longer give me any pleasure? This is what is known in the psychiatric literature as a condition termed adhedonia or the inability to feel pleasure in the ordinary experiences and activities of daily living. This is a very painful place to be.

Feeling somewhat better in December 2016, I returned to my work as a substitute teacher. The Christmas holiday season actually went relatively well for me and that is highly unusual. This was probably due to the fact that I had quality time to spend with my wife and my goddaughter. I will never forget the night all three of us watched Christmas videos. Most of them were very funny and I ended up doing something I haven’t done years. I laughed out loud.

 

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Episodes One and Two of Living with Depression by Ken David Stewart


Living with Depression by Ken David Stewart

I have had to live with major depressive disorder for most of my adult life. I would estimate that this disease has consumed about forty percent of my productive years.

A few of the symptoms of depression are much more disabling than others. One of the most frustrating symptoms in my life is the severe and chronic fatigue that is commonly found in persons with this disorder. The chronic fatigue may be significantly prevalent for weeks and even months. Sometimes, I find that the fatigue and heaviness appears to go into remission for part of the year.

Why this happens, I am not sure. I am just extremely grateful to get these short seasons of relief. I tend to perk up a bit when the summer season comes along. This could indicate that I also have seasonal affective disorder.

The chronic fatigue that often accompanies depression may cause financial distress. Unless you have good group insurance benefits at work, you may find that your household income can be significantly depleted for parts of the year. When this occurs, worry and fear will usually appear.

I should state at this point that all chronic fatigue may not be attributable to the disease of depression. I have often found that a severe lack of energy may ensue after I have a serious viral or bacterial infection. When my cold and flu symptoms dissipate I have often found that my debilitating fatigue will continue for weeks or even months after. It is quite likely that I suffer from another illness known as CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Episode two

Chronic fatigue will almost always negatively impact one’s relationships with other people. Especially if they have a significant other. The depressive’s spouse finds that her husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend chooses not to go out with them or do much of anything, especially if the activity involves other people and socializing. The partner that is unaffected by major depressive disorder may find that they are spending an inordinate amount of their time alone, or are doing many extra curricular or social activities by themselves.

 

It’s not always that a person suffering with depression does not want to attend the occasional social function. Sometimes they wish they could go to an activity with their partner, but simply don’t have the energy to do it. Even if they occasionally feel that they may be able to ‘push themselves’ to go out, they may be worried that they will bring other people down. Who really wants to hang out with a depressed individual anyway?

When I am in my worst phases of depression I feel that I don’t have the energy to carry on a conversation with anyone. When the depressive thinks about going out for social or group or church event, all they can think about is how much of their already depleted energy it might take to shave, shower, brush their teeth, select and put on clean clothes, etc. The contemplated energy consumption may seem overwhelming to the depressed person. If the depressed individual owns a car they may ask their partner to drive as they believe that they may be too fatigued to operate a vehicle safely. Worry and guilt are two emotions that a person with depression will frequently encounter.

 

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Living With Depression by Ken David Stewart Introduction


Living with Depression by Ken David Stewart

I have had to live with major depressive disorder for most of my adult life. I would estimate that this disease has consumed about forty percent of my productive years.

A few of the symptoms of depression are much more disabling than others. One of the most frustrating symptoms in my life is the severe and chronic fatigue that is commonly found in persons with this disorder. The chronic fatigue may be significantly prevalent for weeks and even months. Sometimes, I find that the fatigue and heaviness appears to go into remission for part of the year.

Why this happens, I am not sure. I am just extremely grateful to get these short seasons of relief. I tend to perk up a bit when the summer season comes along. This could indicate that I also have seasonal affective disorder.

The chronic fatigue that often accompanies depression may cause financial distress. Unless you have good group insurance benefits at work, you may find that your household income can be significantly depleted for parts of the year. When this occurs, worry and fear will usually appear.

I should state at this point that all chronic fatigue may not be attributable to the disease of depression. I have often found that a severe lack of energy may ensue after I have a serious viral or bacterial infection. When my cold and flu symptoms dissipate I have often found that my debilitating fatigue will continue for weeks or even months after. It is quite likely that I suffer from another illness known as CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome.2017-06-19 09.04.03

A New Direction Podcast


Doing Life Together A New Podcast by Ken David Stewart

Some of my readers may be aware that I have been doing my own podcasts on Podbean.com and ITunes for several months now. The title of my podcast was formerly The Ken David Stewart Podcast. Its new name is Doing Life Together. I found that with my former podcast I was covering a variety of topics that did not appear to have much of a common theme. Doing it that way made it nearly impossible to reach a niche audience.

For my new podcasts I will be placing a greater emphasis upon applying spiritual principles to how we handle the tough challenges of daily life. The content will be from a Christian perspective, but will also be of value to non believers or anyone who is facing difficult situations in their life.

I am praying that this podcast will be very interactive by way of the listening audience providing both feedback and comments. In my podcasts and blogs I try to be very honest and open. I did a podcast last night and will include it in today’s blog post.

God bless you all,

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