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What a semicolon means to me;

February 2, 2017

The Oxford Pocket American Dictionary of Current English describes the semicolon as a punctuation mark (;) as an intermediate value between a comma and a period. Great, a grammar lesson. Can you sense the sarcasm? Sigh. It is a succinct definition, one I agree with, and find more meaning behind than just a dictionary answer. The semicolon, when you see it has sometimes been a significant emoji representation of a person blinking completed by the right half of a parenthetical mark, e.g. 😉 Wink. Wink.  It’s symbolism goes beyond the expression of grammar and emoting. A semicolon is a pause, or rather a moment to give pause for an individual suffering from depression.

From Lara Rutherford-Morrison’s blog on Bustle, she states that the message of the semicolon “represents  a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. That author is you and the sentence is your life.”  I think that I have seen this also quoted on the The Semicolon Project website, which talks about its mission to provide a symbol that reminds people about having hope. I have to agree that the semicolon brings me pause, a moment to reflect and consider what is happening in my life. I know that I am not alone in the struggle to overcome depression.  Sometimes I feel like I just have no control over my emotions, and sometimes it is just a seasonal or circumstantial torment.

The last year was a really rough ride for me. I will be candid. I lost a family member to suicide just before Thanksgiving in 2015. It broke my heart. I see the heartache it has brought to my family. This was not the first time I had ever experienced this kind of loss. In some ways, life is about loss, but it is also about moving forward. You can only grieve so long before it brings you down. Depression for a time is a like a veil of fog upon your life. You cannot see or think clearly. It is not a good think to spend too much time in your head. When I start seeing that happen to me, I do not let those thoughts take up rent inside my head and taunt me. I have also learned that depression by one definition is an individual’s inability to satisfactorily articulate and express his or her anger or frustrations. Why do you think that the Incredible Hulk was green?

I have struggled with depression for some time now. I have hope, and not just because of the semicolon (;)- I am a Christian. I follow Christ. I have learned about joy. I have learned about people in the Old Testament and in the New Testament who, when tested, went through extremely difficult times in their lives,and suffered depression at times. If they did not, then they were not human. Like I said, the semicolon gives me a moment to pause, and see a new direction in my life’s story. Some people do not have that opportunity any longer, and they succumbed to despair. When I think life is hard, I remember Joseph who was betrayed by his brothers and left for dead. God brought him through some very difficult times. I think about Daniel, whose homeland was invaded and he had to start an entirely new life, and the people worshiped idols and a king that he would not bow down to worship. Daniel was punished for not obeying the king’s decrees, and God brought him through difficult hardships. I think about Job, and how he lost everything, his possessions, livestock, family. If that was not reason to be depressed, I do not know what was? God brought Job to a place of brokenness, then to humility, then to restoration. I think about the apostle Paul, he suffered for Christ after his conversion. He was imprisoned, beaten, stoned and left for dead. He got back up and preached the gospel. Unfortunately there will always be those who do not want to receive good news.

When I draw this (;) on my hand people either stay away from me, or they curiously ask me what it means. I even have a few people who ask me how I am doing now when they notice and see it. I have not tattooed it yet, but I have a design in mind. I will close with this thought, we all go through difficult times and uncertainty, and in my opinion, there is always a better way to deal with your depression in stead of harming yourself and entertaining despair.  For me, God is the answer. Jesus in my heart is the bridge to hope and a future. God meets us where we are at, regardless of our circumstances, lifestyles, bad habits, etc. The thing is, once you have hope in Him, He will transform your heart, and change your life. Take that semicolon and remember that God is the one true author of your life. Pause, and let Him redirect your steps toward hope and a life that has peace. I have discovered how hard it is to have peace without a relationship with Christ.

It is my desire that you have peace and hope in your life. If you need prayer, leave me a comment and I will pray for you. I will continue this dialogue again at a later time. I think it is important to talk about the victories you can have when you consider how God can use something as little as a semicolon to change the way you think. Jesus is my semicolon.





Rutherford-Morrison, Lara. “What Does A Semicolon Tattoo Mean? How The Semicolon Project Is Using The Symbol To Support People With Mental Illness – PHOTOS.” Bustle. Bustle, 31 Aug. 2015. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.



* “The Semicolon Project Genealogy Project.” Geni_family_tree. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.
* Abate, Frank R., ed. The Pocket Oxford American Dictionary of Current English. New York: Oxford UP, 2002. Print.
–Please Note: I am still learning how to site sources on the Internet. It was something I hope I am getting better at doing. I try to give credit where credit is due should I quote someone. I will also do my best to provide references when I blog.
  1. Amen … great post … thank you!

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