Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness
Excerpt from Always the Fight: A Living Testimony of What Only God Can Do
Nancy Virden 2013 (Tate Publishing)
All of Jonathan’s fifth year he dreamed about being six. He envisioned that age to be a magical time of equality with grownups, independence, and better toys. Repeatedly I heard comments like, “When I’m six…” and I can’t wait to be six!” The morning finally arrived, and I entered his room to awaken him.
“Happy Birthday, Jonathan,” I sang out.
Immediately came the sleepy reply, “Next year I’ll be seven!”
Truth is, we may not appreciate much in this life until it is gone. Some adults want to live in the past and bemoan their loss of youth. Parents complain when summer comes around because school is out, and then long for those children when they leave for college. An employee may miss his crotchety ex-boss after a new one makes life even more miserable. Whether a spouse, a pet, or an old bicycle, it does not matter. A special effort is required, a commitment to appreciation for someone to enjoy what he or she has been given in the present.
One example used to be my annual sabbatical to the Christmas tree. Each Christmas season, one night after anyone else who may be in the household is fast asleep, I would gather a blanket and pillow to set up camp by our tree. My favorite instrumental music played in the background as I began talking to God. I told him about my year and praised him for being with me through it all, then listened.
He whispered of his love for me; I felt centered and secure. As I thanked him, silently the miracle would happen. Gazing at the tree endowed with twinkling lights, through my tears I saw prisms. Each tiny lamp became a shooting star. Hundreds of rainbow-colored luminescent spires shot to the ceiling and I remembered this is the God who formed light out of nothing. He is the grand Creator of this entire splendor and yet held me in his hands. He was to be trusted. I had everything for which to be thankful.
This commitment to appreciation at Christmas time could stand to be renewed. Can I stop and smell the roses? Sure, in the summer! Suspending the busyness of the holidays just requires fixing my eyes on the Light as I view Christmas trees through grateful tears.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.