Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness
Nancy Virden (c)2013
Research shows us that we cannot deeply know more than 180 people. These are the friends we trust, the close teams of which we are members, our families, and perhaps people who count on our care for their wellbeing. Beyond these we do not seem to have the capacity to move past acquaintance.
Among the less-than 180 people I know, there have been the following major, life-changing struggles this past year:
Hopelessness * dissolved business * discovering a daughter was raped * near death * stroke * multiple familial deaths * divorce * job loss * serious injury * homelessness * parental emotional abuse * weakening health * losing a friend to murder * detox * robbery … and this is by far not a comprehensive list.
Among the same individuals referenced above, there were the following joys:
New babies * finding God * recovery * job promotion * free season tickets * furthering education * new career * regular home care visits from friends * freedom from addiction * travels to exotic places * 1st apartment * closer relationships within family * forgiveness * wedding * playing with children * … again, this is not a comprehensive list.
Life is full of struggles. Those of us who focus on that fact are generally called pessimists, or realists. However, there is another perspective that is equally real; life is full of joys. Looking at that fact are those of us who are optimistic and grateful. Does life hurt? Oh yeah, big-time. Pain can be overwhelming and unbearable in the moment. Recovery is not always swift.
Searching for good in the middle of great suffering is not easy, and perhaps not very realistic. What makes more sense to me is to recognize that “this too shall pass.” Morning always follows evening, a new year follows the last, and if we choose it, hope will follow despair.
The golden key to a decently tolerable new year is to “wait.” Wait for the miracle, and for the new day. It is coming! Don’t give up now; light is just around the corner! These struggles are temporary though they may feel endless. Hang on to hope, even if for awhile it is someone else’s hope.
When we choose to believe, “this too shall pass,” life can become surprising. Instead of our eyes shifting back and forth expecting more hurt, we find our quest is to hunt for the promise’s manifestation. Along the way we discover patches of radiance we would have otherwise missed.
Great things come to those who wait. 2014 will be a year full of joys.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from my experiences with 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.