Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2012 Nancy Virden
The love of two people is unconstrained by social norms. One is a king’s son, heir to the throne, and the other has been chosen to replace him.
These friends, whose deep, rich love causes them to weep at parting, are soldiers. They are warriors of renown, tough-guys who stand at each other’s side and watch each other’s back.
Their connection is spiritual and noble, forged over years of subterfuge, great victory, and escape. They are brothers in arms, a tightly knit union. They are Jonathan and David, of about 1020 BC. One is the assumed next in line for kingship over Israel, and the other a musician in King Saul’s palace.
Ultimately, only David survives the onslaught against the two of them. King Saul kills himself. As the new King, David pledges to take care of Jonathan’s descendants. These short soundbites make the story simpler than it actually was; David’s and Jonathan’s lives were complex, their situation, dire.
When my son was born in an emergency situation, a paramedic gave him a teddy bear. I sat it on display as a remembrance. Years later, Tim had not played with the teddy bear. Every now and then I would pull it out and tell him why it was special, then put it away again. Now, it is carefully preserved, untouched by a child’s imagination, unsoiled by love. Tim does not care about that bear as he has no memories of it other than as a showpiece.
Truth is, we tend to not care about people with whom we have no connection. Unless, like David and Jonathan, our relationships include time spent together, a mutual cause, and trust, we will remain distant. Tim and his teddy bear essentially remained strangers while other stuffed animals were cherished by my son.
This is why our communities fragment, why our nation polarizes. In our church groups, at work, in our homes, people are looking at each other as if staring at display pieces with no sentimental value. Connection is missing. How can we love a person we do not know? Chances are, we will not.
The answer to this plight is simple: talk, ask questions, listen. Gain knowledge. What emerges out of the stranger you didn’t care to know will be a surprise. You will uncover commonalities you never suspected.
Your mutual cause? Might I suggest connecting with lonely people? Discover joy, hope, stability, and love together.
Compassionate Love reaches out in a new year. God bless.
NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. 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.