Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness
(c)2014 Nancy Virden
It’s not a sight one would see often. Surrounded on a speeding freeway by cars that seemed to dodge and dance the Do Si Do, I concentrated on driving around a curve without starting a potential 100 car pile-up. My passengers, distracted in conversation, also missed the scene on the side of the road until we passed by too quickly to stop.
A broken-down car was squeezed into an almost non-existent shoulder at the end of the treacherous curve. How the driver managed to pull over, I’ll never know. Within a few inches of hundreds of speeding vehicles, were an elderly man and woman. Both appeared to be in their mid eighties.
Wearing a buttoned suit and tie, the man stood tall, looking straight ahead, undistracted and dignified as if in a receiving line ready to shake the hands of heads of state. Next to him, his slightly stooped companion sported poise in a fancy dress. She waited casually as if confidently expecting everything to turn out alright.
Clearly, neither of these people were physically able to change a tire or crawl under the car for roadside repairs. They were not safe.
I turned to my passengers, “I’m going to stop.” By the time those words were spoken, we had sailed another 100 feet.
“You can’t,” someone said from the backseat.
“Does anyone have a phone?”
“I do,” and one was passed to me already connected to 911.
The voice on the other end said, “Emergency. What is your situation?”
“Hello, I’m at mile marker 39 on route 70 South.”
“About a quarter-mile back there is an elderly couple standing beside a broken down car. They aren’t safe there, but traffic is so fast no one can stop. I wanted you to know.”
“Where on Route 70 did you say they are?”
“Approximately mile 38.”
“We have received numerous calls about them. We know they are there and help is on the way.”
An incalculable amount of moments are lost in this country listening to dire and fearsome news reports, and reading ratings-motivated headlines. Lest we become cynical beyond repair, let’s remember that although I saw no one reaching out to a couple in need, many people were doing just that. This didn’t make the news.
We have some control over how much stress and fear we experience. We can turn off the news and proactively focus on finding the many quiet random kindnesses around us and around the world. Better yet, join in the fun and do one anonymous kind deed each day this new year.
Compassionate love changes the world one broken-down car at
Today’s Helpful Word
If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you-Jesus
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.
*pictures from kozzi.com and rgbstock.com