Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness
(c)2014 Nancy Virden
You’re tired, your hands are full, you are preoccupied, you just don’t care… any of these reasons and more may be why you kick an item across the floor and not pick it up and carry it. Today I did that with a delivered package. One second it was outside my door and the next it was inside without me exerting much effort.
Why, I don’t recall now, but it was once a hairbrush I didn’t care to pick up or move. Even kicking it seemed too much trouble so it laid where it had fallen a month earlier.
Eventually I got tired of it being in my eyesight, and still too distracted, or apathetic ( I doubt my hands were full for a month!) to move it, I gave it a swift kick. It hit a wall near the bathroom.
Sigh. So much trouble. What a pain. It stayed there for a few more weeks.
My home is not cluttered or dirty. In fact, visitors have called it cozy and relaxing. This would not be the case if the floors were lined with hair brushes, just so you know. Now that I’ve eased my pride, I have to admit the hairbrush stayed put. It bothered me, too. When I passed it would glare like a neon light in my peripheral vision. Each time, I would think, “Nah, not now.”
There was always an excuse. Later. Next time. When I vacuum. It doesn’t matter. I’m busy. My hands are full. So it sat. Nothing changed.
Someone once said to me, “Nothing changes if nothing changes,” and that’s the truth. This annoying hairbrush was not going to carry itself into the bathroom! I had to decide what I wanted – a brush on the sink, or a brush on the floor?
I know this is a silly (yet sadly true) example. A mini-war was between me and my greatest foe, me. Oh, if only life were so simple. If the pains and sorrows of situations that do not seem to change in relationships, circumstances, or health were so easy to fix we would all be happy, know it, and clapping our hands to show it.
Usually though something more difficult has to change. In my experience, that something is most often me. The Serenity Prayer is quoted at all Alcoholics Anonymous and it’s sisters’ 12-step meetings. It reads, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” One version I heard goes like this: God, grant me the serenity to accept the persons I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it is me.”
What is hurting you? Is your agony being perpetuated by your own indecision or lack of willingness? That hairbrush finally made its way to where it belongs. I was the one who had to make that happen. In the same way, if my more dire circumstances need to be faced, fears confronted, resentments forgiven, or relationships healed, I am the one who will have to decide what I want.
So what do you want? You can leave your “hairbrush” where it disrupts your peace and mental health or you can begin to take measures to move it.
Go ahead, give it a kick.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal 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.
*picture from qualitystockphotos