CompassionateLove Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2012 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries
The car was large and brown. That’s all the recollection I have besides the shape and blurred face of a man calling me from the driver’s seat.
I was walking home from Kindergarten by myself, a three-quarter mile stroll I was rarely in a hurry to complete. Swinging a little bag with each step, observing the surrounding world, I became aware of a car following me.
It was going the speed of a sauntering five year-old, and after a few minutes pulled up alongside.
“Hey little girl, you want a ride?” The man was leaning to face me.
“No” I said. “I’m almost home.”
“C’mon, I’ll take you there faster.”
“No.” This time I was less surprised and more wary.
He said something about my mother in an angrier tone. “Get in, I’ll take you to her.”
Earlier in the school year, a program called “Block Homes” was begun as a safety net for children walking home from school. Parents who were willing to provide safe havens placed a sign in a front window indicating this was an escape route for kids facing an emergency. There was one such home on each block.
I began to look at the fronts of houses and found a Block Home sign. I remember ignoring the man as his car continued to creep and he begged. Upon reaching the sign, I turned to walk up the steps. Suddenly the car took on speed and disappeared around the corner, negating the need for me to even ring the doorbell.
Chances are he knew where I lived and thought I was impertinent. That is one of a few times my stronger-willed attitude has saved my life.
Until adulthood, I never told anyone what had occurred. It was one of many little secrets held in for years because in my view there wasn’t anyone safe to tell.
- A place to store valuables
- Not in harm’s way physically
- A sense of no fear
Until recently, these were the only definitions I knew. However, when it comes to having or being a support in times of struggle, we may add:
- A person who demonstrates trustworthiness in several key areas.
We all need safe people in our lives. Most us of want to be such a person for our loved ones. Discovering or maintaining this kind of safety begins with gaining knowledge and insight.
The Block Home parents presumably understood the lurking dangers of childhood. It’s likely there had been recent frightening crimes and the program was kicked into gear for that reason. They put out signs sending the message, I am available. You can trust me. You are safe here.
Compassionate love is patient and kind, does not keep a record of wrongs, and rejoices in the truth. Any of us seeking emotional shelter will do well to look for these signals. We protect our own well-being by being choosy of whom we trust.
Wanting to be supportive means proactively becoming and remaining safe so that no one has to suffer alone behind a wall of secrets.
Today’s Helpful Word
1 Corinthians 13: 4-6
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
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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 is yours.