Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
I had a brief conversation with a woman who was very wealthy. Her money shielded her from fears and injustices many others face. She proceeded to describe why she felt some humans deserve to be relegated to trash. Something about eye shadow. I wanted to puke.
I wonder what she would have thought of Molly.
Molly Tries to Start Over
Molly was thirty-three years old when I met her. A mother to several children, she was not raising any of them. Her sobriety was less than one year old, and she was in the worst quandary of her life.
You see, Molly was pregnant again. One might think this would be old-hat to her, to deliver a baby then give it up. That’s not how she saw it. That’s not how her heart felt it.
She was experiencing this pregnancy as if it were her first. She knew of her other children and cared about them, however that love and ache was fairly new. No longer in a haze of nearly constant drug abuse and alcoholic binges, she was comprehending reality. Unfortunately for her, the truth unveiled reason for regrets and sorrow.
I first met Molly when she about to give birth. She was glad for her recent victories, and proud she had not used drugs or alcohol throughout the entire pregnancy. Yet her heart was breaking. Family Services had informed her she could not keep this child either, despite parenting classes, collecting a baby’s material needs such as a crib and diapers, and attending her 12-step programs faithfully. Why?
Molly was homeless.
She told me about a man who had used her before, paid her for sex so she could get drugs. Her lifestyle at that time had been especially self-destructive, and as a result, Molly was uncertain as to the father’s identity . Nevertheless, this one man was making her an offer. If she would be willing to serve his sexual cravings, she could live in his house.
We spoke of second chances and eternal hope. Weeping, she prayed to receive Jesus Christ’s ultimate gift of love for her.
Molly is Blackmailed into Slavery
A few weeks later, we met again. She held a beautiful baby girl and grinned widely as I exclaimed over her new daughter. Molly grew quiet. Anxiety crossed her face as she answered my questions. Yes, she was still sober. Yes, she had found a home. No, she did not have custody of this child.
“Then how is it you have your little girl with you?” I asked.
“Her father has custody.” Molly’s eyes were downcast. “We took a paternity test.” She sighed helplessly. “It’s the man I told you about. He has agreed to let me live with him and our daughter. He says he will take her away if I ever fail to please him.”
“Molly! That’s abusive!”
“I know. But I have no choice. Nancy, what else can I do? He has full custody!”
We Need Not Play Favorites
We need to grasp what is reality for some people. Often we do not know what to do in desperate situations like Molly’s, and so do nothing. It is true, social problems are overwhelming. It is easier to hide in front of the TV or go shopping than think about it.
We do have at least five options for making a difference.
- Believe people’s stories. Anytime we assume someone is exaggerating or has ulterior motives for crying “abuse” before we research all the facts, we are choosing blindness.
- Vote for healthcare for the poor or sponsor a family yourself. If Molly had sufficient and appropriate health care her story would probably look much different. She has Bipolar Disorder and cannot afford meds. This particular mental illness, if left untreated, can prevent a person from holding down a job, or making quality life decisions.
- Volunteer as a mentor to someone who is different from you. Spend time with people in need. Listen and care.
- Pray with compassion. God hears the cries of broken hearts.
- Verbally stand up to bullies with superior attitudes. More importantly, make sure you are not one.
Abuse is important. Each time. Each person. Always.
Today’s Helpful Word
“Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.“
Comments are always welcome (see tab below). 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.