Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
One quick look at world news, and we need a good story to wash off all the corruption and heinous crimes and abuses.
Uplifting articles are available if we will look for them. In the past week, some co-workers showed their support to a young man who rides his bike 6 miles one way to work every day, no matter the weather. They bought him a car. In Baltimore, a returning soldier surprises his children at school.
In my corner of the world, a mentoring program initiated by our governor is teaching middle school students in Cleveland, Ohio to dream beyond supposed limitations. About twenty people from my church are in Houston helping to clean-up after Hurricane Harvey. A friend drove me to the hospital for a procedure and waited for hours. These are good stories, and they are everywhere.
Will we look for them?
“Challenge yourself: Look for the positives in your day …and find happiness! Oftentimes what you look for is EXACTLY what you find,” wrote Dr. Louis Bevilacqua, founder of Sanare Today, a multi-location holistic mental health and addictions Intensive Outpatient Program. If he is right, then we need to look for beauty.
There is a world of difference between looking for the positives and denying struggle. By admitting we hurt, we remain in the truth. This post is not promoting ‘positive-thinking’ in the sense that we cheerlead ourselves into being who we are not or do not want to be. Our challenge is to own up to pain, and find the equally realistic better parts of life.
Today I woke feeling down. Despite temptation to mull over sad truths, I thanked God for rest and warm shelter. Guess what happened next? I smiled! Choosing to acknowledge God and his love made the morning’s start easier and more pleasant.
Where are positives when life is dark?
Understandably, critical life stressors press hard. Sometimes our hearts feel as if they have stopped. We see only pain. Emptiness rules our days, and desperation, our nights. How is looking for the positives supposed to help then?
When I was at that point, I knew only a handful of positives outside agony. Here is the short list.
- In the depths of a sense of worthlessness, I knew other people, many of them strangers in health care, wanted me to survive.
- Emotionally lost and unaware of my footing, I knew only that I was on my feet.
- When suicide seemed the obvious choice, I knew God might have other plans.
- Drowning in a sense of abandonment, I knew Jesus was still present.
These facts were all but buried under hopelessness. Yet because they existed, I could look to them as glimmers in the dark. Clearly, this was no picture of cheerleading! Combined, they were the thread that connected me to the next step. Then the next. Then the next.
Mine was a long recovery. Learning to tally the good created a space where I could start to believe in life’s purposes. It is my hope that you will see your opportunity to look for possibilities instead of focusing on bad news.
Today’s Helpful Word
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
*********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 is yours.