Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle With Mental Illness (c)2016 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
Framed degrees and rows of scholarly books cluttered his office, betraying a long history of study, school loans, difficult exams, sweat, and tears. Who can tell how much fret went into deciding on a college major and choosing to commit his life to a helping profession? The investment paid-off, and a doctoral certificate with honors loomed over the rest: Doctor of Psychology. Psy.D.
My visit to his office followed a hospital admission due to a suicide attempt. It was challenging to understand why I was seeing him when every nerve in my body furiously commanded me to run. Hope was not within reach.
Yet a minute perception, a scintilla of cognition, sparked in the back of my clouded mind. Maybe with all his training and experience this doctor knew something I did not. He had worked with many suicidal people, so perhaps his hope for me held substance.
A different client, intimidated by the busy wall of honors and graduate degrees, left the program. Each of us needed hope and searched in the same place for it. Only one found it there.
Search for hope
It seems America often goes over the edge trying to find a leader, any leader, to solve all its problems. Some look to Democrats, others to Republicans. Third parties gain some attention, while many citizens do not vote.
Young adults and teens are turning their backs on the church in record numbers preferring instead to hope in humanity’s possibilities. Church attendees hunger for mega-size programs more than for God’s Word.
Financial security is on the minds of poor and rich alike as the means to happiness. Education and science serve as safe harbor to differing people. Celebrities and other gods of our design hold our focus. Beauty, fame, and power are landing sites for flights of fancy. Millions anticipate the day romance will make them whole.
Problem is, we cannot control outcomes. Hope placed in the temporary and unstable will evaporate.
A move out-of-state ended my interactions with the doctor whose degrees offered promise. Governments rise and fall. Money comes and goes. Present understanding of science and history will change. Fame is dependant on rumor and spin. Beauty, power, and other gods we create are mirages because in the end they fade, and none of them prevent us from death.
Temporary hope exists where we place it. Until one day, it doesn’t. In 2011, although christian faith was a major part of daily living, my hope was bound up in what would never be. Pretending my marriage was working hadn’t helped. When realization of the truth caused false hope to die, I chose to also.
Since that time of darkness, my eyes have adjusted to the light of reality. This world and everything in it is like shifting sand. Change is inevitable. There is no person who will remain forever because it is impossible. Humans fail, humans move on, humans die.
I have to place my hope in what does not change. Steadfast, faithful, unfailing – these are the foundations on which to build or else why bother? Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection, and yes, his promised return, are more substantive in my thinking than before. The Bible says he is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
We like to limit the authority of whom or what we worship. We like to decide how and when this object of worship serves us. God is often perceived as a villain or genie. Nonetheless, he is love.
He doesn’t throw me away when I’m stubborn and turn to something or someone less deserving. He never stops inviting me back.
God is there when I hurt, fear, and laugh. Peace and strength waver when I neglect spending time with him through Bible study and prayer. Sometimes I walk away – God never does.
Recently, a woman struggling with suicidal thoughts asked the reason I stay alive when major depression challenges my thinking. The answer is simple: because God has me breathing. I surrender to the One who knows what I do not.
No need for framed proof of his wisdom – nature advertises his accomplishments. His words hang on walls in my home and are hidden in my heart. I believe his purpose and plans for each of us are exactly right.
In him lives eternal hope.
Today’s Helpful Word
1 Peter 1 : 3-5 The Message
What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven – and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all – life healed and whole.
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.