Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2014 Nancy Virden
Her name is Kara*. She is alive today because she missed her carotid artery by millimeters in her attempt to kill herself. Her long scar is apparent to anyone who glances her way, but you won’t catch Kara wearing a scarf.
Already, you may be thinking, I don’t want to hear this; it’s going to be a horror story. How do you believe you would feel or react if Kara came to you seeking a job? Would you hire her to babysit? Run your business? Sell your product?
Kara is a lovely young woman who was told all her life she is an ugly mistake. She’s very intelligent, composed, and funny. Her self-protective walls are so thick it will require a lot of patience to win her heart, but it will be worth it.
Would you invite her over to spend time with your family if she visited your church? Kara is one of millions who carry their wounds where people can see. Some are easier to spot when they speak. Others are observable because wear and tear show on their body. Behavior can be a give-away too.
Most of us who have attended churches have experienced the cold pew. That’s when no one speaks to us, or at least only superficially. It can take months and even years to find someone willing to invite you over, chat on the phone, or meet you for coffee. It’s painful sometimes.
According to Jesus’ choices, he preferred the company of the less well put-together. He valued honesty and contrite, or repentant hearts. Snobby religiosity bugged him.
Consider opening your mind to the Kara’s of the world. Look for the person behind the scars.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences 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.
*Not her real name
Picture by NAZRETH on rgb stock.comozzi.com