The Courage to Change the Things I Can

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2014 Nancy Virden

photo-26229816-1119202014-holiday-cats-11Cinnamon the cat was a few weeks old when he was given to my youngest son. As he grew, his favorite game was hide-n-seek (Ok, that could be my son or the cat).

Cinnamon played the game by squeezing under chairs and batting at passing feet. For fourteen years, we didn’t know when those paws would catch us.

Cinnamon was a fighter. One day, the neighbor’s German Shepherd saw Cinnamon crossing under the fence and into its territory. Within a split-second the scene was a three-pound, yellow, mid-grown kitten with its back arched, hissing at an incensed, crazily barking and drooling head that was two times bigger. I called out to the dog’s owner.

It wasn’t necessary. The dog hovered just a little too close and out flew those kitty paws. “Yelp!” One swipe of Cinnamon’s claws across the big beast’s nose, and the little victor was home free.

I was afraid Cinnamon was losing that battle. However, he had the courage to change odds to his favor.  The dog wanted a cat; the cat wanted freedom. Cinnamon’s more profound motive pushed him above what seemed to be his limits.  

The title of this post is the second phrase of the famous Serenity Prayer, read and quoted and lifted to God in desperate hope during anonymous meetings around the globe. Quality decisions are made to deal with life on life’s terms as people in the process of change practice courage.

Cinnamon might have thought himself a lion. People trying to build new lives are probably less sure of themselves.  Courage to take first steps toward changing the world, our families, or our choices may mean giving up something we want or leaving a familiar situation in which we feel less afraid.  There will always be the ferocious and scary looming over our heads. We are only in charge of our response. 

Will we seek help?  Will we try something we haven’t tried? Will we ask God for his will and the strength to carry it out? 

In our new 2015, we have the claws to fight back and win.


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.

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