Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2015 Nancy Virden
February 21 was a messy, slippery, gray day here in southeastern PA. Safety warnings on television, radio, the internet, and even a phone call from the township told residents to stay home. But I am from Cleveland, why concern myself with a little snow?
One half hour from my warm apartment, I passed spun-out vehicles, and worked to avoid a car weaving across the lane on a hill covered in ice. The took two hours.
I’ve been able to tell only 3 people the cause of some of that delay, a car accident I drove up on soon after it happened. Due to more urgent upheaval, my emotions have not caught up to the month gone by. I don’t know how to speak of or process having watched a family burn alive.
Yesterday though, I purposely drove twice past the scene. There are no flowers by the side of the road, no evidence of a car fire or accident. People continue to zoom by ignoring ominous street signs cautioning us to watch for aggressive drivers.
I wonder how the emergency crew feels who was forced to stand by helplessly near the roaring flames. From about 6 cars away I had a close-up of the double line they formed to privately remove bodies. One little bundle taken to the ambulance looked perhaps to be a baby. The ambulance did not leave; no one could have survived.
I guess now I am talking about it although silently to the public. Maybe you are wondering the point of this story? There isn’t one except sometimes we have to find space in the middle of life’s chaos to allow our emotions to vent a little.
Also in the past month I found out I’m getting divorced, finished and started two big work projects, comforted two suicidal friends, and continued to watch my dad’s dementia steal his brain. Add the strain of other decisions and challenges, and yes, sometimes it is too much.
There is no truth to the statement that God will not give us more than we can handle.
What is absolutely foundational to maneuvering all this is the fact I am not alone. Beyond what caring people and calmer circumstances can provide is the promise of walking with my Savior now, in reality, despite being unable to articulate aloud what is on my heart. He hears the unspoken words, and comforts, teaches, leads, and loves.
Real truth is found in Saint Paul’s words, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation… I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” *
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.
*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com
*(Philippians 4:12-13 NIV)