Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2015 Nancy Virden
Where does darkness go when light is present? In the exact spot of illumination, no matter how small, it has to flee.
Inside Seneca Caverns in western Ohio, our tour guide shut off all the lights. Thick blackness wrapped each of us in a cocoon; even my hand resting on my nose remained indistinguishable. Then someone, maybe the guide, turned on a flashlight. Its usually strong beam was almost engulfed by the vague shadows it created! It’s a strange sensation realizing this kind of coal-black cannot be expelled so easily. Still, at the precise point where the bulb shone, there was a minor glow.*
Depression can smother the light of hope from a room and a mind. Love’s radiance can seem to disappear completely. In the coal-black of despair, we are fortunate if anything glows. Yet for me there has always been One.
I’ve tried to describe utter hopelessness. It’s a fruitless exercise because hopelessness is not concrete or tangible. It has no measurements or boundaries. It just is, and becomes reality’s essence to the one caught in it.
Equally difficult is drawing a word picture of the Light that never fades. Some people experience a calm sense of oneness with the universe, however I’m not talking about a feeling. Others may express an awareness, or epiphany; nonetheless, the Light that never fades is not a thought process. Many use the phrase, “my faith” when trying to explain an inexplicable inner strength that pulls them through difficulty. Still, I’m not portraying a faceless anomaly.
I’m trying to tell you about Jesus.
As I deliberated suicide, he was there. I know because I believe what the Bible says about him, “Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” ** As I struggled repeatedly to thrash my way out of this life, he was by my side. “Now all glory to God who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.”***
Yes, it’s that old fuddy-duddy dust-covered book of presumed fiction and anti-science, perhaps sitting on your shelf, that brings life to the dead and light to the dark. It tells the story of Jesus from beginning to end. God’s words never fail. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
The Light in my darkness did not present himself as a knight in shining armor. He didn’t snap at me and tell me to get my life together. I came to him angry, weeping, sorrowful, and void of hope. He simply opened his arms and welcomed me to sit with him as he always has and always will.
Jesus is not a transient feeling, a fleeting thought, or a wishful belief system. He is in reality, Savior and Lord.
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 can be yours.
-pictures from Kozzi.com
*From Always the Fight 2nd edition by Nancy Virden (c)2015
**Micah chapter 7, the second half of verse 8
***The 24th verse in Jude