Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
Ever kick yourself for opening up, trusting another person only to have them leave your life? If so, you are not alone.
Eight years ago, the director of a Cleveland, Ohio city-wide ministry told me, “People come and go. For a time they may speak into your life and then God will move them on. People always leave, and you should expect that.”
I reacted in shock and disbelief. No, friends are supposed to stay together forever. Family is forever. Those who say they care are to stick by you. It could not be true that people always leave.
Interesting that I would have that point of view considering my family of origin splintered years earlier. However, within twelve months of her warning, I had moved to Philadelphia leaving many people behind. Connections in the East did not follow me back to Ohio.
People always leave.
In support groups and conversations with those who are struggling, a common theme is loneliness. Vulnerability comes hard sometimes, especially when one is used to rejection or abandonment. Trust can take years while all the tiptoeing and testing repeatedly provide evidence whether a person is staying or going.
Acute loneliness though, can block healthy reactions to red flags. This is why sometimes people end up abused, trusting the wrong person, or failing to understand parameters in a professional relationship. It is also why some people kill themselves.
Wise counselors ought to be aware of this. When they are not, havoc can ensue. It would be nice if all of us grasped it and treated each other with more kindness.
There is One who stays. He said, “Even if your father and mother abandon you, I never will.”* In what could seem like contradiction, he did physically leave those who walked alongside him for three years. However, on his way out he repeated the promise, “I am with you even to the end of the world.”**
Unlike people who go away, he left behind his presence in the form of a Spirit. I am talking about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I long for Jesus to be here in body form because I want a hug or to see his eyes looking at me. Truth is, if he was limited to muscles, skin, and bones he would not be available for everyone all the time.
As painful as it is to regret trusting a human who betrays that trust or just disappears from one’s life, that agony does not compare to the peace found in Jesus’ presence. I have not felt all of my struggles go away just because I pray. There is relief, though. By spending time with him I know I am loved by God, can believe my life still matters, and willingness to reach out again for support is renewed.
The director was right. People always leave. Even if they do not literally turn away, humans still have to leave the room, go to the store, interact with other people, go to work, and so on. We cannot be a 24-hour presence for anyone else.
On my worst days, when loneliness, major depression, and grief due to loss of relationship coincide, I can cry out to Jesus. Even if all I can pray is, “help,” I know he does. There is comfort in knowing him as my Savior and being his disciple.
You see why, don’t you? He is a promise keeper.
He never leaves.
Today’s Helpful Word
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” -Jesus (‘Helper’ is the Holy Spirit).
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.
– Looking out to sea pic from SCOTTMLIDDELL at rgbstock.com
-praying hands pic by XYMONAU at rgbstock.com