A great friend asked me a bit ago about ideas on how she can help and support someone who is mentally ill. Her heart breaks for those she loves, and she wants desperately to help, but she just isn’t sure what to do.
I’m glad she asked.
I wish that more people would.
Certainly it is easier as a society to make sure that all of us crazies don’t have any access to guns, or that we should increase funding for hospital beds, or find ways to ensure medication is taken even when the person is so very tired of the side effects.
We can all possibly agree that these are steps that help those on the outside feel better about the situation. Just like with so many issues we face today, we like generic solutions that let us pat ourselves on the back, and then walk away.
But there is no walking away from mental illness – for either the one who is actually ill, or the ones worn weary from the daily toll of trying to love them.
Continue reading To really help the mentally ill, it takes two
Have you ever had the experience where you walked into a crowded room full of strangers?
If you are like me, you felt self-conscious, out of place, and just wanted to turn around and leave.
No one likes to be a stranger among strangers.
Here’s a more important question:
Have you ever had the experience where you walked into a crowded room full of strangers, and immediately felt at home?
If your experience has been like mine, you felt calm as the person next to you reached out and took your hand, offered an introduction, and welcomed you in.
And you in turn welcomed them.
How can this be?
Continue reading Zion isn’t stationary – we take it with us
When our kids were still running around in those great footie pajamas and giggling at any escape of a bodily noise, Ann worked hard to make a wonderful Christmas, both on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.
You know, the kind of Christmas that small children lay awake all night for, waiting in anticipation, until at 3:00 a.m. they can’t stand it any longer and begin the bouncing on top of a sleeping Mom and Dad, who have only very recently themselves pulled the covers up over their heads.
Alex especially loved to unwrap packages. Looking back, we think that she probably helped Nick unwrap the majority of his as well.
But grumpy and OCD Dad had a hard time enjoying the magic of the morning while seeing all the giftwrap spread around, those bows and ribbons that were still perfectly good and needed to be saved for use again next year, and just the general chaos of it all.
Just imagine a manic perfectionist dad with OCD who sees EVERY detail and has a definite opinion of just EXACTLY how it should be – combined with a mom trying to make the season magical for two young bright-eyed children who loved mixing and matching things that just shouldn’t be mixed or matched – EVER.
Looking back, quite probably all the things that make Christmas so much fun for small children were all the things that could set me off.
Continue reading Moving forward by rekindling old traditions
Okay, one last story to share on Christmas Eve. Again, I don’t know where this originated, but it deserves to be put out there.
A friend of mine named Paul received an automobile from his brother as a pre-Christmas present. On Christmas Eve, when Paul came out of his office, a street urchin was walking around the shiny new car, admiring it.
Is this your car, Mister?” he asked.
Paul nodded. “My brother gave it to me for Christmas.”
The boy looked astounded. “You mean your brother gave it to you, and it didn’t cost you anything? Gosh, I wish…”
He hesitated, and Paul knew what he was going to wish. He was going to wish he had a brother like that. But what the lad said jarred Paul all the way down to his heels.
“I wish,” the boy went on, “that I could be a brother like that.”
Paul looked at the boy in astonishment, then impulsively he added, “Would you like to ride in my automobile?” Continue reading A BROTHER LIKE THAT
Here’s another story we have come across over the years is worth sharing.
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.
One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.
His bed was next to the room’s only window.
The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.
The men talked for hours on end.
They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.
Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.
The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. Continue reading Are we blind enough to see?