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Monday, September 15, 2008

Bleeding

There are times when I crave the catharsis that can come of writing. Times when I wish the things I need to explore would be easily understood. Times when I wish straightforward answers and direction would flow from that place. But some things realy are just too raw, and too private, especially when the circles intersect with others' lives and I can't take the liberties of broaching realities that are not mine alone.

But I'll dabble, nonetheless.
Yesterday in church we had the most amazing presentation from two people in our community who recently lost their son to suicide. They have taken something absolutely undeniably evil and are using what's left of it for good by advocating for people with mental health issues, increasing awareness, bringing down stereotypes, engaging in fundraisers, and bringing useful resourses to those who are struggling with mental health issues and may not know where to turn with any of it.

It was powerful. Honest. Courageous.
It certainly resonated, as the tears rolling down my cheeks and down into my lap would attest to. I was so proud of these people for their courage. So proud of the who's who of my church who opened up our building and our hearts to what they had to offer. It wasn't all about confessing ones' sins and claiming healing at the cross. It was more comprehensive than that. Jesus heals. He did some of that when he walked the earth, and from what I hear, He does it still. But he didn't and doesn't heal everyone who ever asks. I can't say why. But I can say that pretending that faith is enough (I mean in the sense of saying "I'm healed, even though I still feel like killing myself, but I'm sure that I'm really not thinking that because I must be healed-- shockingly DENIAL-like...) ... is just plain crazy, in my opinion. I've seen way too many people suffer with their illnesses because of their unwillingness to involve the scientific, medical community. I have myself been told to "flush the pills, since you know the truth of Jesus' healing promises". Fortunately for me, I've walked this road long enough to know what to tune out for the sake of my own health.

Imagine our world if we would all go back to the commandment that wrapped them all up-- "Love one another; bear each others' burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ"; and "Love the Lord with your heart and soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself". Maybe spend way less time figuring out who is "right" and who is "wrong" and just hear one another out?

Someone I love a great deal struggles with mental issues that I too am familiar with. I wish it were as clear cut a diagnosis and treatment as diabetes or a broken arm- even a seizure disorder. Then I could write about it without wondering whether you the reader will misunderstand or bury us in your judgements. I could write without feeling protective. I could involve my Doctor and not worry about his apparent lack of compassion, or wonder about his personal opinions on the matter. I could assume that the approach would be holistic- we would involve the Great Physician without assuming that pharmaceuticals would be a failure. I could speak of my love for the suffering with the same ease which I can assume when discussing Sam's seizure disorder, my sister's migraines, or my brother's cancer.

Yesterday at church, the Stotts spoke of a day when we could wear t-shirts that say "I Survived Suicide" much as we now wear shirts that speak of surviving cancer. I'd like to imagine a world where such honesty would be embraced; where no shame would accompany it.

But for today I won't even risk an unedited blog post. We've got a long ways to go, and a lot of misconceptions to tear down. God give me the courage to be a small part of that.

15 comments:

Rio Dulce Project said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crystal said...

sorry Joyce, that deleted comment was me by accident.

I don't really know what to say because you've said it so well here. I just want to thank you for writing it.

(and thank you Es for the kleenex!)

Roo said...

i felt so honored and priviledged to be at that service. the words that were spoken touched at the pain within my own heart. i can't think about it without my eyes filling up with tears.

i was challenged and stired on so many levels. i'm so thankful for their courage and boldness to speak what was on their heart and about the journey they have been on. wow.

it's a gong show... said...

i wish i would've known they were speaking at your church on sunday. they are an amazing couple.

Anonymous said...

Yea, me too, I would have been there. I too applaud their courage. You NEVER know what someone is going through. God be with us all. Kathy

tanya said...

Oh to live in a world where people are loved regardless. I guess that's what Heaven will be like, but it sure would be nice to see more of it down here in the meantime. Until then, I guess we need to work on loving the ignorant in spite of themselves.

Anonymous said...

I never met the Stotts but they sound kind, & strong & brave. They deserve great compassion but never pity. I too am a survivor of suicide. My loss was overwelming, searing, wretching, heartbreaking beyond measure, but I survived, & they need to know that they will too. Joy will return to them...in time, I promise. Be supportive, be their friend, it is amazing how friends fall away when loss is the result of suicide. Suicide is not a sin, it is the absence of hope in a heart resigned to ending one's own pain, whether it be from physical suffering or mental anquish. I am so deeply sorry for their great loss & truly understand their suffering. I can only offer once more...suicide of a loved one can be survived. I know, truly I do..............

Jenn said...

Very nice post Joyce, I'm with Crystal, I need some kleenex.

Rosa said...

"just listen" two little words that are so hard to do. Something I've been coveting alot lately. I think that long hard road that he allows some to take would be easier helped if listening was easier to do. personaly speeking of course.

Melanie said...

Great post Joyce. I wish I could have been at that service. Sounds like God was really working through people in a powerful way. Awesome.

Valerie Ruth said...

i have personally seen a lot of the stigma that mental illness brings. I've seen everything from having enough faith to not use medication to statements about demon possession. and i've NEVER seen these approaches be helpful. mental illness hurts beyond the physical, spiritual, and mental realms of the individual and affects all of those around them. and sometimes, it's just a plain old chemical imbalance.

Judy said...

Oh. There's so much I want to say, but cannot.

Beautiful post, Joyce. Beautiful.

nancy said...

My mind and heart are in turmoil. It seems nothing brings healing to the mind. Drugs that are supposed to be tried and proven fall incredibly short, self cheerleading seems useless, and I honestly can't figure out why people aren't healed when they cry out to Jesus. I have watched my sister-in-law destroy her career, marriage, and family relationships. It is hard to watch, it is frustrating to feel helpless, and it is oh so sad to see a beautiful life torn apart by illness. I suppose we just have to keep praying for wisdom, insight, healing, etc. Lord, let "Thy Kindgom come on earth as it is in Heaven."

missm said...

this post is really beautiful. well said. it's bang on. so much shame and judgement connected with mental illness ... i wish it was different too.

Jennie C. said...

Thank you for saying what those of us who are still cowering in closets are too afraid/ashamed to say. Do they make those t-shirts in invisible ink?