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Archive for the tag “mental health”

The Least of These

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”

The King will reply,Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  Matthew 10: 35-40

Nowadays they are called behavioral health facilities.  Formerly, they were known as mental hospitals.  I have been leading some “groups” at one.  The groups are on a different topic every day, such as “Asking for Help,” and “Healing from Anger.”

Some of the patients are very depressed.  Some of them have made suicide attempts. Some are bi-polar.  Some are psychotic, hearing voices and seeing things that others do not.  Some have dementia.  Some have post-traumatic stress disorder.  Some are addicts.  All are God’s children.  All, at one time at least, had parents.  Some, at one time, were accomplished people.  Some have dealt with mental illness their entire lives.

Often, one or more thank me for what I said in group.  You, Dear Readers, might be thinking that I am doing something kind for “the least of these.”  But I am going to tell you a secret.

These patients, all of whom have suffered, can display great wisdom.  These patients, all of whom have suffered, display great empathy for one another, almost without exception.  And when they share their wisdom with me and the rest of us in the groups, and when they show empathy for one another, and when they appreciate my contribution, then I am blessed by us being in each other’s lives.

The secret is this:  I am one of the least of these too.  And there is another secret: So are you.  I think, at times at least, we all need help and we all need empathy and we all need to heal.  All are sinners who have fallen short.  We all may be counted among “the least of these.”

Another Funeral

Tomorrow is the funeral.

When Jamie posted on Facebook that his teenage son, Adam, had committed suicide, Sugar told me about it and I called him.  We had a good talk about Adam, about addiction, about depression, about divorce, about family, about grieving, about the Bible, and about Jamie’s faith.  He wept.  I tried to comfort him.   

I did not know Jamie that well.  We just met at a couple of Sugar’s art shows and hit it off.  Jamie’s planters made from re-cycled tires are very unique so we bought a few.  I just thought he could use a friend when I heard of Adam’s death.  I told him to call me if he wanted to talk more, but I did not call him again.

That was in November.  In December, Sugar offered Jamie a spot in her Handmade for the Holidays show at the Hilton.  He decided to not participate.

 Tomorrow is Jamie’s funeral.  He could not bear living any longer.  He hung himself in the shed behind his rented house. A lady from church told us.  She thought we’d want to know.

Jamie’s pain is something I can only imagine but not understand. God understands. May God grant Jamie the peace that passeth all understanding.

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