Excerpt from Book: Forgotten Passenger

Prologue:  What if…

 

    What if we could walk in this world, knowing that many folks are trying to function as best as

 

they can?  There are not enough  psychiatric hospitals in Michigan, not enough in

 

the  USA, and not enough  in the world.  Mental Illness is real.  It’s so real and prevalent we

 

want to deny it .But what if instead of denying it and/or thinking it’s the worst thing out there, we

 

saw it instead as a something  to steward, something  coming from the heavenly Father, the

 

Creator of the universe?  IT IS THAT.  And those who are given it (mental illness) are the

 

stewards of it; those who are the parents and legal guardians and the consumers themselves

 

are in a sense, stewards.  

 

    What is a steward?  In Pride and Prejudice, the steward was in charge of the estate, to make

 

an accounting of it, preserve it, and multiply it.  What if we saw ourselves in a like manner?  

 

Rather than be afraid and embarrassed, we accept it, embrace it, and face it head on?  We

 

glean insights and pass those on to others. We would see that not only is the best care given,

 

but we would choose to learn from the consumer so that insight and wisdom could be

 

gleaned and multiplied many times over.      

 

    What if we shed some of our judgmental attitudes and gave folks the benefit of the doubt and

 

encouraged him/her to just “be” , within the bounds of good morals? What if we encouraged

 

him/her to write the book or journal, to paint the art – however abstract or non realistic we may

 

think, to make music, to make pottery even if it’s not “perfect”, to sing new songs?

 

I’m not purporting chaos, but rather to foster an environment where one can make a piece of

 

art, a piece of pottery or sing a new song.  If someone with a mental illness, for example, was in

 

pottery class and he attended every class except when sick once or twice, did every written

 

assignment (none were ever returned with a grade, mind you, in the case I am familiar with), did

 

every pottery assignment and end up with a D, is that really legitimate? Maybe the strict criteria

 

should be forgotten for a moment.  Let the person peacefully and calmly try and create.  We

 

may be surprised at what comes out/is made.  If it’s a speech, forget the strict time limit.  If it’s

 

cooking, buy the ingredients even if we think they may not go together.  

 

LISTEN UP:  THERE ARE CREATIVE, INTELLIGENT FOLKS TRAPPED IN MINDS THAT

 

HAVE BEEN WIRED TO MISFIRE.  If we stigmatize and blame the person, we are in

 

essence BLAMING GOD.  God made this person in HIS image and

 

HE DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES. As author, Stephanie Hubach says, “Disability is a normal

 

part of life in an abnormal world.” He may have made this person with bipolar or schizophrenia

 

to help you, dear reader, yes you, the sibling or parent, friend or teacher to suck it up and grow

 

in character.  Did you ever consider that?  Like me, I thought I knew what love was, but I realize

 

it was a shallow and bare bones love.  It wasn’t until my family member was diagnosed that

 

flesh grew on the bareboned love and more of  hesed love developed.

 

    Mental Illness is a goldmine for figuring out how to really live.  The Proverbs is pertinent to

 

those with mental illness.  In fact, living with mental illness as a consumer or family member

 

makes the Proverbs come alive.  You see, Mental Illness helps us understand the Creator

 

God better.  Mental Illness is in a sense, an unseen disability (compared to a palsy or bodily

 

deformity, eg.) and it stretches us in ways we never thought possible; we grow in ways we

 

never thought possible.  If we see it as coming from God, as something to steward, this may

 

help us change our perspective.

 

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