I wonder about Job.
Did Job have anything to be thankful for?
His children — gone.
His riches — gone.
His relationship with his spouse — gone.
His dreams, plans, and endevours — no doubt, gone.
His relationship with God — on the rocks, probably feeling gone, too.
If I was Job, what could I find to be thankful for? An occasional breeze. Ashes to sit in and express my sorrow. A roof over my head. A God who can handle all the wretchedness of my heart poured out.
No matter how bad a situation, there’s always something to be thankful for. Not even Job was forsaken of all goodness.
So much is broken and can’t be fixed.
How do I wrap my head around it? Never like other people. Never to be normal. Never to be able to do what others do, feel the ways others feel, be the way others are. In this life, it’s beyond reach. I’ve arrived at the edge of myself. I’ve discovered the full extent of what God has dealt to me for life.
God, of course, can fix all things. But sometimes He says no. Sometimes he choose to not fix it. That’s so hard to reconcile. This God I need so much, who is my only hope and help, does nothing. Where is His love in this?
His love is in eternity. There, someday, in heaven, Satan and sin and suffering He will do away with forever. I will know with sight what I now take by faith. Jesus shared this walk, this suffering, these momentary hardships. He shared my heart, and my pain touched Him as deeply as it did me. He helped me carry it, after all. I will see the great glory of a God who let evil try to do it’s worst, and he conquered nonetheless. Even more, I’ll see the God who privileged me, who let me be a part of it all, by allowing this suffering in my life. All will by more than recompensed.
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Cor 4:17-18)
Someday. There in heaven.
Here be dragons.
Old medieval maps used to have dragons, monsters, and sea serpents drawn over uncharted regions. They marked the places nobody had gone before.
I like to think that way of bipolar. Here be dragons!
I’ve know others with bipolar besides my wonderful Mr. B. Each struggled with different symptoms, different traits, a different angle of the same illness. Even within bipolar diagnosis, no two are the same. Life with bipolar is new territory. Some may have gone over similar territory — doctors, counselors, therapists, psychologists. Advice from these are useful, no doubt. Yet they do not live this bipolar life with us. We are charting the uncharted.
None have gone where we are going, except One. Psalm 139:7-12. He it is that has plotted our course. He it is who is our Guide. He it is who governs all things. I’m so thankful He walks here with us!
Life with bipolar is a grand adventure.
It’s been awhile, huh?
Such is the nature of mental illness, or any chronic illness really.
To most of society, dropping off the map isn’t acceptable. But illness doesn’t care about what society thinks. Plans, hopes, and habits collapse when illness takes hold. Consuming all time, all focus, and all energy, it leaves no room for anything else. Everything becomes bent on the long climb away from illness, back to functional, back to feeling okay. Yet such summits provide no security. I cannot tell when the ground will crumble again. I only know, with illness, it’s a matter of “when,” not “if.” Being off the map is a fact of life; this is our normal, for Mr. B. and I. Sometimes society understands; sometimes it doesn’t.
I’m glad that God doesn’t think anything of being off the map. Sometimes, He takes our lives that way on purpose! Yet, His plans are always good, full of His love for us, on the map or off.
Mental illness is ugly.
Don’t get me wrong. People with mental illness are wonderful, beautiful fascinating human beings worthy of respect and dignity.
But mental illness, when it manifests, is ugly. It’s ugly the way death is ugly, the way sin is ugly. If you’ve ever been to a funeral of a family member or a friend, you know. No attempts to pretty it up or make it easier do any good. Death is profoundly unnatural, as something not intended for this creation. It’s a vandal’s mar on the canvas of a skilled painter. So it is with mental illness, with any sickness really.
In the face of such ugliness, I’m glad Jesus is coming back to fix it all.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Rev 21:4-5)
It’s Friday, August 8, 2015 at 6:56pm.
By this time last week, Mr. B was delusional. He could still tell the difference between the delusions and reality. But within 24 hours, on Saturday night, he was gone. His short term memory, his ability to trust others, follow conversations, and perceive his need for food, water, or rest was gone by Sunday morning. It happened that fast.
I marvel at the goodness of God that Mr. B took his meds again on Sunday afternoon. People told me a bipolar episode can happen fast — especially the manic ones. (Depressive ones, thankfully, set in a little slower and are easier to respond too.) I barely had time to wrap my mind around what was going on. In 24 hours, my precious Mr. B crashed and burned.
Now, he’s waving at me through the window, smiling, happily watering his plants, blowing me smooches. How I love him! How glad I am to be able to have a conversation with him! Though to him, he’s never left, but to me I’m glad he’s back. Mr. B is on the mend.
Thank you, Jesus, that because of You even an episode with bipolar is not the end of the world.