About tonyroberts

I am a man with an unquiet mind who delights in the One who delights in me.

Flight Risk

July 9, 2018, 6:30 a.m. Indianapolis airport... I sit in a cafe sipping mediocre coffee to cap off a $20 breakfast. It’s a price I’m willing to pay for the peace of mind to be at the gate several hours early to collect myself. December, 1983 to Kansas City... I become jazzed for Jesus at a New Year's Eve prayer party sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ. I return and discover all my possessions had been taken from my apartment. I spend the night at a local IHOP, witnessing to the waitress. For a tip, I leave two quarters and a tract, all I have left to give. March, 1988 to Boston... I visit a woman I met on a mission farm in Georgia. I spend the days reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the nights belittling her for being an upper-class liberal. October, 1992 to San Francisco... I travel [...]

Flight Risk 2018-07-10T21:29:30+00:00

Revealing Voices: The First 10 Episodes

One of my social media friends, Cat Lyons, asked me if Revealing Voices is still running. It is. This faith-based, peer-led, story-driven, stigma-breaking podcast is now 10 episodes strong. All these episodes can be accessed through our website: Revealing Voices {dot} com.   Here you will find a diverse collection of voices from people on the front-lines of faith & mental illness. Nurses. Pastors. Writers. Activists. Therapists. Advocates, and others. For a taste, here are the episode titles (with links) and show notes. Episode 1: "Faithful Family": Jen Riddle (Eric's wife) & April Cohen (my sister) discuss what drew them into their spiritual and healing professions. April shares what it is like to care for an adult brother who has bipolar disorder, and Jen reveals how she and Eric navigate a relationship with a mental health diagnosis. Episode 2: "Amy Simpson is Unsatisfied": Amy is an author, speaker, and life & leadership [...]

Revealing Voices: The First 10 Episodes 2018-07-09T01:59:09+00:00

The Cost of Freedom

I went to a fast food restaurant for dinner the other night. The guy ahead of me had just come home from Afghanistan. He was buying dinner for his son and himself. The total came to over $20. He didn’t have enough. They said they would give him a 10% military discount. Still not enough. He started deducting his order until he could afford it. Sad. Then I saw a man who had heard this haggling hand him $100 bill and say, “Thanks for your service.” The soldier teared up and said, “You don’t know how much this means to me.” The man smiled and said, “You don’t know how much what you do means to me.” I posted this story on Facebook and it has gotten nearly 100 likes and 10 shares. It shows that people really want to care about those who wage war in defense of our [...]

The Cost of Freedom 2018-07-01T21:18:07+00:00

The Exuberant Life

It is a curious request to make of God. Shield your joyous ones, asks the Anglican prayer: Shield your joyous ones.  ~ Kay Redfield Jamison, Exuberance: The Passion for Life. I stayed up reading poetry one night.* And the next day. And into the next night. And the following day. A poetry marathon. And the more I read the more enthused I became. Each poem put a longing in me to read the next. I felt so alive. My skin tingled. Pathways to my brain that had been blocked for almost 25 years were cleared. A lightning bug floated in the air around me, dancing with the illumined sparks on the screen that spoke inspired words to me. The next day a friend asked me, "Are you manic?" Maybe, I thought. Or maybe I'm just excited. Enthused. On fire with life. Staying up all night, and the next day, can [...]

The Exuberant Life 2018-06-28T01:28:42+00:00

Poetry: Now and Then

I have been writing a good bit of poetry and fiction over the past 4 years that I've reserved for conventional publication.  I've finally reached a point where I feel the desire to share some of it with you who read my work and respond so graciously. These pieces do not directly address topics of faith and mental illness, but they are examples of how one person of faith who struggles with mental illness finds a measure of healing in the written word. I wrote the core of this poem the day I received word that my ex-wife had accepted the terms of our divorce. It also happened to be my birthday.   I drive through my hometown; Nothing is the same.   Heinz’s Grocery is gone; Bud’s Bait Shop is boarded up; The school has been torn down.   My lawyer calls;   Everything is settled.   Joint custody, [...]

Poetry: Now and Then 2018-06-23T01:06:17+00:00

Remembering

Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. (Deuteronomy 32:7) Memories are pliable things. They are easily bent by life experiences and influenced by the shape of our faith. What happens to us and what we believe colors our memories. No two persons share identical memories, even should they grow up in the same family -- perhaps especially if they do. This weekend we are having a celebration of life for my grandparents. With their passing, we have lost a generation that may never be replaced. There has been a tear in the fabric of our family. No one to unite us in faith. No one to gather us for games or work projects. We miss them terribly and we don't want them to just disappear as if they never existed. We want [...]

Remembering 2018-06-21T00:14:56+00:00

Happy Daddy Day

It's Fathers Day. I've celebrated with my Dad the blessings he has brought into my life. Now I'm doing an honest assessment of who I have been as a father to my four children. I want to steer clear of a depressive pity party as well as a manic recounting of my amazing moments. Just remember. The good along with the not-so-good. I was not prepared to be a father. Is anyone? But when they handed me my bundled baby girl, my heart melted. I was as grateful to God as I have ever been. The prospect that this child was mine filled me with delight as well as desperation. How would I provide for her? What if I screw up? Who the hell did God think I was to deserve such a blessing? It's been over 26 years now since that glorious day and here are three things I [...]

Happy Daddy Day 2018-06-18T01:22:50+00:00

John Prine: From Mailman to Americana Icon

Last Friday I went to a John Prine concert at the Louisville Palace with my friend Les Rust (see "A Character in the Making").  My history with Prine goes back to a PBS documentary on him I saw in December, 1982. Les goes back further. He saw John in a Louisianna dive not much bigger than the Skyline Diner where we had our pre-concert meal. Prine is now 72. He has survived two bouts of oral cancer. His voice sounds more like the grinding gears of semi than a virtuoso. But his lyrics speak God-given redemption to the human condition. John took his young son to one of his concerts and asked him what he thought. It's okay Dad, but it's not real. Not like baseball. That's real. I  beg to differ with a Prine heir, but let me tell you. His music is real. A whole genre of musicians look [...]

John Prine: From Mailman to Americana Icon 2018-06-13T21:50:48+00:00

A Faithful Response to Suicide

I am a man of faith who has attempted suicide. As such, I feel a unique responsibility to share my story. I want to stress that this is my own story. Not the story of Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. Robin Williams. Or the countless others who don't make the news. Still, maybe my story will contribute to a better understanding of how someone like me could choose death over life. First, my own story. In high school, I was a star athlete and a stellar student. I gave a speech at my high school graduation and shared a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson called, "Richard Cory." It begins: Whenever Richard Cory went down town, We people on the pavement looked at him: He was a gentleman from sole to crown, Clean favored, and imperially slim. And ends... So on we worked, and waited for the light, And went without the [...]

A Faithful Response to Suicide 2018-06-11T19:53:29+00:00

The Relationship Between Religion and Mental Illness by Psychosis Recoverer Peter McDonnell

We are all lucky enough to have a brain.  Some are grounded, shaped by experiences of regularity that don’t feel the need to explore anything spiritually interesting or indeed supernatural.  Some people would rather search that kind of thing out. My brain is geared toward the latter, but I have learned that an element of conventionality and being in step with the ordinary world is no less than a necessity.  Kind of like Agent Mulder from ‘The X Files’ who has his sceptical partner, Agent Scully keeping him grounded and ready to consider the more scientific answers to some of this wonderful life’s questions.   One of the biggest questions in this life is ‘Is there a God?’  My instinct tells me that yes there is, undoubtedly, based on my observations and experiences, and what I feel in my heart.  Then my more rational side prods me and says ‘hold [...]

The Relationship Between Religion and Mental Illness by Psychosis Recoverer Peter McDonnell 2018-06-05T21:35:57+00:00