We saw a production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” It portrays two Jewish families and a dentist hiding in a Secret Annex to escape the horrors of Nazi Germany. If you haven’t read the book, for God’s sake, do so. In it young Anne (13 years old when her family moved to the Annex) details life in hiding with the ever present fear that they will be discovered and deported to a work camp. Or worse.
Yet, Anne’s diary is not at all a woeful depiction of man’s humanity to man. It is a testimony to hope in the midst of terror. She particularly finds hope in writing —
“Unless you write yourself, you can’t know how wonderful it is; I always used to bemoan the fact that I couldn’t draw, but now I’m overjoyed that at least I can write. And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. But I want to achieve more than that.” ―
Anne Frank never saw the fruit of her labors. The private diary she kept has now sold 30 million copies and been translated into 67 languages. Her life’s legacy has fulfilled her deepest desires.
I have never been in hiding, but you might say I was held captive during my inpatient time in lock-down psych units. While I have come to view my time there as necessary and beneficial for my own protection and the security of others, at the time I was convinced I was being driven insane. My only relief was writing. Writing helped me believe that my life had purpose. It was through writing that I could examine my thoughts and emotions, reflect on my faith, and make sense of the senseless things happening in my mind and in the world around me.
No doubt I find delight in writing, even if it is only for myself. But like Frank I want more. It is not so much fame or fortune that I crave. I want to touch as many lives as I can with the hope that can been found in the love of Christ.
Since my time in the hospital, God has given me numerous opportunities to share my story with many people. My book, this blog, devotional journals, Christian magazines, op-eds. I am so grateful for these avenues to spread the Good News. But again, I want more. With this inner longing and the encouragement of others, I am writing another book and seeking to publish it with a major press. This weekend I completed the proposal. This is the overview —
Loved ones of those struggling with serious mental illness (SMI) are often reluctant to express the emotions of their heart with God or others. They hide in the darkness of doubt, fearful God has abandoned them and that the faith community doesn’t understand. Hope for Troubled Minds: God’s Love for Those Loving Someone with a Serious Mental Illness shows how these persons can find support, strength, and stamina to faithfully walk alongside their loved ones within the body of Christ.
I hope to submit this proposal later this evening. I would appreciate your prayers as the editor reviews it.