Love for the Unlovable

I composed and published the following post on November 26, 2017. I'm glad to say I have much more for which to be thankful. I am in a wonderful relationship with a beautiful and intelligent woman. I have been hired as a Faith & Mental Health Advocate for a vibrant and progressive church. My son has experienced a remarkable recovery from a mysterious, debilitating condition. Yet, given my illness, I still cycle rapidly through bouts of depression and bursts of mania. Yesterday was a low point. I wanted to spend the day with my lady friend, but wound up wallowing in bed until 4:30 pm. The day got better and today hasn't been so bad, but I still carry a pall of darkness that I can't shake.  It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. Here's what I wrote last year....   I have been mired [...]

Love for the Unlovable2018-11-21T17:24:52+00:00

Briley “The Biscuit” Roberts

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.” ― Mark Twain. This week I got a new best friend. Her name is Briley "The Biscuit" Roberts. I have spent the better part of six days now with Briley and we have become quite attached. I find that I can no longer do things on a whim. I have to think through how it will impact Briley. Can she go with me? Will I put her in a crate? What if I'm gone a long while? Could I get someone to check in on her? Since becoming a parent, I have not taken such a life-altering step. And I'm loving it. I have been a dog owner before. Growing up, we had a dog named Sparky. Actually, if you ask my sister we had a series of dogs named Sparky that kept [...]

Briley “The Biscuit” Roberts2018-05-30T21:16:25+00:00

even more friends: to me, to my friends, and to famous folks (part 3 of 3)

While your spouse may well be your most intimate friend, s/he should never be your only friend. If you try to let off all your steam in the marriage relationship, there is bound to be an explosion.  ~ Tony Roberts.   I am mad, I am going under, I must follow the advice of a friend, and pay no heed to myself. ― Stendhal, The Red and the Black.   Someone you were meant to spend your life with. Those you realize God orchestrated into your life from the beginning.  ~ Paula Mellencamp Hauch.   “We were two throats and one eye and we had no price.” ― Toni Morrison.   Friendship....unconditional love...it continues beyond time and space.....feels like your favorite old comfortable clothes. A friend doesn't judge, critize, only gives advice when asked...they listen.  ~ Deva Richey.   It is proper for people to have friends, friendships without self-interest. Without friends, life is [...]

even more friends: to me, to my friends, and to famous folks (part 3 of 3)2018-05-27T20:25:49+00:00

more friends: to me, to my friends, and to famous folks.

I like my friends like I like my coffee -- strong enough to wake me up in the morning, yet smooth enough to ease me into the day.  ~ Tony Roberts.   I think that real friendship always makes us feel such sweet gratitude, because the world almost always seems like a very hard desert, and the flowers that grow there seem to grow against such high odds.― Stephen King,   A good friend is not overly sensitive and makes a better effort at communication and contact.  ~ Rachel Yahne-Oakes   A letter always seemed to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend. ― Emily Dickinson   9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, [...]

more friends: to me, to my friends, and to famous folks.2018-05-26T16:34:47+00:00

a friend… to me, to my friends, and to famous folks.

A friend is... ... the boy who plays you in 1-on-1 until the score reaches 1 million to 1 million. ... the girl who teaches you to do cartwheels with no hands. ... the guy who takes you cruising while you listen to "Running with the Devil," on volume 11. ... the '67 Belvedere that gets you where you need to go even when it won't shift into reverse. ... the roommate who stays up all night with you every time a girl turns you down. ... the guitar player who sings John Prine songs with you every night after dinner. ... the one who goes with you to Waffle House at 3 in the morning to finish your term paper. ... the man who visits you on the psych unit and makes it seem like you are sitting at your kitchen table. ... the woman who messages you about everything [...]

a friend… to me, to my friends, and to famous folks.2018-05-25T09:38:34+00:00

Resolve to be Loving, Kind, and Just

One feature of the bipolar disorder illness I have is that my goals are high and when I don't reach them, I plummet into a pit of depression. When I am manic, I think I can conquer the world and when I don't, the world comes crashing down upon me. It's a vicious cycle and I know of no sure way to prevent it. Spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible study, worship and fellowship, can temporarily temper the extreme highs and lows. Yet, try as I might to remain positive, too often I wind up sitting on the edge of the cliff with Jonah, the sun burning hot on my flesh, wallowing in waves of self-pity. When I'm manic, I think I can conquer the world and when I don't, the world comes crashing down upon me. Mental illness is extremely self-centered. Some people find this very offensive, [...]

Resolve to be Loving, Kind, and Just2018-01-19T16:10:24+00:00

Budding Faithful Friendships with Mental Illness: Eric Riddle

Our guest today is Eric Riddle. Eric and I first met in March, 2014, a week before the release of my spiritual memoir, Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission. We went on to form a faithful friendship that, well, I’ll let Eric tell you about it.. (My words are in italics.) Thanks for joining us, Eric. We’re here to talk about faith and mental illness, two subjects I know you are passionate about. First tell me how you came to faith. I was raised in the church. As many who grow up in the church, I was following in my parent's tradition. I became more serious about my faith after my daughter was born. Going on a "Walk to Emmaus" retreat was a turning point in getting much more serious. I’ve heard those can be very transformational. Yes. The retreat was for men only and about 40 guys representing many [...]

Budding Faithful Friendships with Mental Illness: Eric Riddle2017-05-30T15:00:51+00:00

Scorn-full

Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. Our soul has had more than its fill of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud. (Psalm 123:3-4) While modern medicine has come a long way in helping us understand and explain mental illness, people’s perspectives can lag far behind. Many people still think that with more faith, a stronger will, and a better attitude, such things as depression, bipolar disorder, even schizophrenia can just go away. This outlook often leads to pinning the blame for the illness on the person struggling to overcome it. It can also lead to contempt and scorn on the part of the accuser that the accused may internalized. “If you only had more faith.” “If you weren’t so lazy.” “If you just kept a positive attitude.” Like the [...]

Scorn-full2017-05-30T14:04:21+00:00