What Do We Do When the Unthinkable has Happened

Posted on: September 27, 2018, by :

By J. M. Whit

What do we do when the unthinkable has happened?  Sometimes something so unthinkable and so awful happens, an
event that feels as though it is so unspeakable that we can’t even bring ourselves to say anything.  We don’t even want to speak out loud and refer to the story.  Everybody is on autopilot.  Eyes forward glazed over. Walking past other people with only a slight nod.  It hurts to think of anything so unbearable occurring to anyone at all.  Especially to people that we know.  It’s unfathomable to children, inconceivable that someone could harm their own family or child.  How could anyone hurt their child and bring themselves to kill their children?
Gone from earth but not forgotten, two bright eyed young people and their Dad. I pray for all of them and their families, hope that God and the universe hold them in the palm of his hands, provide comfort and peace which surpasses all of our earthly understanding.
My minister friends would say that, “The devil is a LIAR”.  I believe that he is a liar.  Negativity is a liar.  Negativity can cast darkness and sadness and bad feelings in spaces that could be filled with good things.
Mental illness happens to people.   It is real.   It is a sickness born out of circumstances, chemicals that may need medicine, and it breeds with lonelineness , isolation, shame,
lack of help or resources, drugs, alcohol, poverty, and lack of understanding. It gives birth to despair, depression, and even death. Mental illness is every bit as important as a physical illness that can be seen with our eyes.  It is every bit as, if not more, urgent as heart disease, or a bad infection being spread around the community.  It is a cancer eating away at some of our communities and other human beings.  Mental illness can be intertwined with addiction, and become even that much more complicated.
Some things have a degree of prevention.  What is important is treatment and assistance to help people get better, to heal.  Mental illness left untreated can be debilitating. It can have a negative impact on society as a whole, on individuals, and in certain cases can and does unfortunately lead to death.
So what do we do?   Do we become nervous? Do we become overly interested in other peoples business? Do we call the the police and firetrucks?  Well…maybe… But there are other more simple things do first. We can care about other people.  We can become more of a community.  We can have more balance.  We can have more people in person and in community.  We can take the stigma out of mental health concerns and recognize that illness can happen whether physical or mental.
People need access to healthcare which seems to be happening.  People also need access to mental healthcare and treatment for substance abuse.  We need to help each other.  We need to help ourselves.  We need to love more and spread kindness and joy.  We need to occupy those empty spaces with more love.  Love big.  Hug more.  Forgive more.  Judge less.  Treat others as we would like to be treated.
One of my favorites is out of a very good book states: ” As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
If we are all too busy trying to focus on the positive things, helping each other, showing  kindness, love, and understanding, then we have less time to hate.We have less time to bully or gossip  if we are spending time doing good works, spreading joy, and having fellowship with other humans, lifting each other up and loving one another, spending that time gathering together in good ways, working together in community.
Loving even the seemingly challenging or difficult  people.  Helping ensure that people if they are sick can have some help to get better.  Being a friend.  Having ears that listen for understanding and arms that hug and embrace others and minds that do not judge as much as strive to help and be human.  Bring each other out of the isolated corners that we may have painted ourselves into of sickness or shame and bring each other into the light of another day and hold each other up in gladness or sorrow and carry on.
This is what we need to do.

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