A New Perspective

Funny, how perception changes belief! Issues I have puzzled over for years finally came together recently when I added some new observations and put all of the pieces together.

I have often wondered why I was so drawn, years ago, to books by Dr. Tom Dooley. In those books he told stories of natives of Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, of how they were tortured by the Communists, and of the primitive – if any – medical care they received. He was a doctor, and his tales made a huge impression upon me that has lasted a lifetime.

Then, too, there were my many and varied jobs (so many, that my friends would laughingly ask what I was doing that particular week) – most of them within a social services realm, and just about all of them involving some kind of interaction with people. Why was I so drawn to relating to people, and often, to trying to “fix” either them or their circumstances? 

Last, but not least, I have worried about my faith – or lack of it – in general. I recently took a stand on some issues in which I strongly believe. I dislike confrontation, and I don’t enjoy taking stands. But current world events have alerted us to actual killings and persecutions that have been taking place in Iraq – merely for professing a belief in God. These concerns have caused me to question myself. If I were confronted by someone who was going to kill me if I did not convert to their religion, would I be strong enough to stand up for that which I believe? I don’t know.

So, when I heard a sermon about forgiveness that included the words from Romans 11:29-32, something clicked. In essence the passage says I have been forgiven so that I can have compassion and forgiveness for others.  I also just began reading the book Surprised by Grace by Elizabeth Sherrill. Within the first few pages the author drew a connection for me that made so much sense. She wrote:  “Nothing is more important… than that we keep track…of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity that God make Himself known most powerfully and personally.” Now that made sense to me! It helped me to fit my past with my present and explain things to me on a level I could both understand and support. I do love people, and I do believe in them – no matter their age, color, level of comprehension, or abilities. People are fascinating, delightful, and challenging, and I thoroughly enjoy getting to know every person I meet. I am much better, too, at taking stands on people, than I am on issues. If I stand up for people because God is in every one of them, then desiring compassionate and just treatment for all makes even greater sense to me, and I will fight to the death for that!

Thank you, Elizabeth Sherrill, for giving me new insights to see my story from a new and most helpful perspective!

A Prayer for Everlasting Peace

This morning we heard about the death of Robin Williams – an apparent suicide. How tragic! How sad. And what a huge loss to the world! The man was so very talented, so versatile, so very quick. I admired him greatly. His death will leave behind an emptiness, a loss that goes beyond the death of merely “one more actor,” and a talent that perhaps should have received greater recognition that it did.

There is, however, a looming shadow, a greater horror, that casts an overpowering pall over all humanity that is even more tragic. It is the devastation that depression leaves in its wake. It is the horror that depression wreaks upon individuals, and ultimately upon their families when it has become an unbearable burden with which to live.

As with many who experience hard times and are forced to utilize welfare, who then are unable to climb out of the deep holes that have been dug, so too, depression worsens. One moves from sadness, to hopelessness, to not caring. Soon, the world becomes so overwhelming that no longer can they see its value, or their own, and they take their own lives.

I don’t think I can comprehend just how devastating a state that must be. Having experienced only mild depression, I never want it to become worse. I have also seen what such a tragic death does to families. Sudden death by natural causes leaves enough devastation in its wake! Too often, sadly, families and friends have absolutely no idea what their loved one has been experiencing. It is difficult to understand what makes a person feels so alone or unwanted.

My heart goes out to the family and close friends of Robin Williams, as it does to families and loved ones of suicide victims everywhere. I pray, too, that the loving God in whom I believe, is holding each of those victims in His all-encompassing arms, understanding whatever reason life became too much for them. May they all finally know a lasting peace they were unable to find while they were alive.