Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Story and Resolve

On Wednesdays and Saturdays I walk/run with a group called Step Forward.  It's composed of the men and the women in City Gospel Mission's addiction recovery programs.  Volunteers walk and run with these brave men and women who are in recovery in order to encourage them as they train to participate in the Flying Pig race.  Tonight I was walking with my friend that we will call Stephanie, and while I was walking with her we were passed by another lady we'll call Sam.

Sam is mentally a bit off.   Sam mutters things sometimes and wonders around often looking a bit out of it.  She's hard to relate to for these reasons.  I messed up her name as she passed and Stephanie told me to not worry about it...that Sam had been talking to the voice in her head a lot today anyway. Then Stephanie continued with more of Sam's story....and what I heard broke my heart.

Sam has schizophrenia.
Sam was born in a mental institution.
And then following in her mother's footsteps, her own child was born in a mental institution.
...and then to top that off, a security guard was the father of Sam's child...a man who was literally being paid to protect her...
Sam combined crack with schizophrenia (which is a horrific combination according to Stephanie).

...And Sam is now wondering around in recovery.

After hearing these thoughts, I first thought of the horror of living with schizophrenia.  I absolutely cannot imagine.  Having dealt in the past with the hellishness of severe anxiety in my life, I just can't fathom how horrific each day might be in her own head.
Then my mind went to a picture of being born, of literally starting your life, in a place that was so sad, and broken, and cold, and one there celebrating with balloons or cake or presents....
The sheer contrast between her start in this broken world and my start in this broken world just wrecked me.  My parents held and comforted me and wanted me.  My parents took me home to a loving place with the intent to care and raise me in beauty and in strength...

How unfair.  How utterly, terribly unfair.

And I know better to play the unfair game.  When we start on the unfairness in this world we end up comparing apples, to oranges, to tangerines...there's no end to the philosophizing and there's no clear boundaries with the lines of unfair vs. fair.  But regardless, my heart drops with sorrow at the difference between our lives.

And truly if I believed this life was the end, I don't know if I'd be able to move forward and engage.

One of my first thoughts after learning of Sam's story, was of heaven.  I've often thought that one of the most beautiful things about heaven will be to see the people who in this world don't have much that is truly valued by the world....for those we might call the "least of these" here, to be able to soar in beauty
I long to see them free from chains, addictions, illnesses, wheelchairs and braces, limps, and bodies and minds that won't work right... see the fullness of the beautiful creations that God made them to be...To see them free from all the bondage they experience in this world.
Oh that freedom will be glorious - so utterly glorious.

My wrestling with unfairness ends in one spot.  It's true I cannot understand the unseen and the whys of it all...and I must leave that in the hands of an almighty, loving God.  But the thought that I come to in the end is this.

I've been given much.  So much.  In so many ways.
And God says that to those much has been given, much is required.

How dare I squander this life.
How dare I look at someone like Sam, and then go and squander what God has given me.

And the resolve is not out of dreaded obligation or duty.  It's just simply the only response.  The only response that makes any amount of sense is to wonder how can I make the world better for the Sam's of the world.
And then to do it.

Because I've been given gifts.
And you have too.
And it's an absolute honor to use them for others.