“I feel sad. . .anxious . . . helpless.”

Words that appeared in a WhatsApp message from a friend. A relative ends up, again, in hospital. It’s a mental illness, a family’s cross, an unbearable cross.

The cross of mental illness is too heavy. The victim falls to the ground. She can’t bear the struggle of this scourge. The family falls to the ground. It’s another fall, another fall of many. They fall with the victim.  The fallen…a sister, a niece, a daughter, a cousin. They fall to the ground covered with the blood of sadness, frustration, anxiety, helplessness. 

I receive the message. I fall to the ground as well. I feel sad. I know the feeling of falling to the ground due to the heaviness of mental illness in family life.  I have fallen many times as a result of mental illness in my family. 

What do I do? 

What do I respond? 

I too feel helpless. The vast expanse of the Caribbean Sea separates us. I can’t physically be there. What must I do? What can I do?

I remember St. Simon of Cyrene. He too was “sad . . . anxious . . . helpless” when he saw a Stranger fall to the ground with a heavy cross. He may have pondered, “What do I do?  How do I respond?”  

I didn’t know how to respond.  I simply gifted my friend with the virtual word “COURAGE.”

close up of ‘courage’ stone on textured stone background

I hope my word was sufficient to help her stand up again.  I hope this word “COURAGE” can be gifted to all families fallen under the cross of mental illness.

St. Simon of Cyrene, pray for this family.

“The only true prerequisite for prayer is a broken heart” (Hasidic Wisdom).

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