Hi Everyone I hope you are doing well. I am doing good. I came across this sermon from the Rev. Samuel A Trumbore and had to share it here. It brought me to tears. In my wildest thoughts of metal illness did I think we as a society somehow made them feel not worthy of God' Love? I guess I should have thought of that, If society does not love me why would I be worthy of anyone else's love on a spiritual level as well. Truly touched me. Thanks for visiting my blog. Take Care, Janet :)
First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany
"Stigma of Mental Illness"
Mental illness is a disease we all recognize. We have all felt different and unacceptable attending a new school, starting a new job, visiting another part of the country or world. We have all felt awkward, not fitting in with the jocks, the cheerleaders or the brains in high school - even if you were one. We have all lost sleep obsessed with worry, our thoughts racing through our brains. Multiply those feelings by ten or a hundred and you begin to enter the world of the mentally ill.
I was scared to death, the first day of my internship at the Delaware State Mental Hospital. I kept my distance from the patients as I walked the spacious grounds and confining halls of the facility in case one of them went berserk and wanted to attack me. I'd stand near the staff in case one of the patients decided to mess with me. It took a couple of weeks before I felt comfortable sitting on a bench with a patient keeping my eyes on them and not the surroundings.
And then I started liking a few of them. I started realizing they weren't the alien creatures I expected them to be. I was attracted and repulsed by a slight fellow in his thirties I'll call Randy who had been in the hospital off and on his whole life. His anxiety, mental disorganization and vulnerability prevented him from being able to blend into society, even with medications.
He asked me, "Am I going to go to heaven Chaplain? I don't want to burn in hell. I love God. I just want God and not the devil. Am I going to heaven?" again and again. Using spiritual language, Randy was asking a deeper question. He was asking me, "Chaplain, am I worthy of God's love. Could God love a wretch like me?" He pushed me up against the limits of my theology. I wanted to comfort him but didn't know what to say or do. I felt unworthy too as I struggled to find a way to respond to him. I realized I too had my own limitations in my ability to express my feelings, which, for Randy, were right on his sleeve.
This is the challenge we all face. Relating to people just like us is easy because we share a common language and experience. Reaching another outside that zone of comfort can be scary. So just imagine the terror mentally ill people experience when people begin treating them as if they're strange; when their parents, their sisters, brothers and friends pick up the phone and begin the process of committing them to a mental hospital.