I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. I love and hurt deeply. People are important to me… I like stuff… but mostly stuff that connects me to people. But connecting to people opens up your life for scrutiny, and it’s not always healthy. People will look at you and judge a snapshot of time which has taken a movie reel to produce. While my family and I were “connecting” at my Mother’s dinner table yesterday after church, the subject of mental health came up. No comments from the peanut gallery… remember… this is a snapshot – not a movie. J But it was a pretty heavy subject with regards to the lack of access and seriousness of the issue. Those in need of mental health professionals are often lumped in to the criminal side of correction and a downward spiraling multi-generational effect occurs.
So why do I feel I’m qualified to discuss the issue… because I have an issue with it, and I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express a while back, and I guess that wisdom sticks with you for a while.
For 15 or so years I worked for the courts, prior to that for about 6 months I had a temporary hitch as file clerk for the Department of Health and Humans Resources. What I discovered was I could have brought the filing systems with me to the court, because many were the same names, generations of families; second and third generation offenders who were just living out what they had been taught by parents and grandparents. So what does that have to do with mental health? The court was looking at the snapshot instead of the movie. I know… they don’t have time. But that excuse doesn’t fix it and it ended up being why I left the courts, because we weren’t fixing anything. It was like a raw steak… which nauseates me… slap a BandAid on that baby and put it back out in the field, it’s not done. The jail time and fines didn’t finish the crime spree, it just left an open wound waiting to be infected again by something bad. There was no healing.
There were two stories that came to my mind this morning as I thought on the issue of mental health. One was the demon possessed man in the book of Mark and the other was the woman with the issue of blood.
Mark 5:15-20 ~ And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
Matthew 9:20-22 – And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
I know your argument, one was mental, one was physical. Yes… but they both had the same cure, and prior to their healing they were both outcasts in society. People didn’t get either one of their issues. And we haven’t progressed too far today. What the people didn’t understand they shunned.
Please understand that I’m not saying all criminals have mental health issues and need to be loved and nurtured to redemption… some people are just mean, and they need locked up. But I’ve seen too many people who if someone had looked at their movie instead of their snapshot they’d have seen an entirely different story. Praise God that Jesus knows the entire story line! And should we as Christians not spend a little time on the movie instead of the snapshot approach at what our people need.
I do tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, and sometimes my sleeve is also filled with other hearts as well. Today my heart is broken for a family that needs their movie viewed…
If today you should come across someone who’s life isn’t pretty… please take a little time to get the story behind the snapshot.