Hidden Struggles

Yesterday I found myself complaining to my daughter. The conversation began with me inquiring about how she was doing. She is expecting a baby boy next fall and has begun to return to work, and I wanted to know how she was doing. She reported she was doing well and asked about how I was doing. I replied, “I’m a bit bored.” She offered some suggestions on things I could do, much like I used to when she was young. I realised I wasn’t bored because of a lack of potential activities, if I had the motivation there were many things I could be doing. I was letting myself slip into a funk!

This brought, afresh, an awareness of how these extraordinary (the new normal?) times effect issues of mental health. All it takes is a couple of overcast days in a row and I become as gloomy as the skies. I have family and friends and activities that stimulate me, to snap me back, but too many have much less support yet ever greater need.

Every day we get several telephone calls, and text messages, from friends who struggle at the best of times. They are doing so now without their regular social network. We listen, joke, and pray with these folks. As the phone rings we guess which friend it will be on the other end. Sometimes, I confess, I answer reluctantly because I know the difficult conversation that is about to take place and I know the toll it will take on me. This toll is nothing though compared to the anxious agony my friends are enduring.

This struggle is now even more hidden than it normally is, and it is mostly hidden even then. People who suffer like this know they are not entirely welcome in society but now they are shuttered from view and thought, almost entirely.

I feel chagrined that I complained when, these dear gentle folk have to struggle with much greater issues. Their calls are at times exhausting but I admire them for their creativity in finding help in these days of isolation. They exhibit a genius in reaching out that we could all emulate.

So, I answer each call with a cheery “Hi, how are you?” knowing the answer is unlikely to be as cheery. I offer hope and at my best I receive a dose of my own medicine. I love to think about the coming Kingdom and wonder what my friends will be like when they are fully free from their illnesses and anxieties. I then begin to think of what I will be like and it leaves me with a longing for that day. I want all my friends to experience that ‘Happy Day’, and so I will continue to share the Good News of the Saviour’s love and of his coming Kingdom.

On another topic, we have a new roof on Threshold House and work to replace the entire water system will soon be underway. After that a plan for patching drywall and ceilings will go into effect as well as a renovation of classrooms into bedrooms and the creation of a shower room. We hope to start work on a promotional video soon. We ask you prayer and support for these efforts. The pandemic has hindered our plans but we are trusting God.