Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Mental Illness - Hannah's Child

I'm in the middle of listening to a series of story telling/lectures by Stanley Hauerwas about his life and being married to Anne who has bi-polar disorder.  

It is moving, challenging, heart breaking, wonderful, painful and inspiring.

The lectures come from his new book 'Hannah's Child', so I have requested the book as a Father's Day present.  

Mental illness continues to be something of great mystery and great pain.  

I sometimes wonder if those of us who have not experienced this kind of pain and darkness need to listen and learn from those who have.  I wonder if I need to sometimes listen to the way the world looks through their eyes and learn from those whom I love.

Equally it is important to be a source of love and strength, and to help share the way you see the world through your own eyes.

Maybe that is so much of what this about, listening to one another.  Correcting each other when we have become blind and unaware of what is really happening around us.

What I love about him is his honesty.  He says that when you are a Christian you can be completely honest, because what have you got to lose.  I like that.  I believe in dialogue and listening and learning from each other from all walks of life and all backgrounds and beliefs.  But I also believe that it is good to be honest about where you are at and what you believe.  And sometimes the Jesus Way will mean that what you say in honesty and what you honestly believe will run completely counter to the way many others see it.  But that's ok.

To all those whom I love, my prayer today is that if you are suffering with darkness today that it may be lifted.  To those whom I don't know, my prayer is the same.



Tom Haward said...

The amazing thing about depression is when you confront it and collide with it, you find so much pretense collapses. You feel liberated to be honest - in its absolute unflinching best.

You realise it takes too much energy to pretend. If people don't like the 'real' you, it's their problem. Wonderful.

Joe Haward said...

It is that honesty in being real, vulnerable and authentic that is refreshing and liberating. I think that kind of honesty and vulnerability is often where society struggles the most, and one of the reasons why it breaks down.


Sia Jane said...

I think there is a lot to learn from darkness.
We appreciate the light so much more.
I don't even think darkness has to be to the depths of despair of depression.
Darkness can be loss, something we all suffer.
But I think it is a choice as to whether to be enlightened by it xxxx

Joe Haward said...

You're so right Sia. I completely agree with everything you've said.
Suffering is something we all encounter and could be something that enables us to truly understand ourselves.