A friend posted the following story on facebook few days ago. It sparked off the part of me that made me start this blog. Yeah, the part that got tired of cleaning up messes that shouldn’t even have been made. She was in a hair salon and overheard a conversation between 2 women. One said she walked into an eatery (the preceeding conversation was not reported), to find a lady sitting on her husband’s laps. She sat down and quietly ordered a drink. The said lady got up and walked over to her.
“See maturity!”, she remarked. “We actually planned this to see how you would react. You were very mature. Keep it up”
The one narrating the story then said, “Thank God for maturity!”
Are you as angry as I am? I mean I felt like throwing something! Maturity? Was that show deserving of maturity? Boyfriends you have no right to question, but a husband made a vow to be faithful! I am well within my rights to walk up to him and ask if there’s something he forgot to tell me. Maturity would be resisting the impulse to throw my drink in both their faces. Let me halt the rant.
Just before I graduated from medical school, my favourite uncle made good his promise to give me a car. I did not know how to drive, so I still took a bike (commercial motorcycle) to attend choir rehearsals. One day, the guy who played the keyboard, offered to teach me to drive, for a small fee. He was a youth corp member, and needed the extra income. It was a great proposition for me. Learning to drive privately, at my own pace, away from ridicule, what was not to love. My parents were so thrilled that he was a “church bro”, they agreed to pay him double so he would teach both my sister and I. I will narrate how I went from being so timid, I often refused to drive even with him by my side, to a confident driver. Suffice to say, I recently received a compliment on my driving from a complete stranger. When I gleefully told my jealous husband, he laughed. He refused to believe there was no ulterior motive to it all. Can’t a lady take a compliment in good faith? But, I digress.
My tutor told me this story, which is actually the point of my post. His sister died as a result of domestic violence. The neighbours forced their way into her house, after they heard a loud ruckus, to find her lying lifeless. Her husband managed to escape, but was later arrested and detained. He was wealthy and had connections in high places. The case never saw the light of day. Presently, he is a free man. My tutor’s family was devastated. To lose a loved one so brutally, is one thing. To see her killer go free is the most painful thing I can imagine.
The strange thing is that his mom never betrayed any emotion. He couldn’t remember her getting angry, crying, railing at the authorities, or any other natural reaction. The only thing she kept saying was “It is well”. At a time, her children became worried about her and tried to get her to open up to them but she would not. She consistently put up a strong image. They were not fooled, for they knew how attached she had been to her late daughter. This continued until she began to manifest symptoms that can only be diagnosed as mental illness. She began to avoid her usual activities, keeping to herself, mumbling unintelligently, and so on. Yet, she always had a religious quote to give to anyone who asked her how she was. It got to where he dreaded calling her or even going home. It was heartbreaking.
Why did I share this? Mental illness often has it’s root in improperly expressed emotion. This is true even when there is an organic basis for it. Suppressed emotions lead to all sorts of symptoms like poor sleep, crawling sensation on the skin, intense sadness and so on. When ignored, it graduates to hallucinations, incoherent speech, thought insertion, name it. There are so many who would be better off today, if they had admitted early that they needed help. Relatives, fearing the stigma of mental disease, keep things quiet. Ultimately, we all lose out. The Kingdom of God suffers the irony of a person who talks a good game but, can’t function. Society loses out on their talents and gifts. Their family lives with the heartache.
Read the book of Job. Despite his rants against God, God judged him righteous! It is wrong not to say how you feel to those who genuinely care about you. You can put on your game face for the haters, but in the safety of your prayer closet, and with loved ones, be real.
Let’s talk about the woman who first said “It is well”. 2kings 4. She said so to Gehazi the servant (who later became leprous for his greed). When she saw Elisha she did not repeat those words, but told him exactly how bitter she felt. Her son was saved at the end of the day. Are you going through a challenge? Be honest about your feelings. Confide in someone. Cry out to God in plain speech. Do not keep it to yourself. If it is not well, don’t tell me it’s well. I am not Gehazi. I genuinely care about you and I want to know what is really going on. When you have let it out, healing can begin. You can start to build your faith through study of the bible, books on the subject, and counselling. By the time you say “It is well”, your faith will be so tangible, everyone will be able to feel it. Be blessed.