Mental Health Week

“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, Luke 4:18

This is how my week started and it has been knocking around my brain since. The question posed at church was who are the poor we relate to in our North American existence? Do we really understand poor?

In light of it being Mental Health Week my thoughts turn to the poor of spirit. That is something I can wrap my head around. There is lots of that around. With the economic downturn, the loss of jobs and the fear surrounding this we are seeing plenty of those poor in Spirit. Fear and frustration leads to anger and depression. We see it daily on our newscasts. Suicides, spousal abuse, school shootings, demonstrations. There is a pervading anger brewing in our world fueled by the fear of sustaining a lifestyle we have grown accustomed to, actually taught to expect. What will we do if we lose our job, our car, our fancy clothes, weekly pedicure and trip down south? A wise friend commented that the things that stress him out the most are the stuff he owns. He might be better off without them. We are bombarded with the lure of fine things and experiences, told how we are supposed to think and are left wondering why our world is so messed up.

It has occurred to me that when I am most stressed out it is because I am focused on the wrong stuff. Lots of bad things have happened in my life just like everyone else. Floods, car wrecks, deaths and crisis. Everyone has stuff to deal with. Why do some handle it better than others? Personally when I really need help I turn to God. I was raised by very faithful parents and Grandparents and have over the years been influenced by many fine Christian friends. I am not trying to get preachy here, just telling you my experiences. I draw great comfort from God, his word and his people. I can count on him in the best and worst of times. I am at my worst when I forget about Him. It is as natural as breathing to me to believe. What makes me sad is the trend to discount and discredit Christians and the way Christianity is displayed to the world, often by Christians. It is not politically correct to be overtly Christian in today’s society. You do it often at peril of ridicule. Sadly what so many desperate people don’t see is the very real comfort that comes from being in a relationship with God.

So Luke spoke to me this week. It is my duty to share my love of God with others, not to force Him on anyone but to sincerely offer a lifeline to those who are struggling these days. Take time to see the small miracles that are part of your life that God has provided and see what is really important to you.

I am grateful for my family, for a full belly and a warm bed and house. I am in awe of snow weighing heavily on the trees, on the opportunity to know and share a visit with good friends. Throwing the ball for my dog this afternoon is occurred to me how privileged I am to have a dog and two cats, to be able to afford to feed and care for them. And to have friends who share their passions and greetings on Facebook every day. This may not sound terribly exciting but it is what makes my life rich. Hope you find time to enjoy your riches too. And if you haven’t been to church aside from a wedding or funeral in a long time, try a few out. You might just find something there you are looking for.

And remember the little things bring great joy if we take time to enjoy them.