7. What positives do you think your mental illness brings to our relationship?
Something positive about mental illness? I feel that is a bit like Betsie asking Corrie to thank God for the fleas. (The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom) Bad parts stick out so grossly it is hard to look for the silver linings. In this day and age of look for the positive, count your blessings, see the bright side, and other cheerful cliches I tend to get grumpy but I know this; God knows how to make fertilizer out of manure. He turned dinosaur carcases into fuel we use today. He turned Joseph being sold into Egypt into a blessing for a whole nation and his family. God took a stuttering Moses and led the Israelites out of bondage and through the Red Sea. A timid Esther became a queen to save her people. Carbon under pressure becomes a diamond. As a teenager I had a poster that proclaimed, "You can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." ~ Abraham Lincoln. I have many pictures of stunning clouds creating beauty out of cloudy days. I sometimes struggle to see the good. Mental illness took so much I wanted to give.
My illness made it possible for each of you kids to find strength at a young age. Your compassion for me built a bound that I cherish. Each of you learned that the only failure is giving up. I watch each of you work at helping others like you helped me. I watch your compassion for others and feel awe at your strength. I also don't try to tell you what to do. I can barely manage my own life so I can cheer on the sideline without trying to interfere in your life. I didn't punish you for not cleaning your room. My room was the messy one in the house so I couldn't say anything. Your Dad and I worked at teaching you to make your own decisions. On the weird side, one of you complimented me on being available to talk any time day or night. Three hours of sleep a night meant I was awake most of the time that you were. I was also thanked for my obsession with food and making sure plenty of good food was available all the time. I keep reminding myself that when God turns carbon into diamonds it takes time and pressure. I had plenty of pressure now I am just trying to be patient for God to turn my mental illness into something really awesome that will bless all of our lives.