Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Have Mercy On Me

As I was in the midst of attacking the laundry mountain, the phone rang.  Caller ID named a little convenience store in a tiny hamlet ten miles or so away.  

I knew it had to be JSB.  How did he get from his town 40 miles away to this town 10 miles away.  With no car.  With 20 inches or so of snow on the ground.  And why?

It had already been a long day, mostly spent "doing" for one child or the other.  I was looking forward to leveling the mountain of laundry and enjoying a warm soak and some hot tea.  But, not to be.

I don't like to bring him into my home when he's unmedicated.  I never know what state of mind he is in, nor what the voices in his head are telling him.  Especially what they are telling him about me.

He was very subdued when I picked him up and expressed concern about his health.  He's lost a lot of weight.  He's lonely and wants a relationship.  He claims no memories of his childhood and wants to know why his birth certificate is false. (It isn't).

I tried to validate as much as I could without upsetting him.  Because I always want to deliver him to the hospital and have learned the hard way that I can't force him to treat his illness.  It only makes things worse. 


He's in a calm frame of mind, so I bring him home and fix him hamburgers.  JSB is more interested in getting on the computer and "networking."   He's not interested in food or conversation anymore - just the internet.  When he tells me he's going to an inappropriate site, I tell him no and that it's time for me to take him home before the roads freeze.

Then, the voices.  I can tell when he's talking to them, because at first it seems like he is speaking to me.  But he is speaking so quietly, that I can't hear.  When I ask him to repeat, he gets very, very agitated.  So, I have learned to try to ignore.  It's unnerving to overhear the "conversations" he has about me.  Sometimes very unnerving.

The car ride to his apartment was unsettling.  He was now back to his stance of me as enemy, speaking softly to the voices about how I have ruined his life.  He yells at me to shut up and calls me some name which makes no sense to me.  So, I have a silent conversation with Christ.  "Lord, Jesus Christ,  Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."  The Jesus Prayer.  I repeat it over and over and over.  Without ceasing.

It's the only thing I can think to do.  It's an ancient prayer called the "prayer of the heart."  A way to pray without ceasing, to go into the heart where you encounter Divine Reality.  On the 25-minute drive, JSB carries on with voices outside of reality, while I descend into the reality of Christ, and silently pray for the both of us.

By the time we reach his apartment, he is angry.  The car door slams shut.  I am in prayerful silence, knowing that the Divine is at work.  Somehow.

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

I watch through the window to make sure he is not locked out of his apartment.  Then, I head home in silence.  Praying without ceasing.


1 comment:

  1. Sometimes prayer is the only thing. Praying at your side, my sister.


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