Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Anchor We All Need

"Watch her," the activity director whispered to me, before leaving, "She is psychotic and she may just get up and leave. Don't try to stop her."

I didn't know what she might do if I tried to stop her, but it sounded dire.

I was teaching my art class at the Nursing Home. Thus far, the psychotic woman had only gotten up once. She had moved to a different seat so she could see my easel and follow my instructions better.

Now that I was warned, I kept an eye on her. However, she concentrated on her art, and from what I could discern, was completely engaged in the task at hand. I forgot to worry. In fact, as the dog we were drawing began to take shape, I walked by her on my circuit around the room and screeched to a halt in wonderment.

Her picture was stunning.

"Are you an artist?" I asked.

She nodded.

"I can tell," I said, smiling at her.

Probably the best thing on earth for someone battling a mental disease is to do something she could do well, and loved doing. I suspect it is my art that has kept me from psychoses. The woman was completely attentive the entire hour, and followed my instructions perfectly. When she finished, she carefully put her picture in a bag attached to her walker.

"Thank you," she told me, "I enjoyed that."
"Thank you for joining us," I told her, "I enjoyed having you here."

I can't imagine how terrifying it must be to have your mind start to desert you. What a comfort to find an anchor, something you do remember and all the terrors of your disintegration leave you for a time.
My mind is still intact, but I do know what it feels like to lose control of the world you thought you had a firm grip on. The anchor for me, the only anchor at times like that, is Jesus.

No matter what is spiraling out of control around me, there He is. I remember how He has always been there in the past, and He doesn't seem inclined to let go of my future. In fact, His promise is He is with me always, to the very end of the age.

On a side note, one gentleman in a wheelchair came early, and we chatted as I set up. Somehow we got on the subject of me being an author of horse books. He pulled out a picture of a GORGEOUS mustang stallion. He used to be a mustang rancher, and the stallion was his pride and joy. After two strokes, he sold his forty mares, but moved the stallion with him near the nursing home. He can't ride anymore, but he still visits his stunning horse. Next time I teach art there, I will bring him my horse books!

As he showed me the picture of his stallion, he grew silent, wistful.
"Could you still ride him, if someone helped you on?" I asked, hatching a plot.
"Oh yes," he said."He was always an easy-going fellow."
"I'd like to visit that horse with you," I said.
"Ok, sure!"

The activity director returned.
"How was it??? Was everything ok?"
"It was perfect," I assured her.

Jonah 2:5-7

The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God. When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.

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