Love conquers everything

Published 8:38 am Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Whatsoever things are lovely; whatsoever things are good whatsoever things are true. Think on these things.

My big brother, Paul, has only been gone a few weeks, and now we have another family crisis. Sandal clad feet had almost worn a rut in the hardwood floor. Missy, my little dachshund, followed me step for step with her liquid brown eyes troubled at her mistress’s obvious lack of peace. I wrung my hands and a sigh once again escaped my lips over all the decisions that had to be made. What were we to do to help our older sibling in the throes of a deep depression? Since she had no children or husband we all felt doubly responsible for her welfare. My mind gave way to worry and fear.

Anger beat a path to my door. If only she had listened to reason and taken advice then maybe this episode could have been avoided. Remembering the old saying which came first the chicken or the egg I realized that some of her annoying behaviors might have been caused by a condition that she had little control over. She needs her family to rally around her and offer what help and encouragement we can give.

Balance is key for a family when faced with a mental health crisis. There are things that my brothers and I can do to help; there is also a point where we have to take a step back and realize that we cannot fix everything. The last few days I found myself giving in to worry and distress. It even seemed like the least I could do when someone I love is going through such a dark time.

But … that is an untruth. We can offer support and help to a loved one in need. We can pray and offer practical help, but giving in to worry, distress, and a false sense of responsibility is counterproductive. When I realized that my sister’s situation was consuming my thoughts, causing me to lose sleep, and leaving me ill equipped to do my job and care for my own needs as well as those of my family I had to take a hard look at the situation.

I looked to God for answers. It was then that I realized I needed to focus my mind on other things, lovely things. Instead of ruminating on the what ifs and feeling responsible for issues beyond my control, I purposely chose not to worry. Now I’m feeling ready to take on the world, or at least my little part of it!

Thank God that he gives us wisdom, and His Word is a storehouse of guidance for every situation we face. We are blessed to have health care professionals to aid people with emotional issues as well as physical ones.

If you wonder why I am writing about such a private situation it is because mental illness touches many families, and the social stigma associated with it is nothing short of ridiculous. Things will improve, and we will be a stronger family because love conquers all.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at