|Posted by Lorraine Serra on June 24, 2013 at 10:00 AM|
Mom’s hospitalization seemed like forever, but it was only about 3 weeks. My sisters and I were all anxious to get back home again. Aunt Bea and Uncle Don had truly been a godsend during this time, and had blessed us to no end with their love and compassion.
I said goodbye to my new friend, Cathy, and thanked her so much for teaching me some guitar. I had no idea just how great an impact those three weeks would have on my entire life.
We returned home and were briefed on mom’s condition. She had been treated for bi-polar issues and a nervous breakdown. I didn’t find out until many years later as an adult, that she had been given a series of shock treatments. Mom shared with me that it was the most terrifying time of her life. She felt like a caged animal, was forced to undergo things that were like torture in the name of healing.
I know therapies have changed since the 1960s, still it sounds like an awful experience. Yet, at the time, we all assumed mom was good to go. Some treatments and some medications should have fixed her all up.
As some of you know, mental illness doesn’t work that way. And through the years there have been cycles of manic behavior, extreme depression, and then times that were just great, for a couple years at a time!
The most amazing thing to me was how mom could hold fast to her faith, go to daily mass, serve in the church, teach CCD classes, and a million other things, when she was well, and then plunge to such depths and beg God to just take her…or threaten to do it herself. It was so confusing and frustrating. There were times through the years when I wished she would just do it, just end the pain, end this Jekyl and Hyde lifestyle.
It was a wild ride. But, God opened a window for me, remember? Turns out it spilled over to my sisters as well! I had become very close to my sixth grade teacher, Sister Camilla. She endearingly called me her “shadow”. I could find peace with her, and tell her what was on my mind.
She let me hang around as much as I wanted. She knew about mom. She also knew we had a new helper at home, a lady called Esperanza who sometimes brought her 12 year old daughter. They came to cook and clean and help mom with my youngest sisters, then ages 1 and 4.
Sr. Camilla told me Esperanza means “Hope” in Spanish. I thought that was beautiful, but this woman was tough to deal with. She didn’t speak English and she ordered us around a lot. I didn’t like her that much. Still, her name was kind of cool, and Sr. Camilla pointed out there was hope that someday mom would be strong so we wouldn’t need a stranger in our house anymore. Trust God to work things out. Be patient.
When we have faith in Jesus, our hope is based on His righteous promises, not wishful dreams. It is defined as “a confident expectation of good”, because God is good, all the time, and God has promised that those who hope in the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall inherit the land, they shall mount up with wings and soar like eagles.
That’s just some of the beautiful imagery in the poetry from God’s mouth to men’s ears….to the ears that will hear, and the hearts that will receive Him. Sister Camilla helped me to get past fear and anger, and trust God with my circumstances. Her love and compassion spoke volumes to me about the grace of God.
I wasn’t able to actually define all of that until later in life, but it amazes me how this relationship was another open window, another gift to me from a loving God. But, there was still another window to be opened…….
Until next time, dear reader, I hope you will be blessed by a meditation I wrote last year about the goodness of God. I appreciate your comments, and Iet me know how I can pray for you. God bless!
Categories: Real Answers For Life