There are days when my sister needs more of me, and I feel inadequate to help her. There are times when she needs less of me—like when I attempt to push her out of her comfort zone, but she’s just not up for it. No one knows Tiffany’s exact medical condition—she’s been labeled with various diagnoses: bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety…regardless of what the doctors try to name it, she lives in her own world of fear and her reality is real.
A few years ago, the chemicals in Tiffany’s brain were so imbalanced, she ended up in a mental hospital. She had never been on her own—a forty-year old woman who, because of her condition, never left home. When she found herself alone and frightened in this facility, she discovered a new strength.
Her first few days there, she had no contact with the outside world. After what seemed like an eternity, but was only three days, she was allowed to talk on the phone. She called me and her voice was shaky. “They took all my stuff…my purse, my clothes, my cell phone…the only thing that’s mine is this hospital gown and it’s not really mine.”
I cried silent tears so she couldn’t hear my aching heart. She needed me to be strong, didn’t she?
Before I could reply, her voice grew steady. “But in this unfamiliar place, stripped of all I know, I discovered that I have everything I need right here. I have God. I don’t need to do this on my own. He’s the one who clothes me in strength. I need to do all that I can to help myself, and allow Him to help me too. It’s the sheer beauty of effort; mine and His. Together.”
I let her hear me cry.
Today, I watch her from afar and wonder how she does it. Impressed with how she’s been able to handle her condition. Like a game of cards, she’s been dealt the joker. Yet she presses herself to continue, and holds tightly to one reality: “In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him.”
“We can’t always choose the music life plays for us, but we can choose how to dance to it.” ~Unknown