Hanging On By A Thread

A friend of mine called me just a few minutes ago asking for prayer. She is an elderly woman well into her eighties and has been having some health issues recently. I have known this woman for about 15 years and in all that time she has relied totally upon the Lord when she has health problems. She tore her rotator cuff about eight years ago and refused surgery, insisting that God would heal her. She then began a course of self-prescribed physical therapy along with dietary supplements. It took some time – about a year, I think, but she was totally healed. No surgery and complete restoration of the use of that arm.

Her current issues are causing her to become fearful. I could hear it in her voice as she explained that she is beginning to confuse dreams with reality and sometimes doesn’t know which is which unless someone tells her. She doesn’t recognize her own son at times and calls him “that man downstairs” who is so rude to her and won’t take her where she wants to go. She is concerned that “they” are going to put her away someplace and she won’t be able to get out. She asked for prayer as she looks for a doctor to help with her situation.

My heart cries out for her – I have been in her place during the worst stages of MS and I know what she is going through. It is awful to not be able to trust your own mind and even worse when your own family is unsympathetic and impatient with you. I remember one instance when my husband was explaining something trivial from his day at work and I did not understand what he was talking about – it made no sense whatsoever, and the more I asked questions the angrier and more frustrated he became with me. Then my daughter stepped to my side and put her hand on my shoulder and said “It’s okay, Momma. It isn’t important.” Those simple words were like oil on troubled water. I ceased being anxious and confused and became peaceful and content with not knowing what he was talking about. There were other times when I would be talking and pointing to something, trying to speak the word that identified the item and another word would come out. I would shake my head “NO” and try again, and still the wrong word would come out. In my mind I knew what I was trying to say but my mouth was under some other control and the proper words simply would not come out. If it had not been for my children and their amazing unconditional, constant love during those awful days, I don’t think I would have made it. I’m sure my husband would have had me committed someplace.

Having been set free from the demon that plagued me during those awful months I am heartbroken to see anyone suffer a similar fate. Some will never escape from the depths into which they are sinking. I asked my friend today if she could identify what her problem was – did she know what was wrong? She got very quiet and then she said, “I just want to live in peace. I want peace in my house and in my life. I cannot fight any longer.” I felt a quickening when she said those words and I wondered if perhaps what was happening to her mind was her way of escaping from the turmoil of her life where she cares for a schizophrenic brother and a son with OCD. Perhaps, finally, she will have peace.

The human brain is an amazingly powerful entity in its own right. We think we are in control when, in actuality, our brain is doing its own thing most of the time. I have observed that as long as we are going along and not causing undue stress to our bodies and emotions, our mind will function in tandem with our will. However, our brain seems to take over and do its own thing for self-preservation when we seem unable to keep all of the balls juggling in the air. I have no formal education to explain such things but I have seen the results of stress and trauma on the human mind on many occasions and also have my own experiences. The brain wants the body to survive and will go to any lengths to insure that survival – even going so far as to go into hiding to escape the onslaught that is causing the stress/trauma.

Today I am praying for freedom for my friend and all of those like her who have reached the end of their rope; for all those whose minds are going or have gone into hiding; and for all those who are still hanging on for dear life to the end of the rope: May God throw you a life line!

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