In the midst of the Christmas gift-giving, my mother noticed something odd. With a frisky tone of voice, she pointed out, “Howie’s listening to a glass … we’ve lost him.”
All eyes shifted to see my husband, who in fact was holding a glass to his ear.
Howie explained, “My ears are hot and the cold glass—”
“No need to explain,” interrupted my mom, playfully. With a frolicsome smile, she spun her hand at the wrist as if wiping his explanation away.
Her implied message, said in jest: we love and accept you no matter what you do.
Here’s the thing about strange behaviors: some are easy to accept. Others: not so much.
Strange, Funny, and Humorous:
Some strange actions tickle our imagination and make us laugh. Like unusual things captured on YouTube videos.
Babies are always a favorite subject in YouTube videos. Like the ones in these “Funny Baby Videos”:
Add music and narration to funny animals and you’ve got a hilarious funny animal video:
Strange, and Not So Funny:
Mom’s raising kids with mental illness (MI) often witness strange behaviors in their own homes. Seeing our children act in unusual ways is far from funny. It’s concerning and heart-breaking. The strange happenings seem so foreign to “normal” life. We convince ourselves we’re the only ones enduring such an abnormal existence.
If people could peek into our home, they couldn’t possibly understand such bizarre behaviors. No one would believe what’s going on in our home.
The fact is there are countless other moms who WOULD understand. Because they’ve also faced what we’ve faced. There is nothing we’ve experienced that hasn’t been experienced by other moms throughout all time. And since others have experienced and are experiencing what we’re going through, we’re not alone. Others understand.
Solomon guarantees that, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
We can be sure of Solomon’s insight because, “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:29-30).
So Peter cautions us, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).
Strange and Accepted:
Think about your child who has MI. Is there anything he would do that would make you stop loving him? Are there any behaviors that would seem so extreme that you’d lose your compassion for him? No. Your love is unconditional.
The rest of the world may think our kids are a bit odd and seek an explanation. But, like my mother, we simply say in our hearts: “No need to explain.” And love them no matter what.
NOTE: This message is not to imply that life with a child who has MI is full of strange behaviors. Unexpected behaviors may occur, but they’re not constant. Life is simply complicated. A lot like everyone else’s life: full of ups and downs, twists and turns. Happy times and hard times.