Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Love Without Boundaries

Sponsored by Love Without Boundaries
7:00 PM, Friday, Sep. 23
The Church of St. Philip Social Hall
821 E. 5th St., Litchfield, MN 55355

On Friday evening I'm hoping to go over to Litchfield to hear Pete speak.  I've never met him but I do know what he represents--a courageous group of people who are dealing with issues that I can only begin to understand.  The sponsoring organization is called "Love without Boundaries."  Together with NAMI of Meeker County, LWB works "to eradicate the stigma involved with mental illness through education and support."

The flyer for Friday evening's event says this:
Besides the standard medical treatment for mental illness of medication and therapy, there is a crucial third ingredient: spirituality, volunteering, creativity, focusing our lives not on just on our wounds, but on what we love. Using the insights gained from his own 30 year struggle with depression and MS, National speaker Pete Feigal uses humor and heartbreak to examine this extra element to recovery to give consumers, family members and mental health professionals concrete ideas and tools to help fmd our gifts, and then ways to share our gifts with others. The focus will be on tinding hope, losing our shame, building new dreams, and rediscovering meaning and purpose in our lives.
As I mentioned back in January in Mental Illness and Poverty of Spirit, sheriff's deputies had brought this subject to light during their annual meeting with local pastors, saying that many of their domestic calls and other calls for service involved mental illness.  So this isn't just something that "some people" deal with and the rest of us can ignore.  It's good for all of us to know something about it.  According to government statistics, mental illness affects about one quarter of all adults and a higher percentage of youth.  Yet, many of us know very little about it.  Learning something will help us avoid (1) unnecessary fear, (2) naive optimism (thinking people just need to get over it), or (3) the rejection of those who suffer, thinking of them as somehow worse sinners than the rest of us, believing it's all about poor choices or a lack of self control.

I like the name "Love without Boundaries" and I'll try to go to the event on Friday night.  Let's reach out to those who suffer in this way, praying with and for them and their families, and helping them find ways to cope and find healing just as we do with any other illness.  Can we really exclude people from our care who are suffering in ways that we cannot imagine?  Or can we ask "What Would Jesus Do?"

"Love Without Boundaries" (LWB) itself is a local support group for the loved ones of individuals whose lives have been touched by mental illness.  LWB meets on the first Thursday of every month from 7-9 p.m. at the Litchfield Public Library.  You can contact LWB at lovewithoutboundaries09@gmail.com or call Dollie at 320-693-7072.


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