Saturday, December 8, 2012

The giver, not to whom something was given

I've just discovered, in reading Elizabeth Kaeton's blog about a NY cop who bought a homeless man a pair of shoes and winter socks, that being a Christian isn't about finding someone worthy of your charity. It's about finding it within yourself that you can give freely and charitably, consequences notwithstanding. Now that I think about it, there's evidence all over Scripture about the prophets who really weren't all that thrilled with God's call to them, because they were looking at the likelihood of success. God's message to them was, "let me be in charge of the outcomes".

This is a revelatory point for me, fifteen weeks after my partner's untimely death. With each passing month of his passing, I gain greater confidence that my early suspicions were sound: I was called to help John, not to judge him or set some criterion for his care. I was called to help him in his last struggles in his life.

I asked repeatedly in prayer, why must I be his caregiver? WIIFM? Can you please get him back to good health so that we can return to our prior life together? It was John in his best health that attracted me to him, and for that condition I hoped and prayed.

Yet, John did not progress to better health; quite the contrary. John was bipolar, and quite possibly in denial about his disorder. As one consequence, his medications may not have been properly monitored. I now suspect his alcohol abuse was connected to his depressive phases. His 2008 mugging could be attributed to the consequences of a manic phase: one of his friends mentioned to me his disregard for the consequences of his more aggressive statements. Should I be more active in support of bipolar disorder research?

It's all very sad. The point of this post, though, is that I didn't condition my love for this guy on his purity or righteousness or some such. I was close to leaving him more than once, but it didn't feel right, and I could tell that it wasn't right as I struggled through the particular situation. I couldn't leave John because he was sick, or because he was imperfect, or because--or just because. I longed for John to recover, so that we could be together more, camp out more, attend more musical events, spend more evenings on the lawn at the Millennium Center. I stuck with John out of hope. Now, it's time to think about a different future, my time with John is now a chapter of history.

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