B.o.B.’s song “Airplanes (I Could Really Use a Wish Right Now)” keeps running in my head these days–especially the whispered refrain “wish right now, wish right now, wish right now.” And I ask myself, should I be wishing? Or should I be praying? And where is faith these days?
I am pretty ambivalent about the season of winter. On the one hand, if I happen to be in a place where it is snowing and where I don’t have to do anything but watch it fall, I love the sense of peace and quiet and beauty and stillness that winter brings. I love fireplaces and drinking spiced tea and curling up while the winds blow outside. On the other hand, being in the dark both driving to work and driving home from work makes me feel imprisoned. I drag jackets and coats and scarves everywhere I go and then leave them and forget where they are. I miss the sun. It feels pretty hard to just get up and get the basics of life taken care of in these winter months–when I am at home, at work, and having to navigate daily life (and not on a beautiful mountain somewhere rocking by a fireplace while beautiful snowflakes fall outside). I want to sleep more.
And, in the midst of this hibernation longing of mine, the state legislature is convening in Austin. Our Texas lawmakers are proposing a budget for the next biennium that could cut up to half of the current general revenue funding for community safety net services for persons with mental retardation and autism spectrum disorders. This budget could cut up to twenty percent of public mental health services funding, leaving thousands who have serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia with no treatment options. Human services work has always been an uphill endeavor–the struggle to advocate for and care for those who, but for the grace of God, could be any of us (and are some of us, as pretty much every family is touched in some way by these conditions). Brain disorders and disabilities are as biological as heart disease and kidney disease and all other medical conditions. No one asks for a mental or developmental disability. In the realm of unity, of no separation, of our sisterhood and brotherhood, we are all one and anyone’s pain is all our pain.
Pray for grace and wisdom to shine in the hearts of the decision makers. Pray for healing of the brokenness we all in truth share. There are no easy answers.
This season of winter will soon pass–but for those who bravely live with mental illness and developmental disabilities, and for their families and those who love them, the struggle continues.
I could really use a wish right now.