The funny part of it all is that relatively few people seem to go crazy. – Gertrude Stein
For some time, I’ve been thinking I should explain the origin of my blog title. Despite what some members of my family think, sometimes I do have reasons for the things i do. The short version of how I came up with the title is this: I stole it.
I can’t recall where I heard the line, but I remember one character asking another, Are you out of your alleged mind? If I had to guess, I’d say it came either from an episode of M*A*S*H or The Carol Burnett Show, aired sometime during the seventies. I really do have very few original ideas, so I often resort to stealing from songs, movies, and other pop-culture venues. I always try to give appropriate credit, but I honestly can’t remember where I got this one.
The line was a play on words, and it amused me. Since I make a fair number of decisions based on what amuses me, I googled to see if it was available as a blog title. It was. So I typed the words into the header of a Blogger template, and this became the place I write about things that are bumping around inside my head.
Since I’ve taken up residence in blog world, however, I’ve come to know and care about a number of folks for whom the pain of mental illness is no joke. I’m concerned that some will read the title of my blog and think I’m insensitive to their experiences. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve had a front-row seat to what the pain of this world can do to a person’s body, soul, mind, and spirit. I’m no stranger to the heartache caused by mental and emotional distress. To borrow a line from the movie Arsenic and Old Lace:
Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.
Some families have tendencies toward heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, even male-pattern baldness. Mine seems to have a predisposition toward anxiety and depression. I can still picture what I was wearing the day my dad came home from work to break the news of a beloved family member’s suicide.
I’ve not written about that day yet; I might someday. I’m concerned that some in my family will think I’m spilling secrets inappropriately, airing our dirty laundry. I hope they won’t think that. The story of that day became an important piece of my story. Since then, I’ve often wondered how a person who clung to the King James and stood on the promises could have reached such point of deep despair.
Since that day, I’ve often asked the question, how do I know the same thing won’t happen to me?
The world is not a kind place. Living in this world in its brokenness, in its fallen condition, takes its toll. In our brokenness, we sometimes wound one another deeply. It seems to me that a life lived fully, honestly, and authentically—with eyes and heart wide open—hurts. And when life hurts, I think there are only three choices available to any of us: Cling to Jesus, self-medicate, or go crazy. Some days I’m not entirely sure which way it’s going to go for me. Some days I think Gertrude Stein was right—it is truly astounding that relatively few people seem to go crazy.
I sometimes picture Crazy as a shady character who wears a trench coat and lurks in the shadows, waiting to snatch me and drag me into the darkness when my guard is down. So I’ve been keeping an eye out for him. If my family had a history of heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, there are certain precautions it would be wise for me to take. I might pay better attention to diet and exercise, get monitored and tested regularly, or become more diligent about taking a multi-vitamin and wearing sunscreen.
Although I can’t inoculate myself against the pain and disease of this world, and I can’t change my family history, I’m learning there are steps I can take to guard my heart and mind. Writing this blog has been one of them. In this space, I’m daring to look at the hard things in life, the painful, and the broken; to tell my stories of living life with eyes and heart wide open. I’m choosing not to ignore the pain, nor to anesthetize myself against it or fear it. I’m choosing instead to use words to bear witness that I am clinging to the One risen with healing in His wings; the One whose light shines dispelling all darkness, leaving Crazy no place to hide.
This blog has been my way of telling Crazy, “I belong to Jesus. You can’t have me.”