I had the privilege of attending The Salvation Army’s annual Christmas kettle kick off breakfast last week. All of the major Salvation Army players from the country and in the city show up to it, plus some funders and other dignitaries to kick off this annual Christmas fundraiser.
Each year they bring in a fairly well-known speaker whose role is to raise morale and encourage people to volunteer and to give.This year the speaker was Michael Landsberg. He is a sports commentator and hosted his own show for many years called ‘Off the Record’ on TSN TV. He was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety in the year 2000 and finally in the year 2008 he made that public via his TV show.
That was when he learned that by sharing publicly his life with this disease it liberated other people who were keeping their mental health issues a secret due to the societal stigma attached to it. He has now made it his life goal to share his own struggle with the disease in order to help erase the stigma of mental health issues altogether.
When he shared about his dark times, the listener could really sense how much loneliness he feels in the midst of it. His description of those times felt like the exact opposite of the word ‘peace’. In the midst of his depression, he feels anxious, alone, tormented and in turmoil.
He also rightly admitted that the only difference between him and someone who is homeless dealing with the same disease is that he is resourced. He has the money and the family and the friends to be around him so that he could pay for medications, see counsellors, and have family and friends to rely on. Many of the folks that we know who are homeless do not have any of those things.
That’s where we come in. We come around people and help to resource folks that are struggling with any number of things, including mental health issues. And yes, once in a while we get to see people who demonstrate exactly the opposite of peace, looking as though peace is creeping into their lives. When people discover ways to manage their pain, peace begins to settle in.
I believe this is the kind of peace that Jesus was talking about. When we read about Jesus healing people, He often says He is giving them peace.
Healing and peace.
Peace and healing.
They are the same thing.
We have the privilege of witnessing people come into our buildings that are not at peace, start to settle into a kind of peace that they didn’t even know existed.
Thinking about this kind of peace, our theme for the month of November helps us in our attempt to continue to be The Hand of God in the Heart of the City.
Go in Peace,