The other day, I was sitting by the computer putting the finishing touches to my forthcoming book. (It’s a lengthy old business when you have to type out your lines with a beak!) And as I was tapping away, I overheard my owner telling a visitor about his recent holiday on the Isles of Scilly. Apparently one night, a freak Summer storm hit the islands. My owner and his wife were staying in a wooden cottage overlooking the main harbour of St. Mary’s. Despite the storm, they went to bed and had a good night’s sleep. Their friends in a bedroom on the other side of the cottage had a rather different experience. They were awakened at around midnight by a bright light shining in through their bedroom window. It was the searchlight from a helicopter. Out in the harbour, a yacht had slipped its anchor and was being driven onto rocks just a few hundred yards away. For a time, the lives of the two humans onboard hung in the balance as the yacht, now lying on its side, was in danger of being swallowed up (and broken up) by the ferocious sea. Mercifully, the rescue mission proved successful and the two humans on the yacht were winched to safety.
My owner had remained oblivious throughout the unfolding drama, happily sleeping away in his own cosy world. And I’m sure he’s also oblivious to a great many other things that afflict the humans that he meets on a daily basis. Especially all of those things which you can’t physically see. The troubles, the problems and the tensions which lie hidden beneath their outward veneer. Human beings are a funny old bunch.
A wise old parrot friend of mine once said this:
“The farther we venture down into the labyrinths of complexity, the more we hide our faces from the warmth of the sun.” (Einstein the African Grey).
I’m sure that anyone that has suffered from mental health problems would agree. I’m convinced that God never wanted it to be like this. In an ideal world, problems and troubles are there to be aired and shared. Not locked away in some damp dark cell in the depths of our minds. The more we retreat into ourselves and bury our troubles, the deeper our problems become and the worse we feel. During their hour of need, the two humans on the stricken yacht knew that they had to contact the coastguard for help. It was their only option. So why is it that so many humans have created a world in which it’s so difficult to ask for help or to share an inner trouble? Part of the answer is probably because humans are judgemental. Especially in the harsh world of human employment. An employee struggling to cope is so often viewed as being weak or inadequate. And that is an attitude which causes so much harm in human society.
If humans judged a little less, and became more friendly and approachable, then others will learn to trust them as true friends and feel more able to share the burdens that they carry inside.
Jesus often told His followers to “look out for one another.” The Bible repeats this message time and time again:
“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
These instructions are not simply rules to be kept. They are part of God’s master plan for us to live out happy lives here on Earth. Sadly, too many humans that wield power on Earth have failed to read the script.