“In death’s midst I am Life: no mortal harms
Touch you who yield yourself into my keeping
Safe-folded in the everlasting arms”
Confession, Margaret Willy, Every Star a Tongue (1946)
I recall my aunt’s piece. How, in her twenties, she fought back from the “razor edge of reason”. How “taut terror slowly died”. I recite her psalmody. Remember how her crisis passed. “Safe-folded in the Everlasting Arms.” I too am safe-folded in the Everlasting Arms. I am in God’s Arms. I rock back and forth.
As I work 17-hour days, do not see my house in daylight, I become less and less resilient to the ostracism, the suicidality, the rejection. I am more desperate for it to end. My plea for it to end is ignored. Instead I am further rejected; told by the mental health skills group this week that I can’t be ill, if I am a psychologist; if I already know about the skills being taught. I tell them mental illness is more than a lack of skill. But, I am told that I have left them all without hope. So I walk away. It costs to do that. I sit, crumpled, folded in two, crying uncontrollably. One place I was supposed to be accepted in spite of being ill, because everyone is ill. I needed the pain to end. Death seems the only way to end it.
Safe folded in the Everlasting Arms
My aunt’s voice resurfaces. No matter how loudly the voice in my head tells me I would be better dead; worth more to everyone that way. No matter how many more years of mental illness I have ahead of me. No matter what people think of me, or what they say about me; how much more prejudice and discrimination I must endure at the hands of a church that claims it cares about me. No matter what. I am God’s. Nothing will be allowed to truly hurt me while He is looking after me.