Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A conflict of wills

(Or, a really long, complicated, and probably entirely boring story that I must tell in order to feel better about myself and the decisions I'm supposed to be making)

Will I listen to my instincts, or will I trust that even when I go against them, God will catch me if I fall?

This is the conflict that I have been thinking of all day....

So a close friend of mine has been inpatient for a week for some mental health issues, which were bubbling up for a while, and escalating, and becoming more and more serious, and concerning more and more of our mutual friends, and generally making more and more people really worry.

Like, serious worries.

Facebook entries about wanting to hurt others and herself.

Really discouraging emails and text messages.

The repeated comment that she just didn't understand why anyone would care about her.

And some really disturbing stories from her past, about the abuses she suffered and was really never treated for, that were haunting her and making themselves more real and apparent than they had been for a long time.

So just before sweet hubby and this girl's roommate left for a ten day trip, my friend was manic. As in, wildly swung from suicidal to thinking she was on top of the world, and could do ridiculous things like drive through trees. (I'm not making this up. She said that.) So the roommate wrote a "behavior intervention team" form at the counseling center on campus where they both have been in counseling, individually, for a while. It resulted in the friend being talked into voluntarily becoming an inpatient.

She didn't like the facility, and after a weekend, was back out on her own.

Sweet hubby and roommate were out of the country. I was at the beach with friends from school.

I didn't call all week. When sweet hubby and roommate got back from their trip, roommate came to relax at my house before going home into the unknown -- she had no idea how she would find the friend at home -- manic, depressed, somewhere in between, drunk and manic, drunk and depressed, etc. The unknown, after 10 days away, was an unappealing welcome home.

They returned on Saturday night. Sunday was a normal day, as far as I could tell.

Monday, I called the friend to offer her a ride to a Bible study group we both participate in. She responded that she wasn't coming, and probably wouldn't ever return.

I led the group, as normal, then went home, prepared for the next day, and went to bed.

While I was sleeping, my world shifted dramatically.

My friend posted some things threatening the people who live in her house with violence and also threatening suicide. Roommate has many friends who called, texted, and insisted that she leave the house (the third roommate, also), and a sister in law who called the police.

When they responded, she was taken in the ambulance to the hospital, but for some reason managed not to be admitted. Roommate spent the night elsewhere.

I received two clues that something big was going on, and received both of them on Tuesday. The first was a text from an out of town friend, asking what was going on with the suicidal friend, since something on facebook looked pretty wrong. The text had been sent the night before, but of course I didn't see it until 7 in the morning. The second clue was a sketched out email from sweet hubby that roommate would be staying with us for a while.

After being encouraged so strongly to leave her home under the threat of immediate danger to self by the friend, roommate had filled out another behavior intervention form. (GOOD PLAN!!!) The friend met with her counselor, who convinced her that an inpatient program really would be the best place for her at the moment.

So she checked in. And stayed in from Tuesday until today. Today is also Tuesday, so one week.

And now she is home.

Her two roommates have begun taking steps to move out, vacate the lease, and pack up. Roommate is staying with me, and the other is staying with another friend. And in the middle, we are all trying to re-negotiate the boundaries that we thought were in place and secure and trustworthy.

And after it all, I feel like a bad friend, because I only spoke to her once while she was in the hospital, didn't call her today even though I knew she was out, and certainly did not invite her to run with me and my running buddy tonight. I feel like I need to be the one to show her that friends don't tuck tail and run, ever. But I want so very much to tuck tail and run, far far away from the drama that has been going on all week.

Is it enough for me to support roommate, and not the other friend, too? What exactly am I supposed to be doing in this situation? I don't really have much more time or energy to support friend, and roommate, and I've been friends with roommate for much longer, and with a much deeper relationship.

I want a panacea that will make it so that none of this ever happened, that friend never had these deep mental issues that I don't know how to handle, and that my ability to step out in faith was never put to the test.

Because if I truly have faith, I will trust that I can begin to reestablish contact with my friend, in a nonthreatening and non-committed manner (meaning, not committing to be the one who receives the call when she is considering suicide again, not listening to stories of the past horrors she has lived, and things like that), but reestablishing contact in a way that helps her to know that this, too, can be moved past, and through, and made into a story of transformation and patience and redemption and peace, even though at the moment it feels anything but peaceful.

And that, for now, is my conflict.

Do I trust my instincts, and run far, far away from all contact? Or do I trust my Jesus, and treat her as the least of these, offering another chance even when she probably doesn't actually deserve one, with the full confidence that how I treat her reflects whether Jesus actually lives in my heart or not?

I hope I choose Jesus.

And to think, this post came in place of a picture of my new pink shoes....

Time will tell.

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