"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Eyes of a Man

I look into the eyes of the man and I see the boy he once was. The boy who collected insects and rocks; the boy who created art out of everyday things found in the yard and the house and the boy who always seemed intelligent far beyond his years.

I look into the eyes of the man and I see the boy who I never really knew because of the difference in our ages. The teenager who found Christ at a youth camp in Panama City, yet I did not know how to rejoice with him. The boy who seemed to look up to me for something I did not know how to give.

I look into the eyes of the man and I see the young man embarking on a career that most folks would envy. A career of prestige, social standing and importance in the community. A career that I found myself envying because the young man had the drive and ambition that I think I lacked in those days.

I look into the eyes of the man and I see the man who for a number of years grew in directions separate from his family. We never lost contact, but the contacts were sometimes few and far between. I also see the eyes of the man’s mother when she would want to talk and hear his voice, yet the voice was not there.

I look into my own eyes and still see the tears shed on the night I heard of his three attempted suicides in a location far away.
A location where he was alone and isolated from friends and family, yet going through a hell I will never know or can possibly imagine. I see the shock and grief in the eyes of his family and closest friends who were not aware of his plans as he made them for days ahead of time.

I look into the eyes of the man’s family and friends and see the tears of relief that the attempts did not succeed and the rush of the subsequent days to gather him back home and into the arms of the familiar. Yet, I see the questions, the hurt, the terror of the “what ifs”, but also the depth of love and concern for the man’s welfare and recovery.

I look into the eyes of the man and see the haunted, sad look of despair and knowledge of the pain he has caused those closest to him. However, I can also see the tiniest spark of determination to rebuild his life and prove to him that he is worth living, not just for others, but also for himself.

I look into the eyes of the man and see the joy of taking one step forward, yet many times I see the pain of the two steps backward which often follow. The pain of a bi-polar diagnosis, the joy of finding a job, the hurt of not being able to handle the pressures of employment at this time, the excitement over moving home, the sadness of not knowing what his future holds.

I look into the eyes of the man and I see on a daily basis his determination to beat the demons that have plagued him and, even though slowly, very slowly, begin to defeat them and grow a little stronger in his own manhood.

I look into the eyes of the man and I see my little brother. The boy I have grown to love as we grew to be men and now, the brother I will do anything within my power to protect, defend and to help face tomorrow. I see the man who is my brother that now in many ways I look up to because I see strength within him that I’m not sure I would have had in the same battles.

I look into the eyes of my brother and see the little boy, the teenager, the young man, and now, the man of whom I am so extremely proud. I see my brother who may have wandered from the arms of God for a season, but has not forgotten the Love that compels us; the Love that has protected him and has brought him back to me so that I might learn from him.

Pray for my brother. He’s the greatest guy in the world and I love him; and I especially want him to remember how much God loves him.

And for today my friends, this is the gospel according to Jimmy.


At 2:42 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

Oh Jimmy, how wonderful it is to have your brother back. I will be praying for him.

At 6:06 PM, Blogger Janice said...


I read your story and see such a mix of sadness and hope for your brother and your family. I pray all goes well as you all take this extremely hard - but not impossible - journey together.

I am so glad you are proud of your brother. You are right. You have learned from him and you will continue to learn from each other.


At 4:42 PM, Blogger Carol L said...

I don't know you, and you don't know me. I came across your name on Bill and Glory's blog ('cept you called her Gloria...I feel pretty safe in saying they probably forgive you as I'm sure it happens frequently, lol...).

I'm a survivor of bipolar disorder - although I was too terrified to allow psychiatric medicine to "officially" diagnose this...it's a long story just as everything about my life with this affliction is a long story. I'm also living proof that Jesus Christ truly is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I know quite a lot about how terrifying it can be to live in the clutches of this condition. The journey the Lord took me through to restoration is a miraculous one that started out with a promise in the Word given to me unequivocally as a personal promise coming straight from Jesus' heart and made real in mine.

Did anyone know how to pray, what to pray? I actually don't know if anyone did or didn't. All I know is that things got better by default, as it were, just by the very act of surrendering my life over to Christ 11 1/2 years ago after previous years of having been basically run ragged by the thing. After a couple of years walking with Jesus, He put His finger on that part of my life and walked me through the restoration process which culminated into completion by a miracle just a couple of years ago. The rest of the journey up to this point has been about confronting the wreckage and learning to live life like every day people do - which has been the most exciting part to me if the truth be told!

I can remember a time a few years ago at a gas station while filling up my car that it suddenly hit me that I could do this. I was doing this! I was driving, shopping, filling the car up, holding a job, etc., whereas, before I had stretches where even the simplest of tasks could be overwhelming enough to bring paralysis, yet here I was! I was doing this stuff! There were pivotal times in my early years where I asked key people, first my mom, then a counselor, 'How do people do this? How do they just do the dishes or whatever they have to do on a daily basis and just be normal, you know, just live life in peace? How do they do this?'

My mama didn't have an answer when I asked her at age 22. At age 26, my counselor had an answer summed up in one word or, rather, one name, "Jesus." The answer astounded and baffled me, and I totally didn't get it. I was like, 'huh?' when she said it, but I remember that it made an impact on me - and I remember why it made an impact on me, but that's another story. It would take a couple of years after that for me to get it.

I guess my desperation was intense and all-consuming enough to have missed all the doctrines of man which say that Jesus' days of healing and miracles ended with the deaths of the original apostles. All that just flew right on over my head, and I never caught wind of it (Praise God!). I didn't know any better than to trust that the Lord could do this for me. I didn't have any better sense than to reach out with childlike faith rather than letting skepticism cause me to dismiss the whole thing as even within the realm of possibility. And, thank God, I didn't tell many people what I was dealing with - even though it was an ongoing process that took years - so there was actually no one in the mix to discourage me with the ideas of modern Christianity which cause so, so many to become heartsick and abandon the process before receiving their miracle.

I don't know what you believe, how you believe it, so maybe I'm stepping on some toes in your theology. Honestly, I didn't read enough on your blog to know where you stand on certain aspects of the faith which many consider to be controversial. All I know is, I once lived in bewilderment and terror, and now I am free and learning how to do this thing called life - a chance I never stood a shot in sheol of being able to do before Jesus came along and did what He did!

Even with this experience I've had I'm not going to assume I know how to pray. I'm going to trust in what it says in Romans 8:26 and 27 and believe that the Holy Spirit knows just what to pray and how to pray it.

Blessed regards,
Carol :)

At 6:30 PM, Blogger Carol L said...

PS, I realize the last part of that could easily come across as harsh, and, if so, please accept my apology. It seems I'm a lot more skittish than I realized about sharing these things with people whom I don't already know support me in my views of God's healing and miracles. It seems I find myself bracing myself all over again for the big one where folks call it the devil and what not when I tell them that God still heals and does miracles today - even with my own living proof of it. I guess it just goes to show I haven't really gotten over the sting of it the first time it happened.

What I would like to have come across that typewritten characters can't necessarily communicate as effectively is that Jesus has more compassion on the sick and the hurting than we can assimilate in our own human ability, but that's not to say we can't taste of it and know it. And I know it like I wouldn't have known it had He not healed me and restored me. And I guess that's the part that bugs me about people not believing that God still heals today. To me they may as well say that Jesus really isn't alive, that it's just a myth because it was compassion that led Him to do everything He did when He walked the earth, and it's compassion that causes Him to still reach out to heal the sick, the lost, and the dying.

I'm glad your brother is still alive. That was one of the big miracles that occurred with my encounter with Jesus that led me to salvation - the realization upon experiencing Him that I really didn't want to die (as exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally, and every other way as I was). I discovered something that was like a revelation: that I actually did want to live. And what He gave me - along with everything else He gave me - on that day that changed the course of my life forever was the ability to choose whom I would serve. So not only did I discover that I wanted to live and not die, but I also discovered that all I wanted to do was live for Him. And He made that totally possible, and for this I am most grateful.

Anyway, I hope nothing I said was hurtful.

Blessed regards,
Carol L. :)

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Angie Poole said...

Jimmy, definitely will pray for your brother.

I've really been enjoying reading your blog tonght!

At 10:10 AM, Blogger shannon said...

Jimmy, you're a good brother. When I thought this was about one of the boys from your youth group, I was going to say that you're a good friend. I'm sure you're that to your brother, as well.

I lost my mother to bipolar disorder, although back then we called it manic depression. It wasn't until after her suicide that I began to understand how yawning that pit of depression is and how difficult it can be for your voice to reach the ones lying prone at the bottom.

I'm praying for your brother.

At 11:10 PM, Blogger Jimmy said...

Thanks, Jan, I appreciate your prayers especially at this tough time in your own life.

Shannon, I had remembered about your mother from reading your book. Those "winter days" of your writing helped get me and my family closer to Spring. God Bless you!

Nancy, as always, I'm glad to hear from you and thanks for your prayers and concern.

Angie, I'm glad you stopped by and are enjoying some of my somewhat quirky writings. Please come again.

Now, Carol....what you had to say was absolutely right on target. You worded your comments perfectly as to what I needed to hear and could identify to what I had (and will be) faciing in coming days. Thanks for your insight, your faith and your compassion. Please stop by often.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger BHGA said...

Some of my greatest points of healing have come from reading others experiencs, giving me greater wisdom and hope and with faith,I can turn to Jesus for comfort and peace. The heart you have for your bother comes from loving and knowing Jesus and I pray you continue to support him and love him each step of the way.



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