Georgette, one whom God loves
The other day, Georgette (not her real name, different time and place too!) asked to talk with me. Fine, I said, let me finish this project and we can go down to McDonald’s to get something to drink. Would that be OK? She nodded her head and off she went as I went back to my work. About an hour later we met at the restaurant. She ordered a coffee, and I got my usual, water. For the next 10 minutes she talked non-stop, interspersing her monologue with statements of ‘I have seen this with my own eyes and you have too’. I nodded my head to make her aware that I was tracking her comment -this meandering trail of words- to the best of my capabilities. Then, she took a breath, a noticeably longer one, and I asked a gently pointed question: Georgette, you evidently have much concern about this, and I was wondering if I could be candid with you about all this? She nodded her head, and I continued. It appears that you have some very strong beliefs about this, but when you told me that I had seen it too, I must confess, I had not. Georgette, it seems to me to me that these view points of yours may not be grounded in reality. Would you want to talk about this? She declined, looked to the floor, and started to put up some mental shields, telling me that maybe she should not have said anything. So I gently pressed in Georgette, I totally respect your position, and I would like you to consider if, maybe, sometime later we could talk about this? She replied OK, appeared a bit more at ease, thanked me profusely.
Building Relationships are Difficult
I continually am made aware that when a person’s disability, such as delusions, can be reframed into less clinical terms, tying it more to everyday words, then the individual who has a disability is more open to talk.
On the other side of the fence, I have seen people who are so clinically right in their approach to dealing with people who have disabilities that the relationship with that individual is unwittingly stifled.
Getting to that right place is difficult. On one hand, there is that concern arising from the disability that must be addressed in a timely manner; but, on the other hand, there is the reality that if a relationship is not established, the effectiveness of that intervention is diminished.
Prayer Helps…a lot
I don’t always get this right, and I am thankful that God gracious with me as I continue to learn. When I am involved in these types of conversations, I pray seeking guidance, knowing that God is far bigger than this situation and knows the best way through it.
With that assurance, I move forward, knowing that somehow, that someway I will be able to touch the life of the person whom I am talking with for His sake.
One go-to Scripture is Psalm 139.
When you are in the midst of difficult conversations, how do you stay on track, and help the other person?
Blessings on your journey!