Changes in medication or dosage. Confrontations at work. Disrupted sleep. Guests from out of town. There is a plethora of life circumstances that can throw off those who struggle to overcome mental illnesses.
Like a switch on a train track, these situations can instantly reroute our loved ones, sending them in directions we have never gone before. Sometimes they are completely derailed—the crash is devastating for them, and for us.
In our life-trek with Douglas we have often found ourselves in unfamiliar territory. A new prescription may take him into lethargy and despondency. A new girlfriend can trigger an internet spending spree. When these happen Nelson and I scramble to find a road map.
Even though there is no GPS to help us navigate Douglas back to safety and stability, we are not without guidance. As Joshua told the people at the doorway to the Promised Land, the Ark of the Covenant—the word of the Lord and the presence of God—would go before them to show the way.
We may have never been on this particular path with our loved one before, but we are not entering an uncharted land. He who knows the way leads us in the way. We need not fear. Instead, we trust and follow.