Unclean, Unclean!

A Samaritan leper worships Jesus after being healed.

A Samaritan leper worships Jesus after being healed.

As I have thought about mental illness and the stigma that is so often attached to it my thoughts have so often drifted to the disease of Leprosy.  I also am reminded of a story in Scripture that convicts me of how I respond as God works in my life.  I am also reminded of the role pain can play in our lives.  Hopefully I can put this down and have it make sense!

Through the years pretty much all I knew about Leprosy is it was a picture of sin and it terribly disfigured people.  I thought of the movie Ben Hur where the mother and sister of Ben Hur were afflicted with Leporsy and forced to live in caves.  Below is a brief overview of Leporsy taken from Easton’s Bible Dictionary.

“This disease “begins with specks on the eyelids and on the palms, gradually spreading over the body, bleaching the hair white wherever they appear, crusting the affected parts with white scales, and causing terrible sores and swellings. From the skin the disease eats inward to the bones, rotting the whole body piecemeal.” “In Christ’s day no leper could live in a walled town, though he might in an open village. But wherever he was he was required to have his outer garment rent as a sign of deep grief, to go bareheaded, and to cover his beard with his mantle, as if in lamentation at his own virtual death. He had further to warn passers-by to keep away from him, by calling out, ‘Unclean! unclean!’ nor could he speak to any one, or receive or return a salutation, since in the East this involves an embrace.”
That the disease was not contagious is evident from the regulations regarding it (Lev_13:12, Lev_13:13, Lev_13:36; 2Ki_5:1). Leprosy was “the outward and visible sign of the innermost spiritual corruption; a meet emblem in its small beginnings, its gradual spread, its internal disfigurement, its dissolution little by little of the whole body, of that which corrupts, degrades, and defiles man’s inner nature, and renders him unmeet to enter the presence of a pure and holy God” (Maclear’s Handbook O.T). Our Lord cured lepers (Mat_8:2, Mat_8:3; Mar_1:40-42). This divine power so manifested illustrates his gracious dealings with men in curing the leprosy of the soul the fatal taint of sin.”

As with Leprosy, Mental Illness has a stigma that goes along with it.  Sadly, much of this stigma is found in the Body of Christ, the very place where love and compassion should be found.  Instead, the sufferer is in a sense, treated like the Lepers of old.  To our shame, some in the church view Mental Illness as “the outward and inward sign of the innermost spiritual corruption” as described above.  As a result, many afflicted believers become separated from the church as they live a life of shame and isolation, mourning their wretched condition.

With both Leprosy and Mental Illness, “pain” is a big component.  In a book titled “Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants” the author, Philip Yancey talks about his work with lepers and the unique role that pain plays with this disease.

With Leprosy, the victims lose the ability to feel pain and as a result, this leads to serious consequences which can include the loss of limbs.  When somebody is sick, quite often pain is the alarm that tells us something is wrong.  As a result we go for treatment or take medication and quite often the illness is done away with.  If we weren’t able to feel the pain we would not know to go to a doctor and the illness could in many cases lead to serious consequences up to and including death.  In this sense, pain can be seen as a gift.  As the leper can’t feel pain they unknowingly aggravate an area of the body that is “infected” and create additional damage.  As a result they unwittingly make their condition even worse.  If they felt the pain, this could be avoided.

The pain of Mental Illness is different than the pain of the flu or other diseases but it is pain none-the-less.  The pain we experience lets us know something is wrong and we have the opportunity to address it.  Many times the sufferer will find relief while at other times, relief is a long time in coming for reasons we don’t know.  But what I do know is that God is aware of our pain and in His perfect will, He has His reason(s) for allowing it.

So how does one respond to Mental Illness when they are the victim?  That’s a pretty easy question to answer if you’ve never known the depths of emotional despair one can experience while suffering with a Mental Illness.  In my life, I respond much better to physical pain.  At times that was not a good thing and one time in particular it almost cost me my life.

What if God reached down and instantly removed your Panic Disorder, PTSD, OCD, Bi-Polar Disorder, or depression?  What what you do?  There’s a portion of Scripture I would like to close with that tells a story of when Jesus healed ten lepers.  It has much to say to us today.

Luke 17:11  On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee.
Luke 17:12  And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance
Luke 17:13  and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
Luke 17:14  When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.
Luke 17:15  Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice;
Luke 17:16  and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.
Luke 17:17  Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?
Luke 17:18  Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Luke 17:19  And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Here we see ten lepers crying in one accord to Jesus.  These ten were outcasts and they kept their distance from Jesus per the law.

Numbers 5:2  “Command the people of Israel that they put out of the camp everyone who is leprous or has a discharge and everyone who is unclean through contact with the dead.
Numbers 5:3  You shall put out both male and female, putting them outside the camp, that they may not defile their camp, in the midst of which I dwell.”
Numbers 5:4  And the people of Israel did so, and put them outside the camp; as the LORD said to Moses, so the people of Israel did.

As they cried out they said “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” and Jesus responded by saying “Go and show yourselves to the Priests.”  He hadn’t healed them but they realized that the reason they would be going to the Priests was based on the law.  They knew they would be healed and so it was, as they were on their way, they were healed.  Notice how they obeyed before the promise was realized.

Leviticus 14:2  This shall be the law of the leprous person for the day of his cleansing. He shall be brought to the priest,

As we read on we see that only one came back to say thank you.  The others continued on their way.  The one who came back and fell at the feet of Jesus was a Samaritan, one who was despised by the Jews.  Along with the story of The Good Samaritan, this story was an example of how the Jews were wrong in their harsh judgment of the Samaritans. The one who would least be expected to do the “spiritual” thing in response to his healing was the only one who did.

Jesus didn’t command the lepers to come back and thank Him.  Neither are we commanded to thank Him when each of us receive our ultimate healing, the forgiveness of our sin.  How could we not thank Him for saving us?  Not just at the time of being saved, but throughout our lives.  That’s a mark of spirituality that the Jews missed.

Philippians 4:6  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

As those with Mental Illness are often perceived as less than they are (Samaritans) we can realize that our pain serves a purpose and in the midst of that pain God would have us remain thankful.  If we aren’t thankful during the dark times how awkward would it be for us to be thankful when God chooses to do a mighty thing in our life?

Saturday Night Live

This week I thought I’d share some songs from my youth.  A bit of everything.

Play List

1. Buffalo Springfield-  For What It’s Worth

2.  Bob Dylan-  Positively 4th Street

3.  Sonny and Cher-  I Got You Babe

4.  Gordon Lightfoot-  If You Could Read My Mind

5.  Simon & Garfunkel-  The Sound Of Silence

6.  The Beatles-  I Feel Fine

7.  Cat Stevens-  The Road To Find Out

8.  Bruce Springsteen-  Born To Run

9.  The Mamas And The Papas-  California Dreamin’

10.  Donovan-  Catch The Wind

11.  The Beatles-  Ticket To Ride

Prayer Requests and Praise Reports- September 26

God Remembers His Promises!

God Keeps His Promises!

Psalm 34:15  The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.

Isaiah 40:28  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. Isaiah 40:29  He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Isaiah 40:30  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; Isaiah 40:31  but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

2Corinthians 12:9  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Philippians 1:6  And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:6  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:6  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Matthew 6:7  “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Matthew 6:8  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him

Past Prayer Requests

Rachel– thank you so much to everyone for their prayers. i can’t tell you how much we all appreciate them.

if you can, i’d love some more prayers about my move. this weekend, the movers come and i’m stressing a bit trying to get ready for them. pray for a smooth move, with no broken things, and a safe drive for dad and i as we drive the truck from austin to oklahoma.

also, i should be hearing about a job i applied for today or tomorrow. i really would like to get this job, and i’d appreciate your prayers. )

Erunner–  Petey is paralyzed from mid torso to his tail and has lost control of his bowels. The vet has no idea how it happened as X-rays show a ruptured disc. Our daughter wants to keep him but most of us think it best to put him down. He had pain shots that will last till tomorrow and a decision will need to be made.

Rachel– i feel like such a beggar coming here, but i guess i am. please pray for me. i’m having some painful personal conflicts today and i’m not sure if it’s just because i’m overly sensitive or what. i just know that it hurts and that i’m crying and i just want to go home and sleep.

i think the stress of the move is starting to sink in also. i’m so happy to be going but it’s a lot to deal with.

thank you.

Erunner–  My wife is beginning to interview for a new job.  Please pray that isn’t too nervous interviewing and lands a job that will be perfect for her. Thank you.

Erunner– Our brother-in-law was kept over night in the hospital after he passed out twice.  This has happened before and they sent him home yesterday still not knowing what is causing it.  His license has been revoked for now and he sees a heart specialist today.

kept-by-the-King- Thank you so much for praying, my brother sends me bizarre text messages about every other day…. he is so tormented….please pray for conversations I can have with him and that he would get the specific help he needs. Right now he is in a drug/alcohol rehab center …..

Rachel– thank you all so much for your prayers. i can’t tell you how much they mean to me.

please continue to pray. my family is really under attack right now, and i’m having a hard time coping with it. i feel it starting to drag me down, just the stress of it and the emotional upheaval of everything. i’m worn out!

may God bless all of you richly.

Okie Preacher- Just so you understand what is going on, I have resigned as pastor of Fellowship Bible Church; continued and ongoing problems with the board. Looking for a job, starting a new church, and moving have overwhelmed Rachel. Please pray for us all. Thanks for being there…

Linnea–  Could I ask a prayer of you all?

My sons, ages 16 and 18, are now both in residence at schools away from home. I am confident that they both have a better understanding of the gospel and of who they are in the Lord, but I worry that they will not make time for the Word and for fellowship with other Christians. Would you pray that God would move their hearts to make time with Him each day and to seek out the fellowship of other Christians? Thanks

Sandy–  Sandy left this post in response to an article Rachel had written.  Pray that Sandy would see God work powerfully in her life.   “I have spent many hours in the last weeks on the web and stumbled across this site yesterday. Trust me when I say it was a Godsend for a Christian who has suffered bouts of panic, PTSD and sometimes agoraphobia while trying to be a single parent for many years. Well meaning family members have consistently equated my problems with some sin or other they see in my life – to the point that I now just hide my problems from Christians to avoid the guilt trips. It only makes someone suffer more to keep hearing that it’s their own fault for not being somehow holy enough. Thanks for your message.”

Erunner–  Our nephew’s wife has multiple sclerosis. She has been on the prayer list for some time. She is in her 20’s and has two young children (11and 8.) This past Friday she had an MRI and the results showed the disease is very aggressive. She has new lesions on her brain and spine and will be receiving medicine at home via infusion. We will have the kids beginning tomorrow, through Saturday.

Linnea–  Would you all pray for my friend, Rebecca, who is ending her marriage. Her 16 year old son has been diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension and she has a genetic predisposition for schizophrenia. Please pray that she get the help she needs, that her son be made whole and that their marriage be healed.

BrianD–  There are going to be layoffs at his place of employment.  He doesn’t know if his job will be part of those layoffs and is asking for prayer that ” God will show me what I need to do to prepare for the day I leave the company – voluntarily or involuntarily.”

Linnea– Could you pray for my doctor, his son Patrick and his wife? They are struggling with him and they need prayer for their marriage.

Cash– Hello, friends. I am not doing well at all. Please pray for me and my family. Thanks.

Okie Preacher–  Please pray for my friend Ralph and his wife Carolyn. She has been diagnosed with cancer again and this time it appears to have spread throughout her body.

Philbert–  “I am a 58 year old man and have suffered from depression and Borderline Personality Disorder all of my life. I cannot remember anytime that I did not have suicidal thoughts, it continues even today. I visualize how and where I would do “it” never frees me.”

Jan– Has been extremely depressed with thoughts of dying entering her mind.  Pray that God would bring her to a place of peace and that these thoughts would become a thing of the past.

Jesus Freak 4 Real– Prayer for her mental health and for God to lead and guide as she and her husband  seek to serve Him.

kept-by-the-king –  Please pray for my brother who suffers deeply from Mental Illness, he is suffering so much, he does not know the Lord… my heart aches for him.

Anne – To overcome the “ feeling like it is my lack of faith or not being the “right” kind of Christian or believer that prevents my having “victory” or even immunity from depression. I also struggle with maintaining prayer when in the deepest parts of depression and grief.”

Nene – Prayer for her father to be saved and to come to a place of peace. Father and brother have been  estranged 27 years.

Dusty – Prayer as she battles Depression.

Erunner – Our brother-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4, non-small cell Lung Cancer on March 18,

Our nephew’s wife has MS and has also been diagnosed with epilepsy. She is in her 20’s with two small children.

Cash – That God would continue to heal and lead him as he battles PTSD.

Maryellen – Please pray for my daughter Jennifer and her daughter Avery, who was born with Down’s Syndrome. Strengthen the family as they enter into therapy for Avery that is very demanding. Pray also for their 2 and a half year old son during this time. Pray that the family will not be overwhelmed and that God will strengthen and guide them.

Praise Reports-

Rachel–  PRAISE REPORT: i got the job!! t hank you Jesus! t hank you all for your prayers. ) the move also went very well this weekend. now i just need to strength to finish cleaning out the apartment, and for all my furniture to sell quickly. )

Erunner–  Our nephew returned home safely from his 2nd and last tour of Iraq yesterday!

Erunner– Erin’s dog, Peety, is doing much better and it looks like he can live a productive life, although he will require a doggie “scooter.”

Rachel– it only took 2 months, e, but i’ve finally posted a new entry at http://notesfromthewell.wordpress.com

it’s short, but hopefully there will be more to come quickly on its heels!!

now we are up to TWO new posts.  2 months without any and then 2 in one day!! crazy!!

don’t want to “advertise,” per se, but i know some of you read and i’d have given up looking if two months had gone by with nothing! sorry for the delay

Rachel– PRAISE REPORT: i am finally feeling better. i thought it might just be a fluke but it seems to be lasting and to be more than just a swing into hypomania. ) praise the LORD! He is good beyond measure and expression. and i’m off all of my meds, which is really odd. my therapy helped more than all the meds put together and in a fraction of the time. thank you all so much for your prayers.

i am still coveting your prayers on the oklahoma situation. there’s more to say, but i can’t make it public now. i do still need prayers though that things will fall into place and that God would shut any and all doors that He doesn’t want me walking through.

Dusty– Thanks for keeping me on the list. Still not quite myself, but I think I am starting to see some improvement.

I think the medicine is starting to kick in . The counseling is helping a lot though it has been only a few weeks. I am surprised at all the things I did not know how to deal with…I just stuffed it deep down so I would not have to feel it or think about it…

Still not sleeping well but am managing with that for now.Still keeping to myself a lot but working on overcoming that as well.

Thanks for the prayers.

Nene–  My dad brought up the name of Christ today, with a positve tone. It was as if was hearing things. He has been befriended by a trucker/preacher. This man has been telling my dad about “being saved.”
I really am in a more skeptical mindset as to who this man is. There are many “characters” out there in his area. I hope I am not sounding as I am not trusting. I am only being honest. I pray this is a normal preacher. May Gods word go forth, and into my dads soul.

Note….. As I compile this list I am eliminating those requests or praise reports that have been answered. I am also shortening the requests that are not new while trying to keep the essence of the request intact.

A Word From Charles Spurgeon On Depression

The Prince Of Preachers

The Prince Of Preachers

“I know that wise brethren say, ‘You should not give way to feelings of depression.’ If those who blame quite so furiously could once know what depression is, they would think it cruel to scatter blame where comfort is needed. There are experiences of the children of God which are full of spiritual darkness; and I am almost persuaded that those of God’s servants who have been most highly favoured have, nevertheless, suffered more times of darkness than others.

“The covenant is never known to Abraham so well as when a horror of great darkness comes over him, and then he sees the shining lamp moving between the pieces of the sacrifice. A greater than Abraham was early led of the Spirit into the wilderness, and yet again ere He closed His life He was sorrowful and very heavy in the garden.

“No sin is necessarily connected with sorrow of heart, for Jesus Christ our Lord once said, ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.’ There was no sin in Him, and consequently none in His deep depression.

“I would, therefore, try to cheer any brother who is sad, for his sadness is not necessarily blameworthy. If his downcast spirit arises from unbelief, let him flog himself, and cry to God to be delivered from it; but if the soul is sighing–‘though he slay me, yet will I trust in him’–its being slain is not a fault.

“The way of sorrow is not the way of sin, but a hallowed road sanctified by the prayers of myriads of pilgrims now with God–pilgrims who, passing through the valley of Baca [lit: of weeping], made it a well, the rain also filled the pools: of such it is written: ‘They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.’
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1881, vol. 27, p. 1595

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassions and God of all comfort, who encourages us in all our affliction, that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction, through the comfort by which we ourselves are encouraged by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our comfort also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation, being effective in the endurance of the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are encouraged, it is for your comfort and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the comfort. For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened exceedingly, beyond strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us, in whom we hope that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given through many persons on our behalf for the gracious gift granted to us by many.” (2Corinthians1:3-11)

Jimmy Piersall- Ball Player Who Publicly Battled Bi-Polar Disorder

On the cover of Sport magazine.

On the cover of "Sport" magazine.

This article is reproduced with the Permission of NAMI.  Jimmy Piersall, as you will read, had a very productive major league career playing Major League Baseball in the 50’s and 60’s.  He was known for his antics and outbursts on the field, with folks not knowing he was battling Bi-Polar Disorder. As he is quoted in this article, his language in describing a mental illness is not what we would suggest anyone today use.  It simply was an extension of his personality.  Please keep that in mind!  Allan

Jimmy Piersall-  When Stigma Struck Out

Who cares if the Red Sox win the World Series? The story of Jimmy Piersall is an even better drama.

Piersall was one of the best outfielders of the 1950s and 60s—that was the opinion of the late great Ted Williams. He started playing professional ball at age 18 and reached the majors at 20, one of the youngest players in the game.

He played 17 seasons, most notably with the Boston Red Sox, the Cleveland Indians, and New York Mets. He won two Golden Glove awards and twice was selected for major league baseball’s All-Star Team. His career statistics include a batting average of .272, 104 home runs, 591 runs batted in, and a fielding average of .997.

He is retired now, living outside Chicago. He isn’t in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but he is included on NAMI’s “Famous People” poster, which honors “people whose mental illnesses have enriched our lives.”

“Probably the best thing that ever happened to me was going nuts,” he says. Whoever heard of Jimmy Piersall until that happened?”

His mental illness—bipolar disorder—played out publicly at a time when mental illness was usually kept hidden.

Born in 1929, he was popular growing up, but “high-strung” as a child and a “worrier” in his teens, who suffered severe headaches. His mother lived with depression and was hospitalized many times. He had a temper and an underlying insecurity.

The Red Sox signed him as an outfielder, but in 1952, when they raised him from their farm team, the Birmingham Barons, he learned only from a newspaper—not team management—that they intended to play him at shortstop.

In his memoir, Fear Strikes Out, Piersall recalled thinking: “It’s impossible. I’m not a shortstop. I’m a center fielder. [This shift] might ruin me. Wait a minute. I’ll bet that’s just what they want to do.”

Fear of failure came at a time when he had been married only a few years, with two young children and a third on its way—while also providing full financial support for his parents.

In May 1952, his temper resulted in a brawl with Yankee Billy Martin, who over time also would become legend for his temper. In the same game, Piersall fought with his own teammates, then broke down crying after he was benched.

Piersall’s behavior grew increasingly bizarre, which ironically endeared him to fans, who enjoyed the spectacle. He spread his arms like an airplane while running bases and mimicked other players. In a game with the St. Louis Browns, he taunted pitcher Satchel Paige, calling out “oink, oink,” from first base.

“That boy is sick,” Paige said. He was one of the few people who recognized what was happening.

The Red Sox sent Piersall back to Birmingham in the hope it would “straighten him out.”

Instead, he was thrown out of four games and suspended.

On July 20, newspapers reported he would “take a rest” on the advice of his physician.

Two weeks later, Piersall woke up in Westborough State Hospital in Massachusetts. He had received electroshock therapy and did not remember much of the previous year. He underwent psychotherapy.

The Red Sox rallied to his support—in a way that is unusual even today. His teammates visited him in the hospital. He thought his career was over, but the Red Sox brought him back for the 1953 season. They paid the expenses for his recovery, including recuperation and coaching in Florida.

“They helped rebuild my confidence,” Piersall said in an interview with NAMI.

In 1954, Piersall told his story on a local television show in Chicago, through the encouragement of a mental health group called “Fight Against Fear.” It was an act courage—and liberation. “I did it to get it off my chest,” he says. “It was one of the best things I did to get better.”

He received an outpouring of praise and support, particularly from people who had endured similar experiences. The response was not unlike that occurs today when celebrities “come out,” but it was an unprecedented phenomenon in the 1950s.

Piersall expanded his disclosure to a two-part story in the Saturday Evening Post, entitled “They Called Me Crazy—and I Was.” That led to publication of Fear Strikes Out in 1955, followed years later, by a movie with the same title, starring Anthony Perkins and Karl Malden.

“Mental illness is no different from any kind of illness,” the doctor in the film declared. The magazine series, book and movie delivered a powerful anti-stigma message on a national scale—one that was ahead of its time.

Today, the movie is a Turner Classic and available on Netflix, which keeps Piersall’s story in circulation. In the style of the 1950s, it is rather melodramatic, but still inspiring. For his part, Piersall dislikes the movie, because of Perkins’ performance, and because it unfairly cast his father as a major cause of his illness—through overambitious pushing of his son to become a star player.

As part of recovery, Piersall laughed at his illness.

He cultivated a persona that turned bizarre behavior into zany antics that continued to endear him to fans—not unlike football player Terry Bradshaw and actor Joe Pantaliano in their careers many years later.

“I still have bizarre behavior today,” he notes.

In 1959, Piersall was traded to the Cleveland Indians. Once, he pulled out a water pistol and squirted an umpire. Another time, his teammates had to rescue him after he challenged Yankee fans to a fight.

He didn’t hesitate to confront hecklers who made jokes about men in white coats coming to take him away.

In 1963, Piersall hit his 100th home run while playing for the New York Mets. He celebrated by running the bases facing backwards.

Piersall retired from his playing career in 1967 with the Los Angeles Angels.

At one point, he made a guest television appearance on “The Lucy Show,” playing himself when Lucy and Little Ricky traveled to California and took in a baseball game on “Jimmy Piersall Day.”

He later became a broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox, but was fired for criticizing the team’s management. He wrote a second memoir The Truth Hurts (1985), which provided additional details about his illness.

Turbulence has marked his career. He has been hospitalized several times for “exhaustion.” He has taken lithium for 30 years, but emphasizes self-help in managing an illness.

“It can’t come from anyone but you.”

Mental illness means fighting run by run, out by out, inning by inning, game by game, season by season over the course of a lifetime. Sometimes up. Sometimes down. The important thing is to keep fighting.

For those who fight mental illness, Piersall is a hero. He was a damn good ball player. He continues to be a legend.

This article is based on an interview with Jimmy Piersall, his memoir, Fear Strikes Out, and reporting by Dom Amore, “Quite The Character,” Hartford Courant (APSE Writing  Competition 1999); Bob Dolgan, “One of a Kind,” Baseball Digest  (December 1, 2001); Mike Puma, “A  Hall of Fame Personality,” ESPN.com (May 24, 2004) and Jeff Merron, “Mystery Man,” 108 Magazine (Summer 2007). Thanks also to the Red Sox.

Saturday Night Live

My favorite (Breathe) is included today.  One of them seems out of place, but it isn’t!   Allan

Play List

1.  Kathryn Scott- Hungry (Falling On my Knees)

2.  Kathryn Scott- Breathe

3.  Michelle Tumes- Lovely

4.  Mark Heard- Lonely Moon

5.  John Michael Talbot- The New Earth

6.  Bethany Dillon- Beautiful

7.  Don Francisco- He’s Alive

8.  Hillsong- With All I Am

9.  Jennifer Knapp- Undo Me

10. Bobby McFerrin- Don’t Worry, Be Happy


Our daughter put a clip of Peety on youtube and I thought I’d share it.  Yesterday, some of us were suggesting he be put down.  All he could do was drag himself on the floor.  This is from today and we’re praying it isn’t a fluke.