"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
- Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
World Mental Health Day always provides an opportunity for reflection, a moment in which I can truly be thankful for the incredible journey on which I have been able to walk alongside Christ in the eleven years since He rescued me from the abyss of a failed suicide attempt... I use the word "failed" because this was my third attempt and I really meant it, unlike the other two "cries for help".
The years since January 2006 have been a blessing for which I would never have been bold enough to ask or pray. To be able to support Mind, the charity who did so much to help me, has been a privilege and being involved in projects with the BBC, Channel 5 and national advertising campaigns has allowed me to speak very openly about my own experiences and, I sincerely hope, reach out and offer comfort to others.
Of course, the more recent journey has taken me to the hitherto unlikely status of prolific marathon runner... again, the desire and focus has always been on empowering others to change their lives, to stand out and be an example, the City on a Hill to which Matthew alludes in the Gospel.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
- Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
A New Thing
That I can firmly put my illness and homelessness in the past is by the grace of God alone; that He has given me the purpose and ability to change lives by raising awareness and money around homelessness and mental health is a true gift and blessing. I am hugely blessed to have the life I do, and it is God’s grace which keeps me grounded.
I have often been challenged to ensure that everything I do in this area is Christ centered. Sometimes, this has been most evident in reading Matthew 6:2, “So when you give to the poor, don’t announce it with trumpet fanfare.” Yet the very nature of the lived experience model which the charities use essentially relies on the subjects to be speaking constantly about themselves. Where this challenges me is when it crosses the invisible line of speaking for the betterment of others over to speaking for the love of hearing one's own voice, where ego supersedes good intention.
I could write War and Peace on this apparent oxymoron but it is much easier to simply remember God’s own word through Jesus Christ later in Matthew 6, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
My treasure is life itself. It is the very gift that God bestowed on me when raising me from the very depths of mental illness, suicidal thoughts and homelessness. That I am even alive is to His glory, the gift of testifying to His love an even deeper joy.
For many years, the way in which I have been able to testify has been by speaking of the way in which He overcame the darkness to bring me to life when Bipolar had rendered me all but dead in body and spirit. However, I have clearly felt a very deep sense of a new chapter into which He is sending me now which will allow me to focus on today and tomorrow without having to be defined in yesterday.
I will continue to raise money for chosen charities and will speak at more private community events, but my ego simply does not allow me to be involved in any more major public campaigns. I've spoken about that story for too long, and the time has come to glorify God in another way.
It's been an incredible chapter which I will long treasure, and the work to raise awareness around mental health and homelessness will continue. It will remain a privilege to know that I have been part of it.
I have 3 marathons left in my fundraising campaign for 2017. If you do want to donate, here are the ways in which you can:-
Visit my fundraising page at http://bit.ly/runwild17 - all donations will be split between The Connection and Mind
Thanks to you all for everything you continue to do in my life; for the friendships, support and encouragement, the inspiration to be everything I can be every day.
Below is a short film made for my recent baptism which talks about my run with God.
Copyright 2016. Rohan Kallicharan. All Rights Reserved.
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