Tucker may be young but he is an ole soul. A veteran. Not of any wars, but a courageous victor on the battlefield of Bipolar I. This insidious disease fought to steal his brilliant mind at the young age of 18, and nearly took his life a dozen times before he turned 23. But he never gave up and fought back and still fights. When the doctor's drugged him so much he couldn't drive, he got a bike. When he got too dizzy for a bike he walked. When the social worker said he was completely and totally disabled and would never work again, he proved them wrong - he worked. And he's been able to support himself totally in that last 5 years.
And it never mattered how sick he was... he went to church. He walked miles sometimes to be there but he was always there. Sometimes unkempt, unstable, fragile, prescription drugged - but he would always want to be with his church family. And they wanted to be with him. They knew his demons and many were/are comrades on his battlefield.
Even though 85% of people diagnosed with this disease abuse alcohol or drugs to self-medicate, Tucker has never used illegal substances (okay, he has a New Year's story or two). He's even quit smoking. It would be so easy for him to indulge in drugs that would calm his overly-active mind.
But I've never been as proud as I was of him today. Because today, Tucker's father who rejected him most of his life, and has completely rejected him since he was about 17 (Tucker's nearly 27), walked in the same restaurant we were eating our Sunday dinner. Tucker sat back and said carefully, "my dad just walked in". I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Do you think you could go over.... and shake his hand and say how are you?". Tucker looked sick, literally. In fact, he had to go to the restroom because he thought he was going to throw up. But when he walked out, he had a different countenance. He walked up to the man who has caused so much hurt and so many wounds, and shook his hand and spoke with kindness. Today Tucker was the bigger man. And it freed him as I knew it would, to step into the thing he feared the most (rejection) and conquer it. His dad did not embrace the moment, but I can't help but think that he, for once, had to be proud of the courage of his son and what it took to cross that barrier.
And Tucker learned that no one can really reject you if you value yourself.
Today, in Bible class Tucker made the comment, "For those of us who are all over the page emotionally, I can't act on what I "feel" because it's not always truth, I have to act on what I "KNOW". And the truths that Tucker knows stand him well. And it gives his ole mom comfort to know that no matter what happens, Tucker has a foundation of truth to rely on even when his physical and mental world are troubled, his spiritual reality protects him from all seen and unseen enemies.
He has a warrior's heart. And a beautiful, protected mind.