I have been thinking today about a good friend who has very serious psychological problems caused by barely treatable chemical processes in his body. He is obsessive/compulsive and depressive and occassionally books himself into a local mental hospital for his own safety when things get too much. Medicine can do nothing more than give him drugs that achieve some degree of stability but bring him nowhere near the ability to live a relatively 'normal' life.
I haven't seen him for a long time because he simply disappears from the radar then one day there will be a phone call or something and he is back. I know if he is around however because of a peculiar 'arrangement' we have that he knows nothing about but from which we both benefit in a strange way. You see, his obsessive/compulsive character makes him buy books, books on the sciences (especially mathematics and physics) and books on the Christian faith (especially theological/apologetic) and philosophy. These are not good for him because, rather than simply interest and inform him, they make him worrisome and distracted. Nothing I or anyone else can say will distract him from this obsession even though it would do him good to put the books down and go out more.
Occassionaly, however, he impulsively decides to dump a load of books, giving them to a local charity in the name of his late wife (a wonderful and long-suffering woman when alive) as a sort of bequest. He benefits from this inasmuch as it does him good to clear some of this stuff out of his life. I benefit inasmuch as I happened upon his charitable treasure trove and have been able to purchase at charity shop prices almost new books that I could not otherwise have afforded to think of purchasing. The charity also benefits, which is his intention, he benefits, which his friends are glad to see, and I benefit too, both in having the books cheap and in knowing that he is around and making some right decisions for himself.
So why do I feel the need to justify this happy exchange to myself? Maybe I should call him and have a chat.