Five Minute Friday: Same

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

It’s Thursday night. The hubby is at man camp.

Bring on the Chinese food and the sweatpants and the Twitter party.

Kate. The tribe of comedy fangirls. We are: same.

Go.

My first encounter with suicide came at age eighteen. A friend had landed in jail. I don’t remember why. He called me one night, from that gray enclosure. Wanted to talk. I was rushing out the door. For work? To meet my boyfriend? I don’t remember that, either. In extreme naivety, I asked if he could call me another time.

He was dead the next day.

Just after New Year’s.

I left work early to attend his funeral. Clad in black from head to foot. I distinctly remember sensing that this was a very grown-up thing. Something I wasn’t prepared for. Long rows of chairs in the sanctuary. Surrounded by familiar faces. Everyone was quiet. Respectful. Dressed nicer than we had for our high school graduation.

They told stories. His parents, his brother. Other people I didn’t know. Awfully bizarre to speak kind words and laugh about precious memories when he wasn’t there to hear, to participate.

Later, afterwards, I sat in a diner with two of my guy-pals. The smell of stale cigarette smoke and bitter black coffee. They pulled their ties loose. We didn’t say much.

I still don’t say much. Not about this.

Logically, I know that I didn’t make him commit suicide. I know that the choice was his.

Still.

I wonder. Could I have said something? Could I have alerted someone? Was there some cue or clue I missed in the months before? Maybe. Maybe not. When someone gets it in his mind, really dwells on ending his life, he doesn’t talk about it. He doesn’t ask for help.

It just happens.

I know that now. I’ve walked that road.

For those left behind, suicide is a glaringly selfish act. How on earth are we to come to terms with it? How can we escape the sense of guilt? The anger? The questions?

For those who take up the weapons of destruction, suicide is the end of a long, weary road. A road that twists and turns and doesn’t make sense. A road that leaves right thinking and acting by the wayside. Selfishness doesn’t even enter the equation.

We are all suicide survivors. We’ve all been touched – a family member, a friend, a coworker, ourselves. Some of us bear mental scars. The wondering. Some of us bear the razor marks.

It is the vile work of the Devil.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” – John 10:10a (NKJV)

Beloved reader, hear me now: Whatever side of this you are on, whatever you have experienced, there is more to the story. It doesn’t have to be this way. History doesn’t have to repeat itself. We don’t have to read the same ending over and over and over again.

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10b (NKJV)

Loved one left behind, let yourself off the hook tonight. It’s not your fault. It’s not.

You who are in agony – cry out. With the last ounce of strength and courage that you have, cry out. God will hear and He will move. I guarantee it. He did so for me. He preserved my life. He foiled my plans. It will not happen in a way you expect. It will be something you would never think of in a million years. But He will – HE WILL – cast light into your darkness. Blinding, brilliant, life-saving light.

You must speak. You must tell someone. Even if all you do is collapse in their arms and weep. Even if it is the most broken and bitter-tasting moment you have ever experienced.

You are here, in this place, at this time, for a reason. You are not just a random collection of atoms. You are God-designed. God-planned. Fitted with gifts and talents. Made with passion and purpose. You have not plunged to such a depth that the arm of the Lord is not longer and stronger. You have not out-sinned His grace or worn out His patience.

Little child, your Father is here.

He is faithful and mighty and gracious and ever the same.

The Lord upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.” – Psalm 145:14 (NKJV)

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)

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24 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Same

  1. Beautifully said.

    Not up to saying much tonight, but I when I was a professor I once had a suicidal – and armed – student in my office. For three hours.

    We talked. I disarmed him, rather abruptly. He lived. And still does.

    Point being – no one can read the signs. No one can predict this. Hindsight isn’t 20/20. It’s fantasy. Hindsight is bunk.

    I’ve never contemplated suicide save one potential situation – being captured by people who would have tortured me to death for the fun of it. That was real, and so was ‘save the last bullet for yourself’.

    As was ‘leave no wounded behind to be captured’, but I REALLY don’t want to talk about that, and I never will.

    Sorry this is choppy. Bad shape tonight, but trying to participate.

    Like

    1. So sorry you’re having a bad time, my friend.

      I am so impressed with your story. You stuck with that young person for hours. You helped him or her take the first steps out of the dark pit. Incredible!

      Like

  2. Wow. what a thing to have to go through as a teenager. I remember getting phone calls like that from someone while i was in college and feeling helpless as what to do. You know I realize that people who struggle with mental illness many times feel like sinking into that pit. I remember my mom telling me about her bout with struggling against suicide in the face of her struggle with mental illness. So you are right people on all sides suffer. And many times the people contemplating it are not trying to be selfish they simply feel absolutely isolated and without hope, no other place to turn, not in a right frame of mind.
    I think this just shows how important it is not to be isolated… Isolation causes people to rage and exacerbates every problem like a magnifying glass

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    1. Your point about isolation is very good, Somer. We all approach relationships differently; some of us like to be surrounded by crowds and others like the company of one or two. There’s no “right way,” but it is vital that we maintain connection with others. (And, of course, God).

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  3. I’m so sorry for your loss and that you, too had to walk that dark road of loneliness and despair. Thank you for sharing hope with us–it’s a message the world needs to hear. They are not alone, their Savior is waiting to step in. I know the power of prayer, too, for my daughter was deeply depressed last year and came close to taking her own life. It’s not easy. For anyone. But God’s love is the same and it’s waiting to embrace.

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    1. “God love is the same and its waiting to embrace.”

      Amen and amen.

      I’m so deeply sorry that your daughter has had this experience. My hope and prayer is that the wounds in her soul will move her to draw near to the Lord and to be compassionate toward others. He can use her pain for good. I know He can.

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  4. This pouring our of your heart is amazing but only because you speak about an issue that has touched everyone in some way. My heart pounds loudly every time I hear of suicide especially when ti hits closer to home. You gave us all a gift tonight with your words and I pray they reach those who need to hear them the most. Hugging your across the miles right now!

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  5. Marie, thank you for your transparency. I had a room mate who swallowed pills to end her life. Getting her to the hospital was one of the most frightening things I’ve ever experienced. I’m so glad you’re here today to share the truths you do. May people be touched by your words here. Pondering and praying tonight.

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    1. That experience must be haunting for you, Jeanne. Even though I’ve been on both sides of this issue, I’m shaking my head. Suicide literally makes no sense. Then again those who choose it are not in their right minds. I really believe that. May God enlighten the darkness.

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  6. Yes friend!! Those last lines are such pure gift: “Little child, your Father is here. He is faithful and mighty and gracious and ever the same.” I had a college friend die from suicide. I blogged about it the other day if you want to check out my post. I wish Chewy could have heard these words 15 years ago. There is so much I wonder about what his life would be like today. But what I do know is God is constant!

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    1. God is indeed constant. I think in situations like that, this is the truth we have to hold on to. We have to trust, to live in the hope, that He is far greater and stronger than we can imagine, and His grace is offered until our very last breath.

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  7. There was a time in my life where I use to picture myself driving my car off the bridge. I was at my lowest of lows without hope, yet had already been found in Christ. I am thankful I got help. Although I still deal with mild depression today, it’s been manageable.

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    1. Oh, Barbie. That’s the way my husband planned to go. Blessedly, the Lord intervened then, just as He intervened when my own moment came.

      You are very right – depression is often a lasting struggle. It’s not something one “snaps out of,” especially when it’s a physical thing, a thing of brain chemistry and synapses. I stand with you in this fight, sister. There is hope. There is light. We’re not done yet!

      Like

  8. I am a two-time survivor of suicide. I was only 13 the first time I tried to kill myself, and in my forties the second time. I thank God that He prevented my death, as I am now happy and much healthier than I was then.
    For those who are trying to understand: people who attempt suicide are in absolute mental agony. I remember the second time thinking that I would have put my head threw a concrete brick wall to stop the pain if I could have done so. I was convinced at the time that it would be far better for everyone that I loved if I was out of the picture. It wasn’t until afterwards that I realized how devastated my husband and family would have been had I succeeded, and I felt terrible about hurting them, but I truly couldn’t see that before I overdosed.
    People who are suicidal are usually suffering from a medical condition called Major Depressive Disorder, caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, which is usually referred to simply as depression. This is confusing, because while most people have experienced feeling depressed because of difficult circumstances, that is not the same thing as MDD, but both are routinely called depression.
    When a person with MDD, who is barely coping with severe physical and emotional symptoms already, encounters bad circumstances, they become completely overwhelmed and often contemplate ending their lives.
    The good news is that MDD usually responds well to medical treatment. If you or someone you care about might be suffering from MDD, medical attention is needed as soon as possible. There IS hope for those who are feeling hopeless.

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  9. What a profound story. My heart hurts for you and your friends… what a heavy burden to face at a young age… at any age! Questions we have of “What could I have done?” still go off in my own head about a situation that end a life and it still breaks my heart. I learned from that time that next time will be different and my mouth won’t stay quiet because life is worth living and every life is precious. Thanks for sharing these words with us! Stopping by from FMF

    Like

    1. “My mouth won’t stay quiet because life is worth living and every life is precious.”

      This is so good! We have to encourage each other – daily. We have to dive into the business of building up one another – daily. Sometimes one simple act of kindness – a smile, a hug, asking “how are you?” with genuineness – can mean so much.

      Liked by 1 person

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