...before you were born, I set you apart" - Jeremiah 1:5
Something has been on my heart lately, and it's not a popular subject to talk about. It is something I don't fully understand, and I don't think anyone truly does. This thing, this tragedy, is suicide. I would be willing to bet that it has touched your life in some way. Just this year, two people that I attended college with, both committed suicide. While I was in college, a young man I knew from home did the same. Through the myriad of questions surrounding this horrible sadness, I think they all boil down to one. Why?
I live a very average, middle class life. Y'all, I don't know what it's like to go hungry, or without a roof over my head. I've grown up with two parents who loved me, siblings who do too (even though we don't always act like it ;). I've worked hard for what I have, but am very aware of the opportunities provided for me, that not everyone is blessed enough to have. I also know that many have more opportunities than I do, and I don't begrudge them those things. I used to think people who committed suicide must fit a certain mold. Rich, poor, a certain race, a certain disposition, a certain age...there must be some common factor.
Look, I'm no medical professional, but just in my personal experience, these factors play no part. Suicide touches all people, of all races, ages, religions and classes. That points to just one thing. Our humanity. The one thing we ALL have in common. What is it in our humanity that can cause such despair? There are a million and one factors. Too many to count here. But truly, I think it boils down to one concept. Do you know to whom you belong?
Even as incredibly blessed as I am, life is tough sometimes. Anxiety, worry, doubt, fear, all those things that plague everyone, are not above me. The truth is, I've asked those same questions, and I bet you have too. What is the point? Why keep doing this life thing that feels like such a fight sometimes? Without my faith, I have absolutely no idea how I would answer those questions. Without knowing that our Father loves us, put us here for a purpose(whether we always see it or not,) and will NEVER abandon us, why bother? But He does. He loves us. He has a mission for each and every one of us, no matter how tiny it may seem to us. Any other answer will fall flat at some point. For life to have a point, we have to know that we belong to Him.
I don't know what pushes some people beyond the limit of what they can handle. Addictions, mental health, outside pressure, feeling unloved or unwanted. I do know each story is different. After finding out about the most recent tragedy with a college acquaintance, I was speaking to a dear friend about what we can do in our every day lives. We came up with two tangible things we can do right away.
1) Pray. Prayer is so powerful. I think it can become mundane sometimes, and we undervalue it's power.
2) Be that loving presence to those in your life. Let God's light be apparent in your life. Sometimes, you may be the only representation they ever see. I fail at this so often. I put my own desires to be liked and appreciated above the desire to let God work through me.
I'd like to challenge you to work on these things along with me, with this specific topic in mind. I know in our busy lives it's easy to just forget and move on. In fact, our resilience is a gift. But I am reminded this week, that we are tasked with not only our souls, but those around us. I want to be more mindful of all that encompasses. Let's be a light in the darkness. Join me?