The text message both shocked and disturbed me. Not only its content but the person it came from. As I sat at a stop signal after picking up my son from daycare, my phone lit up. I found myself staring at these words “. I would like to speak to you in person or on the phone. It’s about suicide….” For just a moment, I became mentally paralyzed by what I was reading. Initially I didn’t hear my child calling my name to turn on his favorite song nor did I know what color the stop light was now reading. The extended sound of multiple car horns began to ring out in symphony. I had obviously annoyed people behind me because the light was indeed green when I looked up. I returned to existence by throwing my cell phone into the passenger seat, hit the gas pedal forward and reached for the radio dial. I must remain calm….
For the remainder of my ride home I thought about the person whom I’d received the message from. I know her, but I don’t. She hasn’t let me in over the years; and I have tried. I’d taken an interest in wanting to get to know her better for she is a reflection of me 20 years ago. Young, beautiful, intelligent yet awkward, severely misplaced and constantly misunderstood….
As soon as I reached my house and got my son a snack I called this young woman. I reached her voice mail so I left a message. I received this calm and peace that she was physically fine but desperately needed my ear. It was God assuring me not to let my mind run off with the unthinkable simply because she didn’t answer my call. Is she thinking about taking her own life? Is she even capable of such an act? Had life really gotten that bad that she feels this is her only resort? These questions echoed in my mind for the next 2 hour as I got my son settled and handled other routine domestic duties.
By the end of the night my energy level was nearly depleted but I was not going to let the dawn arrive before talking to her. I found a quiet place to have my conversation without forewarning anyone of the situation. This was a precious, private and personal matter that warranted no other intervention but the moving power of the most high.
When I dialed her number she answered on the first couple of rings. After a few minutes of small talk I got right to the matter. What do you have to ask me about suicide? Over the next hour the space I was trying to get to with this young person was made available. She shared with me her deepest pain. Very heavy, very complex very rooted. In her mind permanent rest seemed like her only escape because life just is not getting any better.
I allowed her to spill every account without interruption. For it was evident that she needed it. What she didn’t know, so did I. When I had the chance to speak I shared with her my own painful past which connected the dots she has been having trouble understanding; we have so much in common and are a lot alike. The phone call ended by leading her to the only source that can help her with this battle in her mind; Jesus Christ, The Great I Am. God led me to turn the conversation into a prayer line and that I did. I plead his protection, power and healing all over her life. For she can’t see it now but she’s living her testimony that she must share with others who will soon be facing her same mind set. I urged her to find a reason everyday to keep on going. She is chosen regardless of how displaced she may feel.
After we hung up I texted her a phone number to seek Christian Counseling. Therapy is necessary for the matters she is facing are years in the making and she continues to add weight to those burdens as she experiences new ones. The pressure is becoming to heavy to keep concealed and handle alone.
I learned a couple of lessons after this encounter. One of them confirmed to me that the experienced must help the less than. Maintaining tunnel vision is selfish especially as believers. Our lives are meant to be lived to help others and not just focus on our own agendas. The Movie “War Room”, a Christian film on how to really fight life’s difficulties shows an awesome example of an older woman purposed to help a younger woman. In fact she prayed for the opportunity and for God to send her a specific person. God did just that! When her work was done the Sr. Challenged the Jr. to pay it forward and find someone younger than her to help in the same way. We need more of this for sure today.
The topic of suicide is taboo in our society. We don’t openly speak of it until someone has actually acted out. If you dare mention that you have had the thought you are labeled as weak or suffering from mental illness. I don’t feel that is 100% accurate. I feel it takes an extremely strong and brave person to admit they have been or in fact are there! Life is extremely difficult and when being pressed on every side, waking up and facing the pressures all over again can be more than a challenge. Even The character Job in the bible wished his life to be over when he lost everything that meant anything to him.
Can you admit that you have been where my young friend is? Well I have! If it had not been for the Gospel, I truly would not be here! This is REAL TALK!
If you or someone you know feels like Suicide is the answer, please understand that the difficulties you face are so much bigger than what you can fathom. Your life is about the Will of God and not your own. What you are facing now is your pain to your life’s purpose. You must live it and unfortunately can’t fast forward this part. But stick around to see the goodness of God show himself strong in your life. While you wait, pray, get counseling, find someone who can relate to help pull you through. You will survive this no matter how hard it seems!
As for my friend, I’m committed to being there for her and check in often. I have and I will. She must live and not die, at least not on my watch..