Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”—Joshua 1:9
Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Robin Williams and so many deeply loved people, have sought refuge from the darkness of life, in the solitude of suicide. We welcomed them into our homes and into our hearts. This has brought incredible sadness to so many who followed these bright, capable, inspiring individuals whose final curtain call came at their own hands. We will never know what went through their minds in those final moments. As a person of faith, I prayed for them and for mercy on their tortured souls. I cannot picture suicide as being the answer in seeking a path towards peace. Yet, so many do.
Faith, in the face of insurmountable circumstances, I believe, can help prevent going down that path. It’s proven to help countless in their darkest hours. Maybe I’m naïve in wanting to suggest an alternative route in the throes of this illness. I don’t suffer from depression, I don’t know its demons. I do know what it feels like to be helpless, and seeking God for comfort, reaching my hand towards heaven and letting my lungs unfurl sounds I didn’t know I was capable of, seeking peace. It’s a lonely place to be, help is around us and we must reach out. I have found help, and there is no shame in doing so. For so many, this dark path has sucked them in, and whispered lies in their ears that freedom from earthly hurts is through hastening their own demise.
I don’t understand their final act and I will never pass judgement on them. I can only look in from the outside at the empires they built, fortunes made and abundant influence they peddled. Their lives celebrated on the news and social media, they weren’t like us, they had beat the struggles often present in life; they reached the pinnacle of success with fame and fortune. Spade and Bourdain celebrated the glamour life offers; Williams tried to fight through the laughter when it turned to tears. What lessons we would have all learned, if only they could have been victorious in this struggle. We would not have loved them any less. We will miss them and wonder why such sadness doesn’t suck us in as well.
Our experience on earth will take many forms. We will struggle mightily at times until we take our last breath. That is an absolute guarantee. Between the hardship and the struggle can be bountiful joy. Happiness is there for the taking. We will never fully understand why some live and some die, or why the good are taken sooner than those who we feel are not worthy, continue to walk the earth. That is not for us to judge or decide.
What I did take away from what has happened: I don’t want to spend the time I have left with my earthly life chasing the spoils that comes from making more money, working harder to obtain one more superficial item. I want to take refuge when sadness hits, at the end of the leash with my dog in the woods, spending time in prayer and with those who care about me. I want to remain grateful when I have my toes in the sand watching the miracle of a new day, as the sun rises, and then sets on the other side of the sky. I never want any of this not to matter to me. I so wish they, and countless others, had been able to hold onto the blessings in life just beyond the pain of their final act. I wish they had been able to outrun what was hurting them, and hunting them down.
Our lives will one day come to end. I am a fervent believer in God’s timing on death. I have come close on two occasions, through illness and I have learned not to fear what lies in eternity, on the other side. It brings me great comfort to know that when I die, and when my loved ones die, we will once again be reunited. But to get there we must believe and we must also give the controls over, because it is on His terms, not ours.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”—Proverbs 3:5-6
National Suicide Hotline:
Text: Connect to 741741
Open 24 hours, 7 days a week, a supportive and loving place where you are the priority.
Or call: 1-800-273-8255