Today someone shared with me on Facebook, a video caught on a security camera where a man tries to throw himself under a subway train, but someone rescues him a split second before they succeed. It brought tears to my eyes, and got me thinking that today I would have to write about this issue on my blog.
Generally, we are poor judges of what we will be able to endure, in those times that we deliberately choose to remove ourselves from the loving support of others. I personally have never had to suffer through life’s difficult trials and griefs alone, because in large loving families being alone is not easily accomplished at the best of times. The people, who have always loved you, even when you hardly deserved it, tend to surround you, regardless of your personal feelings on the matter. So it is inevitable that they will also be there at the worst of times.
I have never suffered from depression, so I won’t pretend to know how truly awful that experience is. I have, however, lost people I care about to suicide, including my very first childhood friend. It is a terrible moment when you think to yourself “I just wish I had known; I wish I had called.” or “I wish I’d kept in touch.” Today I am asking each of you to be sensitive to your neighbour, your partner, your parent, your workmate, your child, your friend, or anyone whose path has become difficult for them—even the obstinate ones. I would encourage each of you to be a little more aware, to be accessible, to leave the light on and the door open, so to speak.
I especially want to encourage all those who find themselves in a very dark place, to look towards the lights that their families and friends have left on for them, and the doors that they have left open. You mean something to somebody, you mean something to me, or I wouldn’t be putting myself out there to tell you this— you especially mean something to God. He cares about the fact that you are stumbling around in the dark, hurt and scared, or that you’re totally knocked off your feet, entangled in the thorns and briars of life. He’s come already to change things; He said so Himself in John 8:12. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
I wrote the following poem awhile ago but I especially feel the need to share it with you today:
The Long Way Home
I chose to take the long way home one day
When company was what I least desired;
I took no thought to sky, or time of day,
Or how the extra miles would make me tired.
I knew the path would rise and wind and turn;
I knew full well each rutted place, each bend.
I’d walked that path so many times before
So deep in conversation with a friend.
It was a place most flattered by the sunlight
That dappled through the leaves on earth below;
It was a place where travelling was fine,
Where thrushes sang and raspberries would grow.
I started home just as the sun went down.
I walked alone to be alone by choice
I chose a path where neither man nor dog
In darkening hour would dare to raise his voice.
The beams of light no longer touched the footpath,
The thrushes bowed their heads and went to sleep.
I walked alone to be alone by choice;
I wanted no one’s company to keep.
I chose to take the long way home that day
For company was what I least desired;
I took no thought to sky or time of day
Or how the extra miles would make me tired.
Then black, how black! the night air closed about me—
No moon, no stars to guide me on my way,
With only ruts and rocks and stones and steepness
And tearing thorns, unnoticed in the day!
No berries sweet, to quench the thirst of panic!
No sound to break the pounding in my breast!
Hemmed in on either side, by briars and bushes,
With not a grassy place to lay for rest.
Then weighted down with fear and deep despair,
Oppressive as the blackness of the night,
With feet once more entangled in the briars,
I lifted up my head to see a light—
A beam of light that shone out like a beacon,
A lamp lit in the window just for me,
A light that called “Come home! Come home! We’re waiting!
The path is easy, just come straight! You’ll see!”
I knew that in that house somebody loved me;
I knew they waited anxiously inside;
I knew it was for me they kept the light on,
And when I called the door flew open wide!
Please, if you are reading this, and are feeling overwhelmed, talk to someone. The people who love you care; the people who know you care.
A doctor, a nurse, a teacher, a rabbi or a minister of any denomination will be thankful you decided to let them know, and will want to help guide you toward the resources you need.
If you feel a strong urge to do yourself harm then head to the nearest hospital and let them know immediately.
If you can’t bring yourself to talk to anyone face to face, then please find the number of a suicide prevention hotline on the internet or in the phone book, and contact someone right away, no matter the hour.
If you are struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, find the nearest meeting place of Alcoholics Anonymous at http://www.aa.org.
You are much too valuable to the world to not be a part of it, even if you don’t believe that about yourself right now.