It’s Christmas, peak season for suicides and I have this to say to you if you find yourself anywhere near that God-forsaken place. First of all, don’t do it, at least not without having a conversation with someone you know and trust. Taking matters into your own hands is selfish. You leave people behind you who may live the rest of their lives shattered, asking “why?”
Yes, your life may seem intolerable. As M. Scott Peck said in “The Road Less Traveled,” life is difficult
. For some people, it is so darn painful, it’s hard just to keep going. Maybe you’re one. Every year 30,000 people kill themselves, but 40 times that number attempt suicide.
I had two friends who struggled with suicide. One periodically would ask me if I thought God would let him end his painful life. Living was hard work for him. The other, Daniel, I met when he tried to commit suicide by crashing his car into my fence. His numerous suicide attempts were calls for help.
A few years ago Daniel called me up to say goodbye after having swallowed 26 pills. I was having a quiet evening all to myself. When I picked up the phone, Daniel’s voice on the other end was weak.
“I just wanted to make sure that there’s nothing between us.”
“We’re fine, Daniel. What are you talking about?”
“I just wanted to make sure we’re OK.”
“Daniel, what’s going on?”
“The voices are back, Seth, and they’re winning.”
“Are you trying to commit suicide right now?”
“I took some pills…”
I could barely hear his voice. “Hang on, Daniel, I’m coming over!”
I called 911 and raced to his house just three minutes away. A plain clothes cop had beat me there. And a few minutes later, the EMT guys came racing up. Later they pumped his stomach…
When Daniel showed up on my porch later that day, I asked about the voices. “What do they say?”
“They tell me that I’m worthless and a failure and I should just kill myself. I hear them just like I can hear you right now. And when I choose not to listen to them, I feel a sharp pain. Some people might say I’m crazy, but I don’t feel crazy.”
Daniel may be an extreme case, but the thoughts he heard are fairly common. A lot of people feel like they are failures. Life stinks sometimes. And in response, we need to be tender with one another. Who knows what private hell another person may be battling through? Who knows what the voices in their head may be saying? Be gentle with those people in your life who always seem depressed.
And if you find yourself wanting to escape life’s pain, recognize that there may be a better way to do it than you’ve thought about. A few ideas:
- Share your pain with someone. If you don’t have a friend who you can trust, email me and we’ll figure it out.
- Get someone to pray for you. You may be fighting a spiritual battle by yourself. You need prayer.
- Ask God for a miracle. He’s in that business.