Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Yea, Though I Walk...

A friend of mine is lost in darkness and despair today. Please light a candle or say a prayer or do whatever you can to send her a thought of peace and comfort. If you would like to leave a thought for her here or e-mail me with it, I will make sure she gets them.

If you have never been suicidal, you cannot imagine just how heavy and impenetrable that darkness is. It weighs you down and wears you down, both physically and mentally. Light and hope and joy may abound in your life, but you cannot see them. All you can think of is relief. Please make it stop. I can't. I just can't any more. Your vision becomes so restricted that the only thing you can see is death. You stumble around in the blackness, knees weak, mind spinning, hearing only the siren song of sweet peace and surrender.

That is a horror from which most people are blessedly free. It is a horror I have lived. I was lucky. I survived. Unfortunately, the thoughts survived as well. Sometimes they rise to the surface, and I have to renew the battle to subdue them. I don't know if they will ever go away completely. The temptataion to just chuck it all, end the struggle, rest from the toil of life, is strong and seductive. "The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" Shakespeare knew. He had been there. He stood on that same precipice and looked over, the same as I have, the same as my friend does today.

People say that suicide is a selfish act. It really is the ultimate in selfishness. To the suicide, it is a means of taking control of a seemingly out-of-control life. It is the single positive act they can see to take. How heartbreaking that the illusion is so strong that many act upon it.

Life is full of surprises. You never know what tomorrow will bring. The only thing we can ever bet on is that the sun will rise again, and even that is not a completely safe bet. The thing is that hope is always there. Hope never dies. It never deserts us. It waits by our sides with the patience of eternity. Sometimes we have to have help to see it, though.

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