Today, I witnessed a tragedy. I saw a man take his own life. No, I’m not talking about seeing a man in a restaurant, obese, and eating more than a day’s worth of Calories. No, I’m not talking about seeing a man in a car smoking cigarettes and risking lung cancer (among many possible diseases).
No, today, I saw a man commit suicide. I saw a man plunge from a 4th story patio like a rag doll and never breathe a breath again. I don’t know the details of why this troubled man took his life. I don’t know his story. His pain. His helplessness.
What I do know, though, is the pain that remains. The ripple effects of his decision. I know of the 150 people I work with who will not soon forget the emotional swing our semi-annual sales meeting took when this poor soul decided to make such a heartbreaking irreversible decision. Did this man leave behind children, a wife, family? Again, I’m not sure, but I know that we all come from somewhere–we all have mothers and fathers. And there is always pain when a loss like this occurs.
Now, coming from my own experience, I feel the need to say that I haven’t had a close friend commit suicide. I haven’t had an immediate family member end a life. And while a child of one of our neighbors did when I was younger, suicide has never really affected me.
Not someone’s suicide, at least.
But, being that I struggled with depression for a good portion of my adolescence (or at least a long long bout of angst), suicide was on my mind as an option more than once. There were times when I longed for the pain of obesity or the pain of not fitting in to go away–and the only option felt like suicide. Those were some dark days. The poetry I wrote during that time was not good (both in terms of quality and subject):
Look at Me
I look around and see
Everyone stares at me
I may look weird
But on the inside, I am
Mirrors deceive me
The way I am
Is truly inside
Tears come out of these eyes too
They run down my cheek
I can feel them
Yeah, dark stuff, huh? But you know? I never gave in to that temptation. I never “took the easy way out”. And I’m glad I didn’t because very little in life is permanent. I wasn’t alone forever (thanks to a gracious God and a wonderful wife). I wasn’t obese forever (thanks to a gracious God). And my depression has been in remission for quite some time. And if I would have been the one to throw myself off the building (or however I thought about ending my life—I was a little too creative during that time…), I would have missed out on all of that. I would have tried to write my story for God. And that’s not ever a good idea.
And then, while writing this, I had my Zune playing, and this song by Avalon came on. How fitting is the chorus?
Beyond the Clouds (by Avalon)
Beyond the clouds
The sun is shining
Beyond the storm
The sky is blue
Beyond the rain
Hope is waiting
I’ll be there for you
I’ll be there for you
God will be there for us. He will be our strength and our power and our courage. But we have to let him.
Lord, please be with this man’s family who will never see his smile or feel his love again. Please be with the emergency personnel who did not have the full chance to save him. Please be with the hotel staff who have to continue to work in a place of such tragedy. Please be with all of my coworkers who may or may not have seen the graphic event but were terribly affected by it. Lord, I know that You love us and that You want what is best for us. I know that all things work out to Your goodness. But please let me and others be the tool that you use to do Your will. Be our hands and feet. Our mouths and ears. Our shoulders and arms. Thy will be done.