A coworker took his life last week.
His story, mostly unknown to me, is not mine to tell. Events like this, though, tend to send even the most callous of hearts deep into pools of introspection, and I'm no exception.
How many times have you been there, where he must have been? In that dark pit of hopelessness, where there seemed to be no hope, no help, no acceptable course of action other than. That. That place. Like a lot of you, I've been there a time or two and managed to climb back out. I claim no special insight as to why. I just know I made it back past the edge, even when everything inside me was screaming out to just let go of all of the pain and make it stop. MAKE. IT. STOP. Fear of what might happen to my children, my beloved animals, my parents - effective tools against plunging off the cliff. Fear of what lies on the other side of the veil, also effective. In the most gut-wrenching despair, there has been the voice of God in my mind, the sense of arms holding me tight, a presence that seemed to say "You are not alone."
What in life is so insurmountable that we cannot move past it? I have no answer. And the response is different for every single one of us. Why do some people look at the darkest of circumstances and attach themselves to the one tiny speck of shiny twinkling light that they can find, and others can't even see the light, or worse yet, reject it in favor of the blackness?
I'm not a Pollyanna. I know that there are times when the only way is farther down because there is no apparent up. I know that there are times when there is simply NO acceptable alternative. There are times when the only thing to do is pick the least of the worst case scenarios and turn the switch. I would think it rude of me to assume that simply telling someone "There is hope" is the answer. BUT I BELIEVE THERE IS HOPE. Always. Its just that we have different ways, all of us, of finding it. Some of us cannot, will not find it on our own. Sometimes it takes help to be able to work around the Bad Thing that is pulling us into the current.
When we are caught in the undertow, it can become impossible to struggle against that tide, to find safety. Sometimes we need to be carried awhile, to be pulled to shore by strong and caring hands. I wish this man had been able to reach out and I am so heartbroken for him that he was not.
If you are at the end of your rope, please find someone to talk to. If there is no friend you believe can listen to you, call your local crisis line or suicide hotline. Call your pastor, your mother, your sister, your high school Spanish teacher or your doctor. Call me, if that's what it takes. Just call. Let someone help you find your way back to shore.