Saturday, August 19, 2017

Their Death is NOT Just a Statistic

It keeps happening. This strange, violent, awful way of dying.

I refuse to be reconciled to it, as if it were some phenomenon of social science or an unavoidable fate for certain people.

I keep trying to write this post, but I can't find any adequate way to talk about it. There really isn't an adequate way.

We live in tumultuous times. Our immensely powerful and stressful world pushes forward with a relentless force that continually multiplies itself, enlarges itself, leaping over limits of speed, annihilating space, defying gravity, racing in all directions. We are all riding behind this wild engine, gasping for air and grasping for a place to hold on. We don't really know who's driving or where it's going. Perhaps we are lucky enough to have learned some tricks for hanging on to this crazy train.

But people face all kinds of challenges and make a lot of mistakes. Some of these challenges are complicated by mental disorders that become more exacerbated by this wild ride. They are slipping and having trouble regaining their footing.

They're falling off the train. Too many of them are falling off the train. (But what is "too many"? One is too many!)

From all the noise and the scramble, they find no peace. They only fall into the cold stillness of the ground. And they are hardly noticed.

Suicide has become a statistic.

It will never be just a statistic for me! There are too many names and faces, too many people I love who have been devastated by this awful thing. Too many people who have been lost, or who have had their loved ones ripped away from them.

I know the trajectory of Depression, and how its internal chaos can connive with the recklessness of a toxic environment. I know that we must never give up hope. We must hope in the infinite mercy of God, and recognize all the factors that can diminish or eliminate culpability when a person does something that brings their life to an end.

I have a precious friend for whom I keep that flame of hope burning. Let us keep those flames burning, even though it means that our own hearts will continue to be struck and scarred by the heat.

Let us grieve and hope for our loved ones, and stand in solidarity with others who have lost their loved ones. At the same time, we must recognize that suicide is a disaster that stands at the end of a chain: often a bizarre and complex chain that has lots of links (and we must do as much as we can to understand and try to unhook those links). Still it is a chain that is held by the hand of the Enemy of the human race.

We must oppose this Enemy without compromise. Jesus tells us clearly: the Enemy is a liar and a thief! No compromise. Suicide is never, never the answer...to anything.

Dear suffering people, it is good that you are here. Stay!💗 Don't give up. Talk to someone about it. You matter, believe it, you matter so much more than you think!

For the rest of us: Understand that there are people among you who suffer. Some of them are young people who seem so full of vitality, or successful people, or people who seem so strong. They suffer in secret. Be ready to welcome with kindness and compassion any person who shows you their pain.

Other people suffer more openly, and we are tempted to think the unthinkable. The horror! We must resist this temptation with all our ardor.

The only true response to suffering is love and compassion (which includes every effort we can muster to alleviate the particular pains and suffering of a living human being). No matter how dire their circumstances may be, however, we must not let any human person ever think that the "solution" is to end their own life, much less should we provide the means and assistance for them to do so.

Worst of all is the social "normalization" of suicide, either through negligence or through the endorsement (by law and social mentality) of anyone making the terrible mistake of ending their own life. We must never say to any human person, "your life has no value." This is a lie! It is treason against humanity, the failure of love, the mockery of justice, the icing-over of the human heart.

And do we think we can allow this to become the norm, and somehow limit or control it? Right now, the weak are struggling to find a place to stand. In a cold world of fake compassion and icy hearts, the weak will fall and fall and fall. Indeed, we who are strong, who hold power, will push them.

The statistics will rise. And if our eyes remain dry, the stones will weep. 

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