Sunday, January 21, 2018

Suicide: A Survivor’s Story

October 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

Today, suicide continues to be a serious epidemic that does not discriminate against age, race, religion, or gender. From our students to our soldiers, too many lives have been tragically lost in an ocean of hopelessness and despair.

This story, A Survivor’s Story, is mine. I have been both a student and a soldier (United States Marine). Many years have now passed since I was pulled from the same unforgiving ocean that senselessly claims more and more lives each year. This was indeed the darkest period of my life now lived for forty-four years.

As you might have guessed, my story is different from the stories that fill the news today. My story has a happy ending; death would have to wait and darkness would not have its day!

I will not bore you with the pain and circumstances that carried me through the sand and shallows into the deep waters of desolation. It matters not, the route you take to get there; there are many roads that lead to the same destination. Those who have been there know all to well and many of you are there now. Hang on!

If you have never been to this place, I don’t think you can ever fully understand what it’s like. Just know that in this place, there is no hope. As far as you can see, there is only darkness. At the end of the proverbial tunnel there is no light. You run tirelessly to get there, faster and faster but still… no light at all. It is cold and black. You are at the center, alone. Oh, you might have friends and family who love you dearly, but none of that matters when you are out to sea and all alone. Here, endless hopelessness is your only reality and it is this reality that you want to end.
Here, you will go to any lengths to stop your pain. Yes, even inflicting unspeakable pain on those you leave behind.

Years ago, this is where I was, and today, I remember it like it was yesterday. Over and over in my mind I had rehearsed and planned my own death. And for all intents and purposes, no one in my life knew it, not my mother, my father, my sister, or any of my friends. On the outside I looked just like everyone else but on the inside I wanted desperately to leave this world. “How” I would leave it became the next question I would have to answer.

Where do you begin when you’re planning your own death? Right! I didn’t know either – but I did know that I wanted it to look like an accident. My best and perhaps most viable option, seemed to be falling asleep at the wheel. And I knew just the place! There was a bridge abutment; it was on my way home on a remote highway in a rural area. I passed this place at least two times a day and it was not uncommon to drive home late at night. For weeks I visualized my freedom and release from the pain of this world every time I passed by this bridge. At first, it was difficult to picture my 1978 Chevy Silverado hitting that bridge but over time it became crystal clear. And soon it became my alternate and preferred reality. It was also my only escape from the life I now lived.

Once I could picture it in my mind it took only a few weeks, and a particularly bad day, to put me in the wrong frame of mind. Now was the time! I was ready to change my reality. It was dark, it was late, and there were no other cars on the road as I approached the bridge. I was sobbing, crying, and I was asking God, “WHY? Why me?” What did I do to deserve what was happening? Did I deserve what had happened to me as a child? I was utterly without hope and I was drowning in a river of my own tears that ran freely into an ocean of despair.

My truck tires were throwing gravel as I left the pavement. Can you hear it? I hear it like it was yesterday! As I approached the abutment at a high rate of speed, just seconds before impact, Jesus took the wheel! I swerved away from the bridge and came to a stop on the shoulder of the highway. With my head leaning forward and resting on the steering wheel I wept and I prayed and I cried out to God for help and for forgiveness.
I could hardly see through the tears as I reached into the truck’s console and grabbed an old envelope and a pencil.

On the back of the envelope I began to write as the words flowed effortlessly, line after line after line. Listen to the words that rescued me that night, the words that gave me hope and a future and assured me that I was not alone and even more that I had never been alone, even through the worst of times. These words were not “The Light” at the end of the tunnel, but they certainly served to light the way to the end of the tunnel. Perhaps, they might also be a light to you or someone you love!

My Father’s Light

It’s questions not answers that fill my head,
Should we mourn the living and envy the dead?
An attempt at insanity floats gently away,
into a sea of reality where I must stay.
Blind I am, but still I see,
a distant silhouette of a man upon his knees,
He looks to God through eyes of tears,
to end his life of agony and fear.
Out of the silence came a familiar voice from deep inside…
“I have not forsaken you; I AM your conscience and your guide.
I speak and you listen but you do not hear,
it was I who carried you through the hard times year after year.
You weep like a child, wallowing in sorrow and self-pity,
instead of preparing yourself to enter the gates of pearl
before the golden city.
Rise up I say, I AM the Son of our Lord,
I have given you the Bible as your strength and your sword,
stand up and be strong, prepare to fight,
Soon we will walk together down streets of gold,
in the awesome glory of my Father’s light.”
(Romans 9:1; John 16:13; 2 Cor 4:9; Matt 13:13; Mark 8:18; 2 Cor 13:14; Matt 28:20; 1 Pet 1:13; 2 Tim 2:21; Rev 21:21)

The words in the story that you just read are not new or special; they are not extra-biblical! There is no need for any such thing; God has not withheld anything from Scripture. The story you just read is merely consistent with the Word that God gives us all. God’s Words were reliably recorded by men and compiled into the greatest, most widely distributed work in the history of history. It is called…The Holy Bible.

The Bible is the most quoted, most translated, most published book in human history, completely unique in its creation, content, and accuracy. Written over a span of 40 generations and about 1600 years, by more than 40 authors from varying walks of life, on three continents and in three languages. The Bible is unlike any other book in the world. It includes poetry, prophecy, parables and preaching. The Bible covers a broad range of subject matter, including hundreds of controversial topics, from the nature of God to the origin of man.

There are more than 1,800 prophecies in the Bible. Many of these prophecies were fulfilled in the lifetime of the prophet who gave them. Still more have been fulfilled since the writing of the Bible. Many prophecies are yet to be fulfilled. To this day, no Biblical prophecy has ever have been proven false!

It is here, in the words of the Creator God that Hope, authentic and life-transforming Hope, can be found.

“…hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf…” – Hebrews 6:18-20

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