Monday, September 24, 2012

Turning Wheels

The results are in:  More Americans now die from suicide than from car crashes.  

Before you respond by saying, "Well aren't you just a ray of sunshine?," let me say this:  I'm not trying to be a major downer.  Yesterday, when Jerry informed me of this news -- something he had read earlier in the day -- we looked at each other aghast.  We were speechless.  We nearly cried.  I just feel compelled to address this issue, even though the nature of the topic is nothing short of horrifyingly tragic.  This will not be an uplifting blog entry.

It takes a lot of desperation for someone to actually take his or her own life.   By nature, we want to live.  So to get to the point of willfully causing your very own life to cease, one must be more than just merely depressed.  One must be to the point of absolute desperation and despondency.  

To be candid, I know how this feels.  A little more than twelve years ago -- in the weeks preceding my conversion to Christ -- I was at this point myself.  If you haven't been there, take my word for it:  You don't want to be.  There is something sinister and terrifying when the mind begins to invent ways of doing oneself in.  It is an alien place, and a dark one.  Although I never attempted to take my life, the wheels in my mind were turning:  Maybe I could just swallow a bottle of pills.  Maybe I could just slit my wrists.  Maybe I could....

Perhaps some other day I will share the details that some people know, but many don't -- the reasons why I had gotten to the point of such desperation.  But for now, I will just say that I had no hope.  I hated life, and I hated myself.  I hated pretty much everything, and so I wanted to die.  More than that, I often wished I had never been born.  In my mind at the time, to have never been born would have been much, much better.  And so perhaps you can see why the frightening wheels were turning.

Thankfully, God intervened at the point when I was ready to trust Him.  And although it was a long road with battles along the way, He eventually got me to a place of wholeness and healing.  No longer did I want to die, no longer did I wish for nihilo.  

But back to the tragic reality:  More Americans now take their own lives than die in car wrecks.  The number is something like 37,000 dying in this horrible manner.  Hundreds of people every single day.  Taking.  Their.  Own.  Lives.  

We hear numbers like that, and our first question is, "Why?"  I don't want to sound trite, but I do believe the answer is a fairly simple one:  They have no hope.  Man can live without a lot of things, but he cannot live without hope, without significance.  This is how he differs from the animal kingdom.  The imago Dei needs reclaiming, and therein is true hope and significance.  Therein is life.

As our culture drifts further and further away from truth, is it any wonder that more people murder themselves?  Is it not the logical outflow of our cultural mindset?  We reject any notion of absolute truth, so there is no compass.  We believe that we come from nothing, so there is nowhere to go and no one to help.  We crown ourselves as king even as we reject any notion of significance, so there is only madness without hope.  With a worldview like this, why not kill ourselves?  Really, there is no reason not to do so.  

But oh, what a tragedy.  And how my heart breaks over it.

1 comment:

tomorrowsmemoriesphotography said...

This is so sad. :(
So thankful for the truth that sets us free!