How my friend saved me from suicide
A friend of mine who's now in college reminded me that suicide remains a problem on many campuses. So I'm taking a break from my No god but God series to give some thoughts on this issue.
I myself seriously thought about suicide once. It's funny looking back, because that's so far from where I am today that it seems like it happened to another person. And perhaps that's truer than it seems—that person in despair was a lie about me, and never was who I really am. Here's the story.
It was over a guy, of course. I fell in love with someone just completely inappropriate in so many ways. But it was in a time of my life when I was hungering for love, and he was more than happy to oblige as long as it didn't ruffle his life any. He spotted my vulnerability a mile off and I think it amused him to have that kind of power over me. But, he was confused as well. We were a priceless pair!
Eventually, the whole thing blew up, involving many other people and becoming excruciating. So much drama. When he had to make a choice, he didn't choose me. And our circle of supposed "friends" didn't let me forget it. I spent a lot of time in tears, figuratively beating my head against the wall in frustration. Nothing relieved the pain.
One night, while driving home after a particularly humiliating evening, I had this powerful urge to wrap my car around a tree. There! That would show them! I'd end it all, and they'd be sorry. It's hard to describe how reasonable this seemed at the time. It made complete logical sense to me. All problems would be solved, the right people would feel bad, and I'd have the last laugh.
Through the fog of this mindset, I got another message: Just go home. Don't worry about it. Get some rest. So that's what I did.
A few days later I spoke with a friend of mine who I hadn't seen in a while (she lived an hour or so away). The last time we had talked, I'd told her about this new love in my life and she'd been adamantly opposed. She could tell it wouldn't end well, but nothing she said made any difference. We didn't talk much after that. Now, she gave me a call to check up on me, and I wound up telling her about the whole situation and the weird suicide thoughts.
She gasped. "I prayed for you!" she said. Apparently on the afternoon of that same day, she had felt a strong impulse to pray. It actually occurred to her that I might be thinking about suicide. So she prayed. She prayed to know that God is always loving and guiding each of His children. She saw me as loved and cared for by God, even though my life had all the signs of self-destruction.
Well, I think that prayer worked. When the moment came, I got the message loud and clear.
This divine involvement in my little sordid affair gave me a renewed sense that maybe I was worth something. Maybe there was hope for me—maybe this wasn't the end of my life but only the beginning. It took some time, but within a couple years, my life showed a complete turnaround.
I think every one of us can have an influence for preventing suicide as my friend did by walking through the world seeing people as God sees them, rather than how they see themselves. Every drop of this hopeful outlook can be a force for good. And it can lead us to the right place at the right time, saying the right thing, being there for someone.
Putting yourself at God's service that way can save lives. I know it, and I'm so grateful my friend did, too.
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