I know I normally write about normal day-to-day things, so this is a bit out of the norm for me, as it should never be seen as a normal day-to-day thing. But yesterday, in the small town where we now live, an elderly man waited for his wife and daughter to leave the house to ironically attend a service for a young man of 24, who died after sustaining brain injuries in a car crash, and then shot himself. Alone in his garden, flanking the mighty Vaal River, on a clear-sky, exquisite day in Africa, under lofty trees filled with bird-song. I did not know him, we are too new in town, but I never stopped thinking about what thoughts and feelings must have driven him to this deed on such a beautiful morning.
We live in a world where people rush past each other, where greed is taking its toll in that we have learnt a culture over the past few years of spend, spend and spend. At times it feels like there cannot possibly be anything else that could go wrong.
In my own life, I would be blind to say only the past few years have been difficult. Life in general has been a battle, whether I had loads of available cash-flow, or very little as we are now experiencing after coming back from Tanzania with nothing but our few personal belongings. In my particular case this past year has yielded some amazing highs, like getting married to the most adorable man in the universe, and it has brought some rock-bottom moments of despair – mainly caused by outsiders who have managed to either shake our belief in what is right or wrong in values, who have made us doubt our own self-worth, who have forsaken us as friends because it seems they were just good-time friends anyway. And yet one has to put one foot in front of the other, face each morning with renewed hope that The Almighty will bestow Grace upon us one day at a time, trust the people we meet and do business with, until proven wrong, love and cherish one another.
I am not stating anything unique – my story will echo around the world and every person has his or her own sorrow, pain and hopefully happiness. But like my daughter taught me in that incredibly painful time I split from her father: eat the elephant bite by bite.
May The Almighty grant this family, unknown to me, grace and peace and may the soul of the elderly man, who actually took the step to take his life, unlike many of us who have had the thoughts at times, and thankfully did not turn it into action, rest in peace. And my we all be granted the wisdom to chew the elephant bite by bite as we face the trials and tribulations of each day, each week, each month, each year.
A quote from Oriah Mountain Dreamer – The Invitation:
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.
- How To Talk To Your Children About Suicide And Depression (simplysenia.com)
- Elderly Suicide Epidemic Strikes South Korea (disinfo.com)
- Utah Is Trying to Stop a Suicide Epidemic – While Loosening Gun Laws (motherjones.com)
- Living suicides (exploringlifeweb.wordpress.com)
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The pain of suicide is left for the survivors.
It is very ironic that the poem you quote from is one I have drawn a great hope and inspiration from recently, and this very evening sent to someone in the hope of doing the same. Unable to sleep, but unable to concentrate enough to write in my blog, I entered my favorite movie (Out of Africa) into the search engine and found your blog. And this was the last page I read – just as my alarm went off for me to go to work. No coincidences in life. But I think I will be taking an optional vacation day…God is good.
Anne Squared, I can only tell you that I Personally have never had to face the pain of someone close to me leaving us by committing suicide. For that I am thankful. For the crosses we each have to bear in every day life, yes, God is good. And the poem I quote has carried me through many dark days and nights. I am grateful that my blog has meant something to you. Take care, count blessings and hold on to our Father. And I trust the day off was good.