Friday, September 11, 2015

A Clump of Sadness :: Suicide Prevention Week

This afternoon and evening I have been feeling a bit moody and sad.

I was (and still am) tired from not choosing the right amount of sleep and balanced nutrition these past few days. I missed my thyroid pill in the morning. I am hormonal and though I'm heading toward menopause, it's not here yet. Enough said on that part.

It is 9/11. Thinking of that, remembering and reprocessing what happened 14 years ago, yanks at my heartstrings. For me it's not so much about patriotism or even the evil enemy. It is the thought of so much suffering, so much grief, so much wreckage, so much fear.

I am angry and angsty at what is in the news these days, too. Foreign tragedies and terrors. Refugees. Wars and rumors of wars. Children being abused in churches and families. Patronizing and pious answers. Excuses and lies. I want to shriek. Make it stop!

I am disappointed with a bunch of things in my own experience. Yes, despite many challenges, my life is manageable, I savor my joys, and I am thankful for so much. Yet I also look around and see those whose life circumstances are so much better than mine. This juxtaposition, this contrast of mine against theirs - well then. Sigh. I had so many ideals and sweet dreams for life that others seem to attain with ease. And I haven't. And it is not likely that I ever will. I can hear in my head someone accusing me of the sin of jealousy. It is not that, at least not much. I am glad for others and I really can enjoy the goodness of the life that I do have. But it is still bittersweet.

So right now... a clump of sadness sits in my soul.

I know this of myself. When I grieve for one thing, or two, it all comes rushing in, a least for a little while. When I think of the loss of my sweet mother two years ago, I say, "I'm grieving for my mother." This is true, but not complete. Grief can be like a vacuum that sucks all of life's other losses into the void. Misery loves company. So what starts as one single simple grief becomes a tangled mess, and I may or may not sort out the strands.

I also know this of myself. I will feel better. Soon. Maybe just after a good night's sleep. (Trust me, I'm about to go there.) You don't need to be alarmed. I am not at risk of hurting anyone. I have an awesome support system. Hugs and affirmations from my family, and even writing this, have made me feel so much better already. So I am not complaining.

I just want to acknowledge that sadness is a real thing. Depression is a real thing. Unfortunately, for so many people, depression does not lift as easily as my fleeting sadness. No matter how they try to lift their spirits and think happy thoughts and pray faith-filled prayers, it can spiral down down down out of control. This doesn't have to happen. There is help and hope.

This year, September 6-12 is National Suicide Prevention week. I don't know if your life has been touched by suicide. Mine has. Years ago, a dear Christian friend, who loved and led others from the bottom of her heart, committed suicide. She left a huge hole in a community of hearts. I keenly remember the phone call, the funeral, the questions and regrets. Why was I not more aware? Why couldn't I have done more?

I cannot intervene for my sweet friend. It is too late.

Yet I hope that these thoughts can make you more aware of depression, whether it is you or a loved one, an acquaintance or a stranger. Open your eyes and ears, open your heart, and as you are led by love, open your mouth. Your attention, understanding, compassion, and action can help save a life. It may take connecting them with professional counseling or medication. But it can start with a word or an embrace from you.

A music video, an article, another of my essays and a few of my poems to get you started... 

"Beautiful Things" by Gungor

Why Churches Need to Talk about Suicide by Jamie Tworkowski

Melancholy by yours truly

The poems:

Oh, let me just put a whole one right here...

Your Kindness Gave Me Courage”
by Virginia Knowles

Your kindness gave me courage 
A gentle conversation
A thought-filled gaze
A good deed done 
A warm embrace
A place at your table  
A long letter, short note, silent words
A prayer for wisdom and strength
A gift from the heart.
Surely you did not fully know
(How could you?)
What that would do in me.
Could you sense my soul’s burdens:
The dark and doubt and defeat?

Then, just then, y
our kindness came as
Light: luminous
Love: lifting and leading me with 
Steady steps toward faith, hope, and joy.

Even though you could not fathom
Its deep reach and widening ripples
I knew then what I know now
And what I live a little more each day.

The very remembrance
Keen and bittersweet
Still fills me with dignity and wonder that
I can see, speak, serve, sing and
Bring light and love to others.

I bless you, my friend, with all my heart.
May the Lord Almighty bless you beyond
Full measure, pouring over the rims, for
Your kindness gives me courage.

If you know of other resources, be so kind as to leave a comment?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for featuring the White Raven video, Virginia. And thank you for being a voice in the Christian community.