I feel like I’ve been surrounded by death recently. On the smaller side of things, last week, my family decided that our guinea pig would be better off not in pain, and we put her down. Then on Monday, we heard news of the third suicide at my college this year. And today, we cry with the family and friends of the 32 people at Virginia Tech who were killed in 2007. It’s also Holocaust Remembrance Day, so there’s that.
I never met Paul Soutter, the young man who committed suicide, but I’ve been to his high school, and I saw him in two shows this year. After the second show, I would recognize him in the dining halls by his bright, strawberry blonde hair. And that’s the closest I’ve been to someone who committed suicide, and I earnestly hope that is the closest I ever get. Since his death, there has been a campus wide discussion about stress, mental health, and suicide. And it’s good that we’re having this discussion. It’s just sad that it took 3 suicides in a year for us to get this desperate and really start talking about it. And I’ve been watching on, not sure what to say or do. I’m not an expert on anything but I will tell you what I do know.
Hello, darling. Hello, beautiful. To whoever is reading this, you are worth so much. Please don’t ever think that you can’t do anything in the world or that no one appreciates your presence. You are a work of art, a breathing poem. And that’s not that you merely have the potential be a work of art if you work harder or do more good deeds or whatever. You are beautiful and precious and incredible right now. Yes, it’s true, you can become so much. And I hope to see the even more gorgeous, accomplished person you become. But you don’t need that to affirm your worth. You don’t need to get certain grades or hold a certain number of leadership positions or be recognized to be worth the time of those around you. You have passions and pet peeves and talents and things you can’t stand to talk about, and that is so wonderful. You are wonderful. You are unique, and you are beautiful. You are not alone. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel pain. You are precious and loved and so, so worth it.
Even without knowing the people who have taken their own lives, I am struck by all the pain there is. The pain they must have felt. The pain their friends and family and acquaintances feel, especially for these people. Because I know that if I was in that position, my automatic emotional response would be that of intense regret at not having done something to change the outcome. But it’s not your fault. Please, please do not blame yourself. And I know that’s super hypocritical of me to say, but maybe if I’m ever in your position, you’ll be able to tell me that too. And in response to all the pain, I’m going to do something that I don’t think I’ve ever done on my blog before. I’m going to write my prayer.
God, I pray for everyone who feels like they are overwhelmed by life right now, who feel in bondage. Bondage to a mental health disorder or to the stress of school or to their regrets or family problems. You see these people. You know them intimately, far more than I can ever know them. And you love them.
I know you are a God who heals. You love to see your little children unrestrained by pain and loss, living in the freedom that you so generously give us. You don’t get rid of pain altogether, and we don’t always know why. Maybe because sometimes it’s healthy to acknowledge pain. Maybe sometimes we need to see you work through our pain. But you do heal. I’ve seen it before, and I am confident I will see it many more times before I die. I have faith in that. God, heal someone, even if it’s a small healing, just letting someone know they’re not alone or affirming their worth; move today. Even to the people who feel like they’re okay or that they’ve got everything figured out. You see their hidden pains, the ones they repress and ignore. Encourage your children and show them that you are the Father who Loves, freely and perfectly. Thank you that you are so much bigger than us and that you put us in the right place at the right time, even if we do not understand. There is so much pain in the world, today and every day, but you are bigger than the pain. Amen.
“Are not 5 sparrows sold for 2 pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs on your head are numbered. Do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.” – Luke 12:6-7
p.s. If you’d like individual prayer or just want to talk about essentially anything, please, please, please let me know!