Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Flames in the Darkness

The world is saddened today by the death of Robin Williams.  His apparent suicide finds us among a multitude of opinions and emotions.  It is difficult to understand how someone who can portray such profound thinking and bring out so much joy in others can struggle so with the demons of the dark ... the demons that we are just not comfortable speaking of.

I have so many thoughts regarding depression and alcoholism and my heart teters between those who suffer those demons and those left in the wake of either one.  I struggle with my spiritual beliefs and the world's view of right and wrong.

In her blog today, Ann Voskamp described depression as "a room engulfed in flames and you can’t breathe for the sooty smoke smothering you limp — and suicide is deciding there is no way but to jump straight out of the burning building."
(Full article at http://www.aholyexperience.com/2014/08/what-the-church-christians-need-to-know-about-suicide-mental-health/)

In another blog I read tonight, Shawna Morrissey describes this enlightening moment years after her uncle's suicide:  "My family was watching a documentary on the 9/11 terrorist attacks and for the first time, I saw footage of someone jumping from the window of one of the twin towers.  All at once, I understood what Jay’s bishop had meant.  The person was not jumping from the building to die, but rather to escape the intense and consuming flames.  Nobody would accuse that person of being selfish or of giving up on life."
(Full article at http://eatthinkbemerry.com/2014/06/a-perspective-on-suicide/)

Wow.  To feel that heat ... to feel that fear ... to feel that despair of no hope.  There's my enlightening moment.  It's only by the grace of God that I have only seen those flames from a distance; only felt their slight warmth; and have always been able to escape to safety.

I am NOT advocating that suicide is ever a good choice.  Life is too PRECIOUS.  There is HOPE and HELP no matter how deep into the darkness we lie ... even when the demons convince us otherwise.  I'm just saying that these articles, and others, have given me a different perspective on the pain and loneliness and fear one must feel when making the decision that suicide is the only "good" thing left.

I have no expert opinion on the subject - spiritual, medical, or any otherwise.  I am just another person with a saddened heart at the loss of so many precious lives.  And I am pointing no fingers except at myself.  If there is anything good to come out of this public loss, I would hope that we could all just be more aware.  That we could take off the mask of perfection and know that others are wearing it, too - hiding their darkness from those around them.  That we could be more compassionate to one another.  And that we could endeavor to be LIGHT and HOPE to those that daily face their demons in the wretched darkness.

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