Friday, November 7, 2014

Suicide Evaluation

Because of all the difficulties in our lives this year, I haven't made many entries.  But here I hand my heart to you.

I’ve been in a very contemplative mood lately.  So much has happened this year to continually turn my thoughts toward suicide.  I’ve talked a lot about this previously, so I’m going to attempt to be clinical and to the point. Let’s just list them:

1. Melody broke up with her boyfriend, Evan, and March 8 he took his own life.  Beautiful, charismatic, giving Evan.

2. After having a private art student for some time, I missed her on spring break.  I figured she was on a trip. They finally contacted me to tell me she was committed for suicidal ideations, and that they had begun art lessons with me to help with this.  If I had only known from the beginning of our time together, how different our talks would have been!  Weeks later, when the weather warmed up, she wore short sleeves, revealing a severely cut and scarred arm.  Through smiling tears she told me that she was going to tattoo it when she was a bit older and the scars were better healed.

3. Robin Williams, the amazing, versatile comedian, took his life.

4. My friend, Tony, took his life September 15.

Note to self: Evan, Robin Williams and Tony all had the same personality.  And dealt with that unmentionable, socially taboo subject – depression.

5. Two days ago, one of my friends let me know they had taken her daughter, one of my former art students, to the hospital for suicidal ideations.

That’s five.  This year.  Up until my 54th year, I have wandered happily through life without ever contemplating suicide.  Never missed it. This year it has slammed us.  Up to this point, I never even knew what a suicide survivor was.  It is me.  It is us.  It is all of us left behind to pick up the pieces and wonder why.

I will never forget, probably 25 years ago when we lived in Quincy, Illinois, the ladies of our church putting together women’s gatherings.  Our little church of 200 would put together a ladies’ convention for thousands, and would draw from several states.  We would hire big names, rent the local school, put up curtains and flowers in the boys’ bathrooms so ladies could use them and go for it.

One year we had a speaker – I know not who – who described her life.  She told us that she lived a horrible childhood, being continually raped and used.  Everything was difficult, but somehow she got through it.  Through the years she became a Christian and was deciding upon her life work.

She said, “I wanted to play piano. I wanted to play with children!  I wanted to make music and produce art!”  But God was calling her into something else, and she became a counselor for abused children – the last thing in the world she wanted to be, and that for which she was best-prepared.

I sat stunned.  Her unobtainable desires were my very life!  She had expressed my life verbatim! I made music, played with children and produced art.  To this day, I am still making music, playing with children, surrounded by young people and making art! Thank You, Lord!  Wow.

Her plaintive cry has echoed with me all through these years, and I have looked back to her many, many times.  What a gift I have been given, and what a joy filled life I have lived.

Since March I have produced two paintings and a number of poems about suicide.  Yep.  There they are.

There have been a number of times in my life that I have thought, “I have been prepared all my life for this very moment in time.”  Like Esther, prepared to help her people, I felt specially-equipped to do that precise thing in a particular situation.

So, Lord, exactly what are you trying to tell me now?

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