On that dark night, so many years ago, as I was slipping into the abyss of anguish and dejection, do you know who I shared my feelings with?
As I walked to my Army locker, looked inside at various bottles of pills, and began consuming them all, do you know to whom I reached out for help?
After I’d taken almost 60 pills—a combination of pain killers, muscle relaxers and Tylenol—do you know who I shared my dirty little secret with, in order to save my life?
Not a soul.
I figured nobody cared, and the ones who did care couldn’t do JACK about it. So I continued to suffer in silence, potentially rushing toward an early grave.
My beautiful wife and my amazing little girl (only a toddler at the time) were sitting at home, almost 900 miles away. Both were completely oblivious that daddy was tormented and despondent, lonely and broken, mind slipping into abyss, trying to end his own life.
I was one of the lucky ones, or perhaps I should say “blessed.” I lived. I survived, but many do not.
We live in an age when the image people portray on social media is one most can never live up to in real life. We live in a time when people would rather hang themselves than share their fears and desperation.
It’s an age of people choosing suicide over disclosing their feelings of hopelessness and despair. It’s a time when people would rather swallow a bottle of pills or a bullet than appear weak.
Well, as my son says, “I call B.S. on that one!”
It is absolutely imperative that you talk to someone. If you literally can’t think of anyone you believe cares about you, try calling one of these phone numbers:
Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Prayer Line 1-800-4-PRAYER
Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-827-7571
Crisis Intervention 1-800-673-2496
Here is a list of just a FEW things that either wouldn’t have happened or I would’ve missed if I had been successful in my attempted suicide:
- A million kisses
- Literally thousands of nights, sitting and holding hands with my wife, finding peace and comfort in her eyes
- My son wouldn’t have been born
- Watching my daughter grow up
- “Donuts with dad” with my kids at grade school
- A million laughs and tears as my kids grew up
- A plethora of encouraging words and hugs as my kids traversed the challenging road to adulthood
- Elementary school, middle school and high school graduations
- Watching my daughter on the soccer and debate teams
- Walking her down the aisle at her wedding
- Dozens of football games, band concerts and other events with my son
- Thousands of bedtime prayers
- The births and lives of my grandchildren
- Yearly vacations with my wife, kids and grandkids
- The pleasure of moving into middle age and beyond with Laura; my wife, my little princess, mi amor
And many, many others, too numerous to mention.
So many laughs, so many tears, so many memories…gone.
That’s what Satan wanted to steal from me, but the Lord had other plans! In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
I don’t care what others have said about you, life is always worth living, even with the pain and tears. It matters not who you are, Jesus loves us all equally.
I’m not talking about theology, man. I’m talking about love, real and rich and true. A love so deep and unimaginable that God sent His only Son to die a criminal’s death, just to give you the opportunity of spending eternity with Him.
So, to the hopeless and despondent, I say, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”
Reach out, talk to someone. Share your feelings. Don’t suffer alone, because you may not be as lucky as I was.
“The Lord is close to all whose hearts are crushed by pain, and he is always ready to restore the repentant one. Even when bad things happen to the good and godly ones, the Lord will save them and not let them be defeated by what they face. (Psalm 34:18-19)”