Suicide: Selfish Action or Despairing Reaction?

a journal

a journal

Odd.  Just this past week I got out my Purpose Driven Life Devotional to use it again, needing to understand life better, trying to wrap my head around our purpose.

And now, ever since Sunday morning at church, when our associate pastor stood before us, the congregation, and told us about Rick Warren’s son committing suicide, I have been heart-sick.  My thoughts and emotions are with their grieving, their unanswered questions of “Could I have done more?”  I have reflected on the long journey they have been taking with their son and his mental illness, the toll it took on their son as well as them for that is what illness does in a family.  Those debilitating illnesses of any kind, those long-term illnesses with a need for long-term help not only affect the sick person but affect the caretakers as well.

The problem with mental illness, deep depression illness for today’s discussion, is the misunderstanding the majority of people have about it.  It’s not something an ill person wants to have.  Those with chronic depression do not want to be sad all the time; they do not want to have to fight every single day of their lives just to feel the slight presence of a “good day.”  They want, as badly as a child wants its Momma when it is scared or hurt, to be “normal,” to be happy, to be able to walk without a cloud of heavy darkness constantly hanging over them.  They would love to be able to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”

But it’s just not possible sometimes.  Some days they lose the fight they fight every day to live life.  And sometimes when they lose… they commit suicide.  That happens in an instant; that decision.  The pain of sadness hurts, and sometimes it hurts so badly that all one wants to do is just leave.  It is not, as the leader of a visiting singing group at our church had the gall to get up and say before the entire group of people there to worship God, “an act of cowardice.”  No person who commits suicide is a coward.  My heart wants to cry out to God to let this particular man experience the despair of depression.  But the Christ who suffered for me and has sent a part of Himself to live within me fills me with compassion instead; something this man clearly does not have.  And the knowledge that Christ is with us does not keep us from the Dark Abyss; it does not keep us from feeling despair any more than it keeps one from feeling the pain of a broken bone.  But it does, as Rick Warren’s son knew, give us a hope.  And with that hope, those fighting this horrible illness grope along through the darkness of depression; some days victorious; some days just holding their own; some days losing.

It’s the losing days that we, as caretakers or friends or health workers, worry about.  Those are the days we check and double-check the one we love.  But what of the losing day we know nothing about?  That moment in time when the despair is overwhelming, the tiredness of the fight creating such a longing to leave that the sick one does just that:  leaves.  One way or another, but leaves.

It’s been 12 years now since I almost left.  But I remember the day as though it were yesterday.  My grief that evening had doubled: first I grieved the loss of my husband and now the grief over my son as well hit me.  And this particular evening it was just too much grief.  I had to leave; I couldn’t stay.  The thought that my family needed me never entered my mind.  There were no thoughts but one:  I had to leave; I couldn’t bear the pain anymore.   All I could feel was the horrible blackness of despair.  The leaving would not be a cowardly act but an act of one whose thought processes are skewed by the darkness of depression.

As was her nightly ritual at that point in time, my sister called me to check on me.  And as usual I was crying.  We would talk; she would say she was coming down, but I would assure her I would be fine.  And I would rise above the grief and be fine.  But this night was different.  Dar called; I was crying; we talked.  And when she said she was coming down, I continued crying and talking and telling her I would be fine… until I realized I was talking to no one.  I knew she had dropped the phone, got in her car, and was probably speeding way past the legal speed limit to get to me.

My plans to leave had been derailed and I cried that much harder.  I knew that whatever pills I had planned on taking would only be pumped out of my stomach at a hospital; whatever mode of transportation I could think of to leave this world had just been shut down by the fact that my sister was on her way to do whatever she had to do to save me.

And then she walked through the door…

Just what I’ve been thinking lately, but this says it so much better than I ever could.

Whenquiet's Blog

Often, God sends us angels. During this recording, the angel was the pianist, Martin Eigenmann. Because of his encouragement, I recorded one of my belated Grandmother’s favorite songs, and heard her voice when we listened to the playback. The second angel is the person who recently uploaded this video to youtube. Merci beaucoup! Yes, I am ready to begin singing again. Thank you!!

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Resurrection Day

paying the penalty for us

Yesterday started with the sunrise service.  It was a little later than sunrise, 7:00 a.m., but still early.  Used to be, ten years or so ago, the church would be full at sunrise service; now we have a handful… or two.

What’s happened?  Why have people stopped coming to the sunrise service?  Are they less thankful?  Do they give the Messiah no thought anymore?  Troubles?  Worries?  Burdened?  Perhaps the other churches in the community are having a service as well?

So my day started out good!  It was a joyful morning!

Sunday School

My Sunday School children were all bright-eyed and eager to answer questions.  The treats I gave out for answering had absolutely nothing to do with their eagerness… I’m fairly certain.  But they were a great bunch of kids, and I especially enjoyed them.

nothing better than church on a sunny Sunday morning

The regular service was good, full of music and good words.  I got to see several people I haven’t seen in a while.  We had gathered up a few people for a choir, and they did an excellent job!  My grandgirls ran all over tarnation, as usual.  Barefooted.  We are true rednecks… at least I had my shoes on.

In the afternoon I continued celebrating the resurrection of Christ with the Little Chapel Church as they danced in the streets of Harrisburg.  It was great as well!  The church had a big screen set up and showed pictures and videos of the tornado damage and cleanup before they presented the Resurrection Dance.  This dance started in Hungary with the Faith Church:  1300 people dancing in the square.  Click on the links for information and a video with a sample of the groups all over the world that participated in the dance last year.  All those people celebrating the resurrection of Jesus the Christ by dancing to the same music, doing the same dance, in the streets of their communities on Easter Sunday.  It’s awesome and moving.  I can’t wait to see this year’s video.  Next year I am going to be a part of this!

Then the dancing sister and I went to the DQ.

old-fashioned strawberry soda

She had a measly diet drink, but being in the celebrating mode, I had an old fashioned strawberry soda.  It was beautifully made and tasted as good as it looked.

To top off my lovely day, as I was riding around Harrisburg with Dar, checking out the progress that has been made since the tornado and seeing all the destruction (which makes me so sad), enjoying the lovely spring air with our windows rolled down… I feel something.  SMACK!  “What the heck?”

I’m believing this.

Birdpoop!  My window was only rolled down about halfway!  But somehow that stinking bird managed to poop all over my blue jeans, my sweater, and my brand new purse.  All evening I’ve been thinking: “The story of my life: top off a great day by getting crapped on… once again.”

Until… I was looking for bird-pooping pics on the internet and ran across this most interesting article:

Why is it considered good luck if a bird drops poop on you?

  • It has to do with the odds of it happening by random chance. Its like 1 in a billion which is almost the same as winning the lottery. So if you are statistically able to get bird poop on you, then you should also be able to win the lottery.
  • Somebody came up with the idea that it’s good luck because it’s so disgusting that there must be something good about it.
  • I always thought it was because you were lucky that horses couldn’t fly.
  • I have always heard that is supposed to be lucky to have it happen. However, it is not the most pleasant experience, and then there’s the cost and effort of cleaning your clothes.

To buy a lottery ticket or not?  That is the question for today.

How long does my good luck last?  Google research says 2 to 6 years.  


I Can Only Imagine


Sitting here listening to Pandora, my Third Day station.  And I am once again awed by God.

HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD by Promise Keepers

Name above all names.  Worthy of all praise.  My heart will sing How Great Is Our God.


Vodpod videos no longer available.

THIEF by Third Day

Who is this man? This man beside me
They call the King of the Jews
They don’t believe that He’s the Messiah
But, somehow I know it’s true.

And they laugh at Him in mockery,
and beat Him till he bleeds
They nail Him to the rugged cross,
and raise Him, they raise Him up next to me

‘ Thief ‘ performed by Third Day

Vodpod videos no longer available.
May your Easter be filled with thoughts of the Christ who loves you.

The Star of Bethlehem

A few Christmases ago, I went with a couple of friends to an Amy Grant  and Vince Gill concert.  On the way home a falling star fell in front of the car I was driving.  It was so bright that it looked like it fell right on the pavement in front of us.  Unbelievably awesome!!  I can’t begin to tell you what an experience that was.  Every Christmas I remember it and am wowed all over again by that powerful sight.

bright star

So as I put up my stable scene of Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus, and all the other participants on that amazing night, the star that led the kings from far away to find the Christ Child was on my mind.  This star had to be magnificent, out of the ordinary to the nth degree.  It would have stayed stationary, unlike the stars that come and go as our earth turns.  The group of three would have been able to see that they were getting closer and closer to it until they stood directly underneath it.  I can’t imagine the feeling of finally arriving at the location I had studied from afar and placed its GPS location by a faint but brightly burning star, burning ever brighter the closer I came.

Were these three the only ones who were privy to such a star?

Did they see the star?

Did God hide it from the eyes of the masses?  To those people who qualify all that happens in the world through science and logic, the answer is a scoffing no; those people include the Spirit God among the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.  But for those of us who have experienced the supernatural, who know for a fact that there is an intelligent force much greater than ourselves, someone we call the Father God, we know that anything is possible.

The Bible talks about signs and wonders, and they come in many shapes and forms, human and inanimate, powerful and gentle, roaring and whispering, joyful and heartbreaking, explained and mysterious.

My blindingly bright falling star was a wonder.  A wonder that reminds me every Christmas season of the power of the Son God, the power to give life to the dying, a new birth.

May you experience the supernatural this Christmas, for that is what the Christ Child is:  a spiritual experience outside the boundaries of earth.

starry night full of wonder

Beginning my month of Thanksgiving one day at a time

This week I was an observer of a rather disturbing conversation.  At least I was disturbed.  The group was discussing Halloween and how much fun the children have trick or treating.  Then it went on to Christmas.

Santa with presents

One Mom was saying her child of about eight had said he had been thinking that maybe Santa wasn’t real.  All children come to that conclusion at some point in their little lives.  This particular mom didn’t want him to quit “believing” in Santa because, she said, “If you don’t believe, then what’s left?  Just presents.”

Now, I totally get where she is coming from.  She’s talking about the secular side of Christmas.  The next statement was “Oh, we have traditions we keep.”  Which is the point I got excited as I thought she was about to talk about a Christmas Eve candlelight service or reading the story of the birth of Christ from the Bible or setting out the nativity scene or some other true meaning of Christmas activity.  “We always make a gingerbread house together.”


Pffffft.  Deflated.  Where has Christmas gone?  Where is the Christ that belongs in Christmas?  Christmas is Christ, plain and simple.  It always has been even though pagan traditions have crept in over the years.  Click on the highlights for some interesting reading.

It was fun when the children were small to have Santa, for someone to ring bells outside the house and watch the kids rush to the window to look for the sleigh, the excitement of Christmas presents that Santa brought.  But inevitably the time came when each would ask “Is there really a Santa?”  And that was always the appropriate time to explain that there wasn’t; that it was a fun game that everyone played, and now that the child was old enough to be let in on the secret, he/she could help to be Santa as well.

How are children going to learn to give if they are always on the receiving “believing” end?  The whole point of Santa is about giving although it has turned into all about receiving.  Our focus at Christmas should always be the birth of Christ with the fun of Santa topping it off, teaching us to give.  Christmas comes with the greatest gift of giving: Christ giving His life for ours.  Complicated?  No.  Go back and read the post by Faith, Family, and the Farm titled You Love Me Anyway.


For now, this month, the month of Thanksgiving, I am going to spend time in thankfulness for those gifts I have received.  Each day plan to take a few minutes to be thankful.

Today I am thankful for my job.  It allows me to keep my home and provide food on my table, help my family, give money to church and other good causes, plus have dessert in the form of trips or Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Yogurt.

What’s in your thankfulness gift box?

You Love Me Anyway

(The following post is by Faith, Family, and the Farm)

One of my favorite songs right now is “You Love Me Anyway” by a Christian Band called The Sidewalk Prophets.  Read some of the words to this song.  They are beautiful.

“I am the thorn in your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But You love me anyway
See now I am the man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then I turned away with a smile on my face
With this sin in my heart, tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night I still call out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my lifeBut You love me anyway
Oh God, how You love me
Yes, You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life
That I’ve ever known
Yes, You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me.”Isn’t that just amazing?  Almost every day these words run over and over in my mind now that I know this song:  “I am the nail in your wrist, but you love me anyway.  I am Judas’ kiss, but you love me anyway.”  I don’t know why it is, but I can read scripture and hear bible studies and stories over and over, but when someone puts words to music, they stick with me and touch me.  Several times throughout the day, these words remind me that no matter what I could ever possibly do, Jesus will love me anyway.

Oh, how I wish I could make everyone understand and embrace that.  How do you tell these struggling teens whose parents tell them how bad they are, who have other kids tell them how worthless or pathetic they are, who are told repeatedly by a teacher that they are dumb, that there is someone who will love them no matter what, without conditions, without strings, without if’s, and’s or but’s?  I could play them this song 100 times and I know that unless they’re at a certain point in their lives, they will not get how huge it is.  What stories from the bible can I teach them to help them trust and believe this?  How can we get them to understand that it may not seem important today, but it should be the most important thing ever in their lives, over boys, over girls, sports, friends, grades, clothes, appearance, etc.?

And if you read those lyrics and wonder, what does all of this mean?  It is about the Crucifixion and what all ‘we’ did to Jesus, who loves us anyway.  You can read Matthew 26 and 27 to get a decent idea of what is going on.  Make sure you have a translation you understand.  And you may even have to read it twice, as I often have to do, to fully grasp the meaning.  If you don’t have access to bible, but you’re sitting at a computer, go to and type in the scripture above.  Try the New Living Translation or New International Version, they are the ones I understand and like the best.  (I use that website a lot, it is a very useful tool!)

I so wish I had the answers.  But God gives us the choice.  We have free will.  It is part of the whole package.  We must make the choice.  It is there for the taking, free, anytime, anywhere, anyhow.  But the choice has to be made.  Going to church, going to youth group, attending bible studies, taking mission trips, going to church camps and convocations does not mean that Jesus is in your heart.   Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Say the words and mean it.  No matter what you have done, he’ll love you anyway…