It took me over a week to write this. Unusual for me. The words usually fly straight from my heart. I cried a bit more than usual last week. More than usual this time of year when the sun is shining and weather uplifting. It was a sad week. A week with the reality of losses – others, and my own. Maybe its sadness from feeling helpless in the face of so many current personal challenges.
Yet they pale in comparison to others.
Maybe it is the world challenges that break my heart and leave me with graphic images of suffering. Evil killing babies.
Maybe it was having the family home this last weekend and yet feeling the gaps of those who have moved on in the last two years. Levi choosing a dangerous career path to protect us from the evil of those who kill babies.
Maybe it’s my loneliness. New place, new church, no established friendships. Struggling to build and rebuild my life – my ministry.
I’m not so young anymore. I’m tired.
Maybe it’s not seeing that much of Dave always working overtime to provide. He worked from home for four years as our lives unfolded into what we believed was our future. Our dream home. Our dream farm.
Then poof – gone. A vapor. Like all of life.
Maybe it was visiting my son’s graveside for the first time that I can remember with one of my children. She wanted to see the new tombstone. I watched her run her hands over the writing and gently brush away any debris.
Maybe it was because it was the end of a nice day at Shelburne museum walking around with Sam, I was acutely aware that the last time I was there I had three children with me, and though I knew I was at the tale end of a long career of homeschooling, I still had young, dependent children with me.
Empty nest. The flock has dwindled.
Working in grief and loss is taxing, and yet I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Working with people who are dealing with death, suicide, traumatic loss, eating disorders, grief upon grief is hard.
But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Not working with them is even more difficult.
It robs me of my purpose, my calling.
I wonder if that is what happened to Robin Williams.
He spent his life making others laugh – it was obviously how he coped with his own mental illness – by bringing joy to others out of his own darkness. He was getting older, more physically challenged. He was on his third wife. His weekly comedy show had been cancelled after one season. He was no longer on the rise to fame, but trying to maintain the life that brought him purpose. He must have felt terrible alone when he took that last desperate measure to find peace.
An entire generation benefited by his darkness. An entire country – who never really knew what he went through to make us laugh.
News reports over 200,000 Christians have been forced to flee their homes in Iraq. Children – CHILDREN – have been brutally murdered.
They have lost everything for the God they believe in. For a Carpenter from Nazareth. They have lost everything for Jesus.
They have witnessed children crucified, beheaded, shot, and hacked in half. The women and young girls have been raped and taken for slaves. Numbers from June were roughly 2,000 dead and 300 taken for slaves.
Churches that are thousands of years old have been razed.
Iraqi’s are living through the unimaginable.
They must feel very close to that Carpenter to endure such hardship.
And very far away.
So what does my baby, Robin Williams and thousands of Christians have in common?
A fallen world. Suffering. Trauma.
They are now traumatized. The suicide rate increases when people suffer or witness trauma. Depression increases. It is about more than faith – it is also about brain chemistry. They need prayer for ongoing miracles and healing strength to keep them. They need hope – the hope that only God can give. Suicide can take on various forms and never be labeled as such. Reckless behavior often takes over with the need to do something. To make a difference, to right the wrong. Adrenalin is needed for bravery – God made us that way.
We need to react to horrors to stay alive. We also need to get through the horrors to stay alive. We need to gain emotional strength and resiliency in the face of lost dreams, futures, children, images, sounds, smells, voices.
Even Christians need hope for the future. Even Christians need help. They can get weary too.
I want to help them. I want to look into their eyes and go into that pain with them. To help them find a way out. At least help them to see a glimmering light again in the distance. It’s what I do when I can fulfill my purpose. It’s what we all need to do.