which is all of you… this is a blog I had started working on some time last year when the holidays came around and I had a long talk on the phone with a dear friend who was suicidal and hung up on me and I had to freak out for a couple days before he finally called me back and said he was fine. I started thinking about how there are so many people out there who start this time of year every morning with the thought “I want to die.”
I’ve been that person. Many people who know me may be surprised by this. I am often referred to as bubbly and energetic and happy and usually laughing. Sure I am. In front of you. I have learned to enjoy life and to be able to laugh at nearly anything. I have learned that people like to be around fun people who don’t complain about EVERYthing and aren’t negative and are generally joking and making light of anything and everything.
So yea, it will surprise many of you to hear that I’ve been in such dark places that I’ve found myself sitting on the side of a highway in my car, waiting for a truck coming down the hill, with my hand on the door. Or that I’ve walked into the ocean late in the darkness with no one around, wading as far as i could and still stand, hoping that a wave will catch me and drag me to my fate. Or thinking that I could just swim out as far as I could until I got tired and sink slowly into the dark water.
I’m not saying this stuff for shock value. Well, maybe a little. I’m just saying it was bad. I thought that my life was useless and worthless. I have a long list of reasons that also might shock you but listing them right now will only serve to drag me down like the ocean’s current. And I just don’t have it in me at the moment.
And the holidays were the worst. Every time I heard a song about mistletoe or whatever the hell your true love gave to you, I wanted to pull out a semi automatic weapon. I understand that rage. You may not. You may not have been through what I have. You may not have made the mistakes I’ve made or had the things happen to you that I have.
But I know others who have. And this is for them. I know the sadness when you watch two young kids in love walk down the street holding hands and stopping for a kiss. I know the pain reaching down through your gut when you watch a woman and her children playfully throwing snow at each other. I feel the hurt when you watch the bajillionth jewelry store ad.
You’ve lost a loved one, a child, a spouse. You lost a job, you lost the beautiful life you once knew. You lost your health or wealth. You have nothing to live for.
Or so it seems. Whatever it is that engulfs you, it robs your joy and cheer. You have no reason to get out of bed and when you dress in the morning, your clothes might as well be a straight jacket for the way your life feels like binding torture.
But let me tell you this. This story. Of a God Who had Everything and ruled it all with a snap of His fingers or a wink of His eye. Of how He gave that all up. How His heart rejoiced and then broke to part with His Son, His only Son, who entered this cruel and tragic world. To join you in your pain and sorrows. This is a God Who chose to be alive – to be hungry, homeless, wounded, sorrowful, mournful, and broken. To grieve over losing friends and loved ones. To let His heart break for those who simply did not understand Him.
He did this for you and for me. It is a miracle for certain. If I can only believe in that, it will get me through the season. I don’t ever want to lose that belief – a God Who came after me and joined me in my sorrow… just to bring me joy in its place.
That’s the only gift I can give you, dear friends. I believe. Help me in my unbelief.
This one is for the hurting. Those who have lost children or parents. Those who feel unloved and unworthy of love. And those who ache all over and just can’t shake it. Hold on, dear one. Help is coming. I love you.