Tag Archives: sadness

Night Falls Fast…So Bring a Torch

It has long been assumed that the biblical view of suicide is that it is both condemnable and unforgivable. For some, looking to christians for comfort during a period of suicidal thoughts, or in the wake of a loved one’s suicide served to add to their pain, rather than to help alleviate it. They received judgement, rather than compassion.

I am not going to speak here of my own personal ethic of suicide, because regardless of the viewpoint we may take, both those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and those who can no longer bear the weight of those thoughts.

Suicide is a tragedy. This seems to me to be evident in the narrative of Saul and his eventual suicide in the Bible. Commentator O’Mathuna writes:

“Rather than viewing Saul’s suicide as an isolated incident with no moral comment, this scene is the tragic conclusion to a literary masterpiece soaked in moral comment. Tragedy implies that what “is” is not what “ought” to be.” (1)

I do not believe that to be at that point of utter desolation can be what “ought to be”. It is, as O’Mathuna notes, a tragedy. It was a tragic conclusion to Saul’s story. It is tragic when a life ends by suicide.

Tragic for the lost potential of that life.

Tragic for the friends and family left behind, trying to pick up the pieces.

As Charlotte Bronte so beautifully put it;

 “God surely did not create us, and cause us to live, with the sole end of wishing always to die.”

As a christian who believes in the supreme love of God, expressed through the life, death and resurrection of His Son – I must share the view of Bronte.

I believe with all my heart that the most valuable thing we can do for someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts (or in the aftermath of an attempt) is to walk alongside them.

To hold their hand if they need it.

To show them that in the depths of their darkness, you are willing to step into that darkness with them – and hold up a torch.

(1)O’Mathuna, D. “But the Bible doesn’t say they were wrong to commit suicide, does it?” Suicide: A Christian Response, Kregel: Michigan, 1998, p359.

For practical advice to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts see here.

Springtime Blues?

I’ve heard of winter blues, but it occurred to me today that spring makes me sad. It has made me sad for quite a long time. When the scent of the air is thick and sweet, smelling of blossom and freshly cut grass stirs in me so many memories that hit me in the solar plexus. I wrote about it this time last year and I thought I would share that writing here, in case any others feel the same.

“Today is a sunny, bright day.

The smell of freshly cut grass reminds me of those Bank Holidays and Saturdays when Mum and Dad would be outside gardening, or clearing the garage out and I would be inside, by choice, hiding from the sun to sit at my computer and write stories full of death and destruction and loneliness.

Later I would sit in the same seat working myself into the ground; colour-coding notes, reading textbooks and studying diagrams. The sun reminds me of the days when Mum would be reading the paper in the garden and Dad falling asleep in front of the telly.

Of days in Mr. Besant’s garden with Jessie, building dens, lying on our stomachs in the grass chatting and reading for hours on end. Going to the park, playing on swings, having picnics.

Wandering to the ice cream van to get sweets with Jessie to enable us to survive two hours of music theory.

Having lunch in the forest with Michelle and Freyja, before returning to school for afternoon lessons.

Walking in the sunshine to the sandwich shop near Avon House, getting a sandwich and a diet coke each for Liz and I. Sitting in the pub with Nancy, glass of wine in hand, putting work and the world to rights.

The sun reminds me of sunny afternoons, getting the bus to see my psychologist after work, scars irritated by the heat and feeling faint. Of listening to Marya Hornbacher on my iPod. Sitting in Andrew’s office. Crying. Catatonic.

LST. Sun shining. Balmy evenings at the Gate. Short bright skirts and picnics on the grass. Watching the boys play football whilst lazily flicking through revision notes.”

The sights and smells of spring awaken in so many memories. Some are lovely and precious, others are unimaginably painful. I don’t think I am alone in this. That the sun can hold as many bad memories, as good ones. The Spring, the start of the sunshine awakens these memories from the cold chill of winter.

And yet. There is hope. Hope because memory means survival. Hope because there is opportunity for more memories, better memories.

I end with a poem, written around this feeling of the darkest of times remembered in the light of summer sunshine.

There is something about the sun

That shines in my memories

My darkest days, I remember in light

Of hiding from the happiness

That came with the sun

Behind closed doors

And curtained windows

I delved into my depths

Searching my darkness

For the light

There is something about the sun

That casts its harsh glow

But makes everything seem ‘right’

So easy to hide from reality

Blinded by the sun

Searching the dark

For the truth

Of what’s within

Wanting the depths

Of the darks’ comfort.

There is something about the sun,

That rises and sets

The beauty of normality, ritual.

It pierces the pains

A glimmer of hope

A new dawn,

A new start

Emerging from the dark

We had hoped.

We had hoped.

They are some of the saddest words. They are words that speak of hopelessness, broken dreams and unspeakable agony. It saddens me that I can think of countless times I have heard these words.

We had hoped that he would get the job.

We had hoped that the chemotherapy would work.

We had hoped we would reach her in time.

We had hoped that things would get better.

We had hoped he would come home.

‘We had hoped He was the one to redeem Israel.’ Words found in Luke’s gospel after the crucifixion of the one we call Christ. They had hoped He was who they had been waiting for.

The words ‘We had hoped’ hold a great deal of pain and regret. They imply that hope has died.

And yet, for those travellers on the Emmaus – hope had not died. Because as although the death of Jesus seemed to be the dashing of their dreams and the destruction of their hope – His resurrection brought about a new hope. The hope and promise that Death would never again have the last word.

As the football world still reels after the news of Gary Speed’s suicide – hope can be found. Hope can be found in the darkest nights of the soul, the Holy Saturdays that seem never-ending. The family, friends and fans of Gary Speed can still have hope.

Because after the crucifixion of Christ – came the resurrection of Christ and a new life of hope.

We can hope for rescue.

We can hope for freedom.

We can hope for healing.

We can hope.