written for our friends
I try to get around this uninvited, unplanned for, unwanted guest. Press the fast forward button, hurtle over the discomfort quickly, pain pain go away. But I can’t. It’s unavoidable, around every corner, the low A of my piano, the scent that lingers around the door to his room.
Up ahead, a flashing road sign. DETOUR, DETOUR, DETOUR. I want to get off this road, find another way on the map. I’ve looked. There’s no alternate route, no way around, no escaping the deepest pain I’ve ever felt.
Before this, I was good at steering clear of discomfort, tiptoeing away from situations that would bring me down. Skirt the issue, stay out of the way. Protected.
This. Is. Unavoidable. Never experienced this kind of suffering–there’s no way back to how it used to be. I feel it in my gut when I wake up, try to convince myself this is all a bad dream. Oh, God, it’s not. It’s real. He’s gone. I don’t think I’ll heal this time.
Satan thought my child was untouchable. Tormenting words, hurling lies, all day, every night. That disgusting evil darkness of a voice isn’t easily drowned out–deception that sounds like truth midst confusion. A forgery.
And I mean BUT. God showed up like a lion just in time. King of Kings roared into the darkness. No longer the prey, but the lamb who’d gone astray. The 1 He left the 99 for. Snatched him from the jaws of death, from the hands of the tormentor who would not have final rites. Now I know what it means, this kind of love, reckless and willing to do whatever it takes, messy or not. Evil did not win. God assured me that evil did not win and my son is with Him, waiting for us. Whole. Finally whole.
Still, it hurts when you’re the one left behind. Left to make sense of a story that won’t ever make sense. Left to sobs and pain and grief that shows no sign of leaving. I wish pain would take the detour this time.
But something good happened in that same moment.
Our unavoidable grief met His Unavoidable Love. And Unavoidable Mercy. And now, Unavoidable Grace rests on our weary hearts like a fleece blanket on a cold night; unobtrusive, holding each of our tears. He’s willing to tear down walls to get to us during our pain. Because He’s a lion, He’s mighty, He does what no one else can.
We will get through this. Eventually. I don’t know when, but one day. Not alone, but with the help of God, with the prayer of others. One day at a time, inching our way to unrecognized strengths and greater wisdom for the rest of our journey.
For now, we grieve. And for now, He grieves with us.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, there are 132 suicides a day. In 2018 alone, there were 1.4 million suicide attempts with 48,344 American deaths by suicide. Globally 800,000 people die every year by suicide.
We must be aware, willing. We must love harder, listen more intently. If you need help, seek help. You are never alone.
What can you do now? Pray. For our friends affected by this tragedy and the many others who are left to heal after a suicide. The Lord is near to the broken hearted.
Do you or someone you know need help?
Romans 8: 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
Matthew 18:12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-ninethat never went astray.