I did not want to write this, but it needed to be said. This is hard for me. Please give me grace.
An Honest and Vulnerable Prayer
God, please, if You are, at all, merciful like they say You are, like I know You to be, please kill me. Please. I will never ask for anything ever again. Just…please? I can not do this anymore. I just wanna be with You. Is suicide so bad if it means I get to be with You?
This I prayed in hushed whispers between crying and screaming sessions with my tear-stained pillow, off and on for two and a half hours, early Monday morning before the sun made its debut. God did not respond, at least, not like I thought He should, so I sat in silence for a few minutes before continuing.
They say You have a plan, a purpose for every creation You breathe life into. What about me? I can’t find any direction. I’m not needed. I’m just a burden to my family and friends, just a parasite taking up space and resources. Are the PTSD and depression enjoyable to You? Why won’t You just be kind and kill me?
Like Job’s friends should have done for the duration of his suffering, God sat with me in utter silence as I wept and wiped tears on my pillow. Under normal circumstances, having someone sit beside me in silence and understanding, if not empathy, would be comforting, even welcoming. But for God to do it? Somehow, it seemed wrong and cruel, especially since I was, in an albeit roundabout, twisted, and wrong way, searching for peace and an end to my pain.
A Conversation Starter
Despite fleeting moments of happiness and distractions, I’ve been dealing with heavy bouts of suicidal thoughts all week. Don’t worry, I’m not actively suicidal. I’m not gonna kill myself at the end of this. Having an honest conversation about suicide is not easy. It is scary and uncomfortable for both parties, but oftentimes, it is necessary for lives to be changed and saved. More than once, my pastor-friend Michael Patton had to talk me down off the ledge. I truly believe that was God-ordained. He’s got his own family history with suicide, so he’s one of the few people I could trust with this.
The first time Michael had to talk me down, I told him, in no uncertain terms and after reading his post, “Suicidal Thoughts on Suicide,” exactly what I was thinking. I considered the outcome of such a drastic move.
Having an honest conversation about suicide is not easy. It is scary and uncomfortable for both parties, but oftentimes, it is necessary for lives to be changed and saved.
Being Honest about Suicidal Ideation
I told Michael that I didn’t want him or my family and friends to feel pain from my decision. He replied, in his typical fashion, “Well, of course, we would. Sheesh.” I continued to ruminate over possibilities. I gave him examples of what I thought people would say in regards to my death: “Trauma got her.” “She was such a talented writer…so much potential. It’s a shame she wasted it.” Or my biggest fear: “Maybe she wasn’t a Christian after all.” He disagreed with me about the last one, as I knew he would. What he said next, left me silenced for several minutes.
He said to me, “I don’t know how most of us don’t do it. There are just five things holding us back:
- We know it is wrong and we don’t want to go against Him.
- Fear of death. No matter how strong we are in the faith, God has built in a healthy fear of death. It will always be there when we think about killing ourselves.
- Not wanting to let others down or hurt them.
- The slight hope that our sadness will end and we will still find purpose and relevance down the road.
- The love of life [love of writing he added later for me]. We are built to love life. It is ingrained in us. And when we think straight, we remember our basis of human instincts and experience (breathing, eating, sex, aesthetics, social interaction, laughter, etc.), no matter how short-lived, bring us pleasure.”
I smirked and told him that 4 and 5 didn’t apply to me because “hope is hard”. He responded in the typical-Michael Patton way: “Well, that’s three of five. It’s settled. You’re not doing it… Man, I should train people for the suicide prevention hotline!”
I could do nothing but laugh and shake my head at him. He had me.
During another conversation that same week, Michael said: “I am so sorry… God will give you the ticket when the time comes [that was a C.S. Lewis reference].” After telling him that I was, essentially, a basket case of stress and anxiety, he went on to say, “I’m sorry. I really don’t know what God’s plans are for you, so I don’t know if it will get better even though I think it will.”
I wholeheartedly appreciated the fact that Michael admitted he did not know if it was going to get better. Many Christians do not do that. Maybe because they are afraid to be weak or wrong in front of other people, I don’t know, but I appreciate Michael “not holding his hair back when he threw up” by showing me that he does not know everything, nor does he have all the answers to every question I throw at him.
It is refreshing, but even more so, it gave me a better understanding of the nature of God. Specifically, that He is infinite, while I can, unfortunately, control nothing, not even my own death.
An Interesting Realization
So, by the end of these conversations, I realized one important thing: God did actually respond to my suffering, just not in the way I thought He would. I was expecting an overwhelming sense of peace or an audible voice booming down to me from above, but none of that happened. Instead, God chose to respond to my death wish by using an existing friendship to open my eyes a little wider to get me to see that maybe I’m not alone. Maybe I’m not a failure, maybe I have something to offer to somebody, and maybe, just maybe, He does love me.
Sometimes, or most often than not I think, God heals and speaks to us not by grand gestures in the sky, or with a loud voice, but in the quiet moments, and by the people we already know, love, and trust. He places His wisdom and care in the hearts of men who share His love to those who need it most. By God grace, it should be easier to handle as I continue to be have open, honest conversations with the godly people around me who love me and are praying for me.
It has been a hard week, and the prayer at the beginning of this post still crossed my mind and made its way past my lips at random intervals, but not as fervent as before. I’m starting to find hope.