Because of the tragic death of Robin Williams, I’ve seen people out there commenting on suicide and depression who, I can tell, have not loved someone who was devastated by them.
But then I came across a post by Ann Voskamp, whose mother battled mental illness, and who attempted suicide herself:
We could tell you what we know.
That — depression is like a room engulfed in flames and you can’t breathe for the sooty smoke smothering you limp — and suicide is deciding there is no way but to jump straight out of the burning building.
That when the unseen scorch on the inside finally sears intolerably hot – you think a desperate lunge from the flames and the land of the living seems the lesser of two unbearables….
You don’t try to kill yourself because death’s appealing — but because life’s agonizing. We don’t want to die. But we can’t stand to be devoured.
Her words to you and me as part of the church:
Don’t only turn up the praise songs but turn to Lamentations and Job and be a place of lament and tenderly unveil the God…who wears the scars of the singe. A God who bares His scars and reaches through the fire to grab us, “Come — Escape into Me.” …
I once heard a pastor tell the whole congregation that he had lived next to the loonie bin and I looked at the floor when everyone laughed and they didn’t know how I loved my mama. I looked to the floor when they laughed, when I wanted them to stand up and reach through the pain of the flames and say:
Our Bible says Jesus said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a doctor, but those who are sick.” Jesus came for the sick, not for the smug.
Jesus came as doctor and He makes miracles happen through medicine and when the church isn’t for the suffering, then the Church isn’t for Christ….
I wanted us to turn to the hurting, to each other, and promise it till we’re hoarse….
“We won’t give you some excuses — but we’ll be some example — and that will mean bending down and washing your wounds. Wounds that we don’t understand, wounds that keep festering, that don’t heal, that down right stink — wounds that can never make us turn away.
Because we are the Body of the Wounded Healer and we are the people who believe the impossible — that wounds can be openings to the beauty in us.”
We’re the people who say: “there’s no shame saying that your heart and head are broken because there’s a Doctor in the house. It’s the wisest and the bravest who cry for help when lost.
There’s no stigma in saying you’re sick because there’s a wounded Healer who uses nails to buy freedom and crosses to resurrect hope and medicine to make miracles" [emphases in the original].
Amen, and God help us.