Suicide Awareness Month

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

September is suicide prevention month. Did you know that?

In hopes of raising awareness of this staggering problem that affects so many, I’m re-posting this from 2014 .

This morning I listened to a CD I haven’t listened to for some time … James Taylor’s Greatest Hits. The songs brought back t-o-o-o-ns of memories. Some good. Some not so good.

Hearing “Fire and Rain” again took me back to the Valentine’s Day after my 19th birthday, when I attended the funeral of a friend while another friend played Taylor’s song on his guitar. I still remember the navy blue dress I wore.

What do you say to the parents of a teen who drove too fast, too drunk, on black ice that was too slick?

Thinking of Vaughn’s funeral reminded me of the beginning of my senior year in high school when a friend told me Karen died in a car accident on the way home from the Homecoming dance. Her boyfriend drove too fast, too drunk, and left Karen decapitated after she flew through the car’s windshield.

My mind wandered further and stopped for a moment on Bruce.

On the way to English the week before high school graduation, I learned my friend drowned in the Potomac River while skipping school. I’d skipped during Senior Week and gone to Great Falls, too. But not with Bruce.

Before leaving these very sad memories, I thought of Greg. Greg called a couple weeks after his 30th birthday to chat. During the conversation he told me something I considered strange. He wanted me to write a story he thought of. At the offer of the story, my Spidey-sense went off and the hair on my arm prickled.

To this day, that story remains in my mind alone, but I should have paid closer attention to what Greg was really saying when he told it to me. He was giving away something that belonged to him. That’s what folks contemplating suicide do, you know.

Still, I didn’t ask the questions I should have asked. I didn’t take the conversation in the direction I should have taken it. Maybe if I had, Greg’s wife wouldn’t have become a young widow two days later when Greg placed a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

And that, my friends, is the reason for this post.

SAVE Suicide Awareness Violence Education says:

  • Suicide takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year.
  • Over half of all suicides occur in adult men, ages 25-65.
  • Over half of all suicides are completed with a firearm.
  • For young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the second leading cause of death.
  • Suicide rates among the elderly are highest for those who are divorced or widowed.
  • 1 in 65,000 children ages 10 to 14 die by suicide each year.

Among the information The Center for Disease Control has on their website regarding the signs, risk, and prevention measures for suicide, they state suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. (homicide is 16th).

While Jesus is a friend to all of us, and is available all hours everyday to listen and to help, sometimes it’s up to those of us wandering this earth to let people know they’ve got a friend in us, as well. Someone with skin on them. For those of us needing a friend, we need to speak up, reach out, grab hold of those friends.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or visit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Awareness is the beginning. We can all be a part of throwing out a lifeline and help prevent suicide.

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Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it. Proverbs 3:27 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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It’s Hard to be Honest Sometimes

bing imagesOkay, deviating from my usual, here, but feel compelled to do so.

Ever heard it said, “The church is full of hypocrites.”? I have. Many a time. And you know what, many a time I’ve seen it to be true.

But I’ve also seen it to be false more times than not.

Here are some instances I’ve personally experienced in church that caused me to shake my head and wonder.

  • The father of one of my best friends was a physically abusive alcoholic.
  • The father of another friend died of AIDS some years after his divorce.
  • The husband of a friend sexually abused their toddler.
  • One friend spent time in prison for drug abuse.
  • One friend terminated her teenage pregnancy.
  • One acquaintance often showed up with unexplainable bruises and broken bones…that wall she kept running into was her husband
  • One friend had the Bible he received at his baptism stolen from the church pew…once he left his parents’ home, he vowed never to step inside a church again.
  • One friend’s parents divorced after it was discovered her minister-father was addicted to pornography.

There’s more, but that’s more than enough.

old churchSome of the people in the above examples were honest with themselves, God, and those around them. They turned their brokenness into healing through the power of Christ’s love. They made it their mission to educate and serve others from what they experienced and learned of God’s grace.

As I’ve said before, and I’ll say along with the Apostle Paul…I am chief among sinners, saved by the wonderful love, mercy, and grace of God through the forgiveness of my sins, by the power of Jesus’ shed blood on the cross of Calvary.

Yes, there is hypocrisy in the church. Always has been. Always will be. Just look at the Pharisees in the time of Christ to see a perfect example. But that shouldn’t keep us from being involved with a local body of believers who are just as flawed as we are. It should compel us to use our brokenness to bring Light to a world of darkness.

worship service2The difference, I believe, is in letting God take our brokenness and using it to help heal others. That takes honesty, and that, my friend, is a very difficult thing to do.

Leave your comments below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You are like tombs that are painted white. Outside, those tombs look fine, but inside, they are full of the bones of dead people and all kinds of unclean things. It is the same with you. People look at you and think you are good, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and evil. Matthew 23:27-28 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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