I recently joined some friends for a 5k walk, the purpose was to raise awareness for suicide. Its taken me a few days to process, honestly I’m still not sure I can effectively communicate how it made me feel but I’ll give it a try because its something that we need to talk about.
I arrived early as I always do for an event but this time it was a different atmosphere, the crowd didn’t seem to be rushing around. Everyone moved with a little slower pace, you could feel the difference. I found my friend Terri and hugged her neck, after all she was the reason I was there. You see she is a survivor, a miracle actually. I’ll provide a link to her blog later in the post, don’t want you clicking it now!
The opening ceremonies were very powerful and moving. They gave some very painful statistics such as an average of 123 suicides a day in the US, that’s over 44,000 a year. For every suicide there are 25 attempts. Let that sink in!
I’m not going to pretend to be an expert but I am an advocate. I’m willing to talk about this horrible epidemic, and other issues for that matter.
Look at the picture below, they are people just like you and I. People that felt so overwhelmed that the only alternative was to take their life. That is heartbreaking.
I’ve written before and have walked for human trafficking, my question is the same. Why aren’t we talking about these issues more? How many people have to be affected before more is done to stop it? The answer for me is simple, make myself available for God to use. I used to say there is nothing special about me, I’m just an ordinary guy. I’ve allowed myself to make a change in my mindset.
We are all special, every single one of us! Each of us are miracles made in the Image of our Creator!! Let that sink in.
By accepting that truth and making myself available for God to use I have seen a sincere change in my heart, towards myself and with more compassion for other people. As I grow in my faith the more I realize that God wants to use people like you and me to change our world for the better.
So we make ourselves available and then we find other people who are willing to do the same thing. What are you passionate about? What issues hit home for you or captivate your attention? What are people around you involved in? We don’t need to look very far to see something that could use our attention.
So we walked, we shared our feelings, some of us cried. We allowed the world to be bigger than just our little comfortable circle. Life outside the comfort zone is… well sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but its necessary to go there from time to time to make changes. Here we can see things from a different perspective. I’ve found that there are times when it is easy and then times when it hurts.. bad!
The good news is that we are not in it alone. If you are a follower of Jesus like myself there is a certain Hope that comes with the intimacy of life lived in Faith. The more I step outside my comfort zone the more I grow in my Faith and in return that certainty of Hope deepens.
I think regardless of who you are or what you believe God uses people in our lives to express His Love towards us. I believe that we all have Grace to share, we all have Love to give, we all have the ability to be empathetic towards one another.
There will be times in life that depression comes. I have personally dealt with it since I saw my mother and sister killed in 1991, I was 13 . I have been BLESSED to have people in my life that Love me and Encourage me through the difficult times. I was also fortunate enough to have someone share the Gospel of Jesus with me, only after that did I see true Hope in life.
So ask yourself the tough questions. Evaluate your relationship with Jesus. Find opportunities to be the Hope that someone needs. Be the Encouragement that will help someone make it through a season of depression. Allow yourself to be used by God to make the changes in the world that so desperately need to happen.
So when is a shoe more than a shoe? The answer is anytime you look past the shoe and see the person wearing it!
To learn more about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention please visit their website.