Sometimes our lives just move along merrily without hills or valleys. It may even seem mundane and we take it for granted that we'll have a tomorrow. Why wouldn't we? Then, SLAP...right in the cheek of life, we find ourselves holding a hand up to our slapped life to check how much we're hurt, or soothe, or protect it from it happening again, so soon. Each minute of our hours, our days are worth something to someone, even if we don't see it. The effect we have on not only our family and immediate friends, but acquaintances, co-workers, our favorite barista, or the clerks at QFC is long reaching like tentacles spread out to the farthest reach, we collect people as our years go by.
I was 'slapped' last weekend. A former student, a wonderful young man in his prime, wanted to take his own life and yes, he completed the task. Little did he know the effect this had on his school, former schools, past teachers, current teachers, friends, buddies, brothers and sisters of friends, parents of friends, neighbors, his community, and of course, the amazing family he left behind.
Unfortunately, we lose loved ones to accidents and illness which while sorrowful, we have some understanding, but rarely do we truly discern the taking of one's own life. A selfish act to be sure. Yes, the darkness can seem like the invisible black hole that sucks in anything within it's radius, never to be seen again, and yet, there can be light. Feeble and wavering, but someone, always there is someone, holding a torch letting a pinpoint of hope, of possibility, of truth out wanting to penetrate the shield.
Is it really the end of life that's desired? Or is it a longing for rest, peace from inner chaos, a sabbatical from the choices we've made, an opportunity for a do-over? Is it a hole in our hearts that just won't heal?
Perhaps I feel more than slapped. Perhaps I needed to be. Am I giving my all to relationships around me? Am I paying enough attention? Do I try to reach out to make someone else's day a bit better? Do I need to pray more attentively for those in my life? Do I need to listen to what's not being said? Perhaps. Maybe I feel this way because this was a young man on the precipice of his future lacking knowledge of available opportunities he could have reached for or knowing how much he mattered.
Everyone matters. Everyone. I can't take for granted that everyone knows this. Perhaps this is the lesson I need to push forward in my life with...to make sure those in my life, near or far, know they matter.