grave in Winter 2014

A few weeks ago I sat at his grave, covered with fresh fallen snow. Winter is really long, and cold, this year. I enjoy the snow. It is the bitter cold I don’t like. Could I get the one without the other?  Some Winters are like that though. Some winters of life are right inline with this too? Don’t we want the beauty without the bitterness? I know I do!

As I squat down, I think back a couple years to the first Winter. It was actually a fairly short and mild one. I remembering being very grateful. Sometimes I would say to God, “Even if these mild winter days aren’t just for me, thank you.” That thought now makes me chuckle. Back then, it was a welcome comfort. At least it did not take as much effort to clothe more, dig out or trudge through it all.

Oh, the winters of life. They are so very long sometimes. So bitter, so cold, so dark and seemingly, so unloving and uncaring. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. I can become so impatient waiting for the cold to go away, for Spring to come. I don’t like being down and out, not feeling I can give 100% or seeing fruits of my labor. Actually, I hate it. I want to see Sunshine. I want to see God glorified.

 When it came to a completed suicide, I was a foreigner in the land.

I have learned some about depression, mental illness and suicide over the past couple of years. Although I had my own personal experiences with depression and suicidal thoughts years ago, when it came to a completed suicide, I was a foreigner in the land. In my naivety I didn’t know the “unspoken rules”. The rule that no one should know the truth. The rule that say it shouldn’t be talked about. The rule that impresses on others to avoid you because they don’t know what to say. The rule that allows seemingly unthoughtful, ignorant people to speak cruel, hard, unjustified and non-biblical words. However, sometimes naivety can be a good thing. It is good to talk about it, to dispel the myths, to push the stigma back. It is good to educate others, so lives can be saved.

Since his death, I have had the privileges to experience some great opportunities. I have seen God working around and through others, and me. I have enjoyed good blessings. I am extremely grateful for those moments. How is this possible during a season of personal winter? I believe it is because I lift my head and open my eyes, even if it is just a squint, to see the good around me -the beauty. I believe it is because I have asked, no pleaded, to not leave me in a season of winter too long. I believe it is because He hears, has seen my heart’s true desires and has answered in His amazing grace and mercy to bless me with little nuggets of sunshine.

 A Quick Story

A couple of weeks ago I came across some really good advice for Facebook users on recognizing someone who may be depressed and suicidal from their Facebook posts. Late a few nights ago, I was contacted by someone close to me regarding a post. I got out of bed and quickly woke up. He was right on, clearly she was suicidal. We both worked to get her to respond. Her friends were also making comments, to which she only responded once and it wasn’t positive. I got on the phone with the Crisis Hotline. As the minutes seemed to fly by quickly and our work seemed to creep along, I kept reaching out to her, still no response. Finally, I knew I had done everything possible on my end. I continued to pray she was reached in time. I had to leave it in God’s hands and go to bed. I prayed the LOSS (Local Outreach for Suicide Survivors) team wouldn’t be needed.

The next morning I had not received a call. When I got on Facebook it all looked the same, aside from a few more comments from her friends. (Which by the way, we all need to take the threats seriously. I know my blood pressure rose over a few of the comments. I know it was in their ignorance. A place I could have been at their age.) I received no new news that whole day, good or bad. I kept praying for her. Then, a couple days ago I received a message from one of her friends that she was in a rehabilitation facility getting help. Praise God!

I realize the person who contacted me may not have read the link on Facebook. He may have picked up on some other education. I realize there that another friend may have been very involved and helpful too. When it is all said and done does it really matter? No, because the objective was met. We did the right things and a life was saved! I am very proud of him.

I believe spring has sprung for this gal too!

  On this first day of Spring it is only fitting that we celebrate. And I believe spring has sprung for this gal too! It has been a long winter season. A season full of cold, and at times bitterness. A season I was ready to be done with many, many months ago. And while God chose to shine down despite me being me, there were times I would still find myself stuck in a season of grief. I know there have been multiple times I have seen glimpses of goodness sprouting out of the barren soil. Previously, I even had helped another friend who was suicidal. But for some reason my brain and heart were not meeting like they did this week. For some reason it seemed to finally come together for me. As someone last night said, “All in God’s time.”

So, join me in celebrating Spring. Come out for a moment and enjoy the beauty, even if it is only a squint for you. Your time will come too if you keep looking to Him who can help pull you up and out.

Spring is coming