Life can be so very hard. Our experiences have the potential to drop us to our knees, hopefully asking for help. Tragedy will sometimes bring the nonbeliever to a moment of belief, if only in the bargaining stage, and then in the anger stage some will blame God (or a higher power of their understanding) forever for what tragedy occurred. thus reinforcing their nonbelieving in a power greater than themselves. I read once, if you are angry at God, then it is proof that you believe in his existance because if you did not believe in him, how could you be angry with him?
I am not a religious person, but I am a very spiritual person. I believe in a higher power, a devine existance that is not punishing, but loving, kind, and wants us to be happy. I have experiences with this power that I pray to, that I look to for guidance, and to whom I answer to. I call this being God. I do not judge others beliefs, faiths, religions, I believe that hope and faith are are crucial to existance as air, organs, water and food. Without hope or faith you may in fact survive physically but spiritually, emotionally the soul needs nurturance too. It will not survive long without it.
A couple of days ago in our small community a beautiful, sweet energetic teenage girl took her own life. Rumors are that it was over a boy. The reasons really do not matter, what matters is she felt hopeless. Her parents, good parents, her family, a good christian based family are, as you can only imagine, broken hearted. Her death is a tragedy to all of us. She had so much to live for, a wonderful future ahead of her, what could she have possibly felt so hopeless about that she wanted to end her life? For those who have never considered suicide, I imagine it is unconceivable. To those of us who have, I will share that she probably did not want her life to be over, she wanted her pain to stop. Whether that pain be from a breakup, from peer pressure, from loss of identity, I do not know, but I do know, it is very sad, very tragic and many of us are left walking around dazed wondering “What could we have done?”
My nephew to whom I love like my own is one of the great joys in my life. He and I share a special bond. he is an intelligent, humorous, charming kid that at the age of 19 is looking for direction in his life. He is a good kid. He doesn’t do drugs, nor does he drink. I can see clearly where his thinking gets him into trouble. If something doesn’t go his way, or go well, he lays down and gives up. I try to talk to him about this, to tell him, this is part of life. You just have to get back up and keep going until you get it right. I understand his frustration, his disappointment, I understand his feeling defeated. I have felt that way much of my life. I want to somehow give to him the gift that maturity gives you, the understanding and coping mechanisms of how to deal with his disappointments, his pain. I can only teach him, to the best of my ability, be an example to him. He has to do for himself, but he feels like when he does, and hits a roadblock, that its the end of the world. We, of course know it is not.
How do we get through to these younger kids that pain, disappointment is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to become your life or certainly become the end of your life? How can we teach them, help them to deal with their emotional pain? How can we reach them? Guide them? Help them? Even as an adult I can get overwhelmed, discouraged to a point where I want to throw in the towel, but I have a support system set up, friends that I call that talk me through those difficult times. I take a nap, start my day over, pray continuously for strength, until it finally passes and I am through that complicated juncture in my life. It is hard for me and I have 30 years experience under my belt of how to deal with emotional pain. How do we teach this to our youth?
I know my mother has been a constant support in my life over the past few years when it seems I’ve been slammed with one difficult challenge after another. Are my challenges any more difficult than anyone elses? Eh, you know what? I try not to compare. If someone is in pain, they are in pain, I offer an ear, a hand, a cup of tea or ten, whatever it takes to help them. Sometimes they just need to talk. I read an article yesterday on rejected people living with HIV, children even. I walked away from this article feeling the same as I did after some very difficult challenges in my life. I was gifted with perspective. The things that weighed heavy on my mind yesterday were no longer there. They were insignificant. I am saddened by the tragedies and heartache of others, but I am uplifted and grateful for the gifts of perspective.
This morning I found myself giddy when I was able to drive my subaru out of the place it was parked after being plowed in. I didn’t have to shovel! It made my day. It didn’t take winning the lottery, new livingroom furniture or any new possessions to make me happy. It is in fact the little things in my life that bring a big smile to my face and bring me joy. Perhaps it is this very thing that our youth are missing. They seem to have everything, computers phones, things that I had to work my butt off to get as an adult. I don’t know, I don’t know what the answer is, I do not claim to. I am certainly not looking for anyone to blame, just asking… How can we stop this from happening again?
But what I do know is….a friend posted on his facebook after being emotionally and physically shaken after learning of this young girls passing “there is nothing I can say, except to offer my prayers, and an ear to anyone who needs to talk, anytime”. -Tim Arsenault To me? That is a pretty big offering. It is human beings at their very best, willing to help one another.
My prayers and thoughts are with all who loved Leah Short. Leah’s family and many friends need our prayers, the students, teachers at BUHS need our prayers, our community needs our prayers. We are all feeling this tragic loss. God speed Leah, Rest in Peace Sweet Child.