Teetering on the Edge of Life

How does one tie a rope around his head, and escape from the world of living, by jumping from a chair?

I can’t wrap my mind around this.  Literally.

Whenever I hear of someone who decides to end his life in this matter, I envision myself in his place.

Standing on a chair, securing the rope…

Heaving, as a shaky chair underneath holds trembling legs that go back and forth in fear, a little farther each time, before jumping from a short ledge to its drop from life.

How does one like Robin Williams (and the many other unrecognizable ones) get to this place of desperation?

This is not an easy way out of life.

And, may I suggest, there is not an easy answer to all-encompass every individual.

Oh, we who are not on the chair can offer unsolicited advice on the problems and explanations of said individuals who are obviously without hope.

But, may I suggest our opinions, without our compassion, only create a tighter noose?

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I went back and forth whether to write from the depths of my heart.  In the end, I thought, what do I have to lose?

My paper-doll image being crumbled?

Actually, what do I have to gain?

Maybe access into a life out there who is desperate.  And alone.

Let’s face it, majority of us are not ever going to be in the place of standing on a chair, teetering on the edge, leaning toward death.

Even so, what if we teeter on the edge and lean in toward transparency?

I’d say this lack of vulnerability has created a chokehold of its own on our freedom to be real when real life is crumbling apart.

Tied up in knots on how I should be, I clean off the debris so my attire is no longer disheveled.

 

Well, enough already.

Choking back tears creates a chokehold around our hearts.

Truth is, I have desired on occasion for the end to come.  While I have not stood on a chair, I have felt the grip of despair pull me in.

Surround me with suggestions of suicide.

And, in my momentary weakness, I have felt alone.  And entirely too close to the edge of desiring death.

Maybe this is where we get to the end of our rope.  When desperation takes hold in a difficult season, and we feel we have nowhere else to turn.

In the moment when we cannot see clearly it is just a momentary trial.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

We need to wrap our minds around Christ.  Literally.

And lean in closer and closer.

Until we free-fall into His embrace.

It is not an easy answer.  But, may I suggest, HE is the HOPE we need to take hold of when we are at the end of our rope.

The Urge to Purge

When I run, at the end, when I am worn out and want to take yet another walk break, I envision a finish line up ahead. and me striving toward it as the crowd on either side chants in unison for my triumphal entry with uninhibited exhilaration.

Every foot step propels me by their jubilation, until I arrive with arms raised and knees bent just steps over the line at the effort expended…

If that were only the truth.

So far, every race I participate, the end is a collaboration of mishaps.

As the miles decrease, my worries increase.  

My mind chants, “I think I can,” as my body cramps in contradiction.  And I begin to slow down.  And my legs move about as one stuck in the mud.

As I round the corner of the final lap, not at the head of the pack, but more like the middle of the road with other sweat-profused individuals, I begin to develop a large lump in my throat , that quickly transitions into a desperate need to throw up right then and there.

So, with the goal within sight, I come to a complete stop to let the internal contents cool down and the desire to dissipate.

Apparently, adrenaline, combined with the challenge, is the perfect combination to propel my stomach, and not my feet.

I am tired of holding back.

What if I continue and see what comes about?

So what if I puke.  Is that really the end of the world?  I mean, really, if you smelled me at this point, my contents might be a sweet aroma to camouflage the sweat.  (Yes, gross!)

I find I stop short quite often out of a lump of fear.

Fear holds back the impulse to propel forward.

And, impulse is replaced with indecision and doubt and wonder.

I have a lot to say.  But, I stop short because I wonder…

Maybe my words will offend someone.

What if I don’t throw in a bible verse at the end of a post, will people will think I am no longer a christian writer?

I worry if I tell you my true heart condition on a continuous basis, you may wonder if I have went off the deep end, and am in dire need an intervention. Or an exorcism.

Does anyone want to really read these thoughts of mine anyway–maybe I should just keep them to myself.

What in the world?

So, I’ve made a decision.

I will not let fear reign when I feel the urge to purge.

Right now my impulsive “gut instinct” wants to send the letter I composed days ago to the hiring team who dismissed my application for employment–without even an interview.

Since they have not found a qualified candidate, after all these months, maybe I will.  Maybe I will not hold back with niceties, and speak the passionate, raw truth about why I believe I could be a true contender.

Maybe.

 

Do You Truly Understand the Impact of Your Calling?

Do you truly understand the impact of your calling?

By day he was a janitor.

His pedigree did not accompany letters like PHD, or Dr. No. This hardworking, humble man, walked the halls of a middle school and cleaned up behind the debris left by hundreds of adolescents in a single day. When I was little, it was such a privilege to accompany him after hours, and watch him take care of details most don’t realize need to be done.

He and his wife lived modestly. So much so, it was not uncommon for them to enter a restaurant and re-use old tea bags and just ask the waiter for hot water.

His wardrobe was equally as eccentric. Belt AND suspenders held up a pair of paints which seams had seen better days, and a grayish-white-short-sleeve-button-up topped the ensemble.  The upper pocket of this shirt held a worn-out pocket protector which held only one piece of literature:

A pamphlet with the words, ‘Perhaps Today’.

He was quite a site.

On paper, his life was not marked by worldly possessions, but, I would suggest it far-surpassed most.

This man, who happened to be my grandfather, was my first witness of Jesus in words, and by action. A former missionary to Venezuela, he went on to pastor a very small congregation in the Midwest, without pay. He invested countless hours into the lives of only a handful of people for many years.

Yet, the fruit of his labor was far-reaching—much farther than I ever knew.

On the other side of the world, a walking postman lived in Ghana, West Africa. One day while working his route, he noticed a piece of paper on the ground. He reached down and picked it up and put it in his pocket. Later, he read the words, simply titled, ‘The Good News’. This homemade Bible tract was hand-produced by my grandfather, from the other side of the world.

How it reached the ground of this man’s path—only God knows.

But, the result was far-reaching. This man, whose whole family ended up converting to Christianity, went on to become a pastor himself. He planted home churches and shared the Good News of Jesus throughout his lifetime.

Though they never physically met, and related solely by hand-written letters, they worked alongside each other for both their lifetimes.

As a result, the trajectory of many lives changed because of their dedication. How many–only God knows.

Sometimes we don’t see the fruit of our labor, or, how far-reaching our actions can be…

May I encourage you today?  

Your actions are far-reaching–much more than you may ever know.

Shut Up Already!

“eh oh whey oh, ehhh oh whey ohhh…”

How is it a song you can’t stand will stay in your mind, playing its rhythm over and over again, until you venture on the verge of insanity?

For that matter, why does that never seem to happen with tunes that are actually music to the ears?

Ever an investigator, I research Google, and discover that this phenomenon is quite common.

And, the remedies to end its incessancy are endless.  The top answers are as follows:

Distract yourself

Concentrate your thoughts on something else

TELL IT TO SHUT UP ALREADY! (Just don’t do this one in public as it can cause quite a scene)

But, my favorite one is almost too simple…

Simply play another song over it.  

Okay.  Sounds simple enough.

Find a song and play it over the tortuous tune until my mind sings along to another song.

Hmmm.  It seems to work.

Okay, what if I applied this simple solution to the same negative musings that run incessantly in my mind?  Like the ones that play over and over again attempting to pull me down with endless chants of negativity?

I would give you an example, but I am certain you have your own playlist pounding in your head.

What if the solution is as simple as that?

Okay.  Sounds simple enough.

May I suggest a love song?  I mean, really, who doesn’t like to be serenaded every now and then?

My favorite line is from a famous king named Solomon from way, way back —

You are beautiful, my darling,
beautiful beyond words.

You are beautiful, my darling,
beautiful beyond words.

You are beautiful, my darling,
beautiful beyond words.

You know what?  I am feeling rather beautiful today 🙂

Ps. In case you couldn’t guess the tune at the top of this post–it is also from way back–like in the 80’s you know…

‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ 

 

No One Knows What Goes on Behind Closed Doors

“No one knows what goes on behind closed doors…”

If these words do not form a tune in your mind right about now, let me just say it is a line from a cheesy country song from way back when.

Still, we don’t know what exactly goes on in the privacy of another’s life, do we?

I didn’t want to be in this particular place today.  The last few days have been more than difficult, and I have used all of my reserved smiles for the rest of the year.  But, commitment won out in the end and I sat composed and quiet in fear my tears would make their way to the surface of my eyes.

So, much to my surprise, I watched the tears fall like buckets from the lady who sat near me.  Shocked because I saw her life as “all together” next to my world which seemed to be crumbling away around the edges.

I could tell as she wiped them away, like a car wiper in a rainstorm, that this was not on her agenda.

She wanted them to remain under lock and key–tucked safely in her hurt heart.    

It made me wonder at her loss of composure–what if I looked at others with a different mindset?

What if I viewed individuals without the assumption their lives are in tact and their acts “all together”, but instead saw them as quite possibly as messed up as me?

I may be more gracious as a result.

More forgiving.

More loving.

Because, truth be told, most of us have a whole lot going on behind closed doors that we struggle with sharing out in the open in fear someone may shut the door in our faces if they only knew the depth of our struggles.

Just a thought.

By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ.

(Galations 6:2 NCV)

This is Depression

Stagnant.  

This word unceasingly ruminates in my mind since yesterday.

Am I becoming stagnant? 

Sadness permeates into unchartered waters and dissipates my passion.  Will passion make her presence in me again?

The crest of excitement’s waves have slowly stilled.

I feel as one who sits in a lukewarm bath entirely too long.

Damp.

I struggle to remedy this stagnancy I feel I’ve created myself.

Just do something already.

Nothing tastes good to the palette of my ambition.

Is it the stagnancy causing my sadness, or is it the other way around?

 

The bathroom sink was conveniently clogged last night, causing me to focus my attention on her instead of attending Bible study.

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I am not a plumber, but the liquid, who calls herself Liquid Plumber, came to the rescue.

I pour the green concoction into the stagnant water with hopes it will unclog whatever ills block its plumbing.

Nothing happens.

Instead, the still water continues to slowly rise–dangerously close to overflow.

I empty it by the cup load to the perfectly-fine sink sitting beside her.

When the miraculous happens.  I leave the bathroom for just a minute and return to a completely drained sink.

Apparently, whatever sludge blocked its access moved on, and water was now able to freely flow yet again.

Oh, how I long to become unclogged from this stagnancy.

It is not tragedy which causes this dip in emotional stability.  It is the unceasingly slow drip of sadness that causes me to become still, and inevitably stagnant, from the unending disturbance that sits disturbed just underneath the surface.

I cry out from the depths, “Help me–I’m sinking.”

I feel the One, who holds me close in my dark state, whisper to my heart, “Hold on.”  So, I hold tight to Him as I struggle to keep my head above the stagnancy.


How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.

For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.  Psalm 36:7-9 NIV

 

When Passion and Purpose Collide

As I glanced around the room last night at a Bible study full of beautiful single moms, I felt my heart swell with love and gratitude for the place God has placed me.

I have been part of this group on and off for about five years now.  Really a crazy story how I, a mom who has been married for most of her adult years, had ended up in this group solely brought together by their common unmarried status.

But, even though I could not completely relate to their daily struggles, I felt a close connection form from the very beginning.

I feel at home here. 

It could be because of the genuine love displayed toward one another.

I am not entirely sure–but, I am glad to be part of this leadership circle placed together to walk alongside and encourage them live to their full potential.

Have you ever felt you finally found your place in life?

That place where passion and purpose collide?

For me, my heart naturally gravitates toward individuals in life who are considered the underdogs.

Those who, for whatever reason, do not have the odds stacked in their favor.

Not necessarily with this particular ministry, but, in general.

Those whose potential flies under the radar in life.  

Perhaps because of circumstances outside of their control.

Or, perhaps bad decisions veered them slightly off course.

Either way, I love to walk alongside and help bring them back on track.

Help them discover their full potential–so they can soar, despite life’s circumstances.

I watched ‘Dumbo’ recently, and realized this oversized elephant was actually an underdog.

No one noticed his true potential–not even him.

Yet, one little mouse saw something spectacular in Dumbo.  And, this little rodent became his cheerleader, and encouraged this clumsy gray elephant to take flight.

And fly Dumbo did.

What about you?

Have you pinpointed where your passion and purpose collide?