Today I read an article published by the New York Post on a young woman who committed suicide. In this article they publish her suicide letter, as well as pictures of who she was. What might be striking to some is that her letter isn't wracked with details of insurmountable abuse, tragedy or grief. In fact, she thanks her Mom for her life and upbringing. She offers up thanks for the life she has lived and the experiences she has been able to partake of. World travel, good friends, a decent paying job are all on her list of things she is grateful for. So, why would a person who is young, talented, gainfully employed and seemingly has her entire life in front of her be wrestling with depression to the point of suicide? (and, in her own words, struggling with suicidal depression for years)
For her, it boils down to this one sentence: "I have accepted hope is nothing more than delayed disappointment, and I am just plain old-fashioned tired of feeling tired.”
Towards the end of her letter she reaches out to the beyond and offers her own worldview concerning death and dying, which in a sad irony, is wrapped up in the one thing which lead to her own demise: Hope.
She is hoping to be reunited with her dad on the other side of this life. "I’m coming home, Dad. Make some room up on that cloud and turn the Motown up"she says. For her, that hope seemed more real, and more beautiful than the daily grind of "delayed disappointments" and the"tiredness"of her soul. She no longer had the drive, desire or fortitude to weather the day in, day out grind of life, even with her life having all the positives and experiences of "world-class cuisine" and "world travel"
These are remarkable considerations given that many in the millennial generation highly value everything this young woman exemplified. World travel, independence, self reliance, a good paying job, transient living. The popular cultural themes of "do what makes you happy", "YOLO", etc. seem to ultimately fall short in this young Woman's life.
She did indeed, do what made her happy: “It’s selfishly time for me to be happy and I know you can get down with that. Please try to remember me as a whole human you shared memories with and not just my final act."
The sad reality is, despite her wishes, people, especially her family and those closest to her will remember her for who she was, yet they will also remember her final act. It is impossible to wishfully dismiss such a definitive act. This definitive act will cause much pain and suffering because it represents the loss of a beautiful person and life.
What this woman's seemingly beautiful life and tragic end teaches us is that truth strikes again at its bell-tower, echoing a clarion call through the land for those who would have ears to listen and hear. It's call offers us several lessons:
1) All this world has to offer is not enough. Even when life seems good and you are living your own version of "the dream", in the end your soul was made for something more. If you don't take stock of your soul, when your reality of "the dream" shifts, you're going to be in real trouble.
2) The importance of Soul Care. Nurturing the depths of your soul is of the greatest importance. Going on trips around the world, spending time in nature, and the ability to avoid rush hour traffic do not necessarily, in and of themselves, accomplish this necessary task.
3) The need for a worldview that is rooted and grounded in eternal truth. This kind of worldview offers hope beyond this life. Without an eternal worldview rooted and grounded in truth that offers hope beyond the temporary "here and now" it becomes almost impossible to withstand the onslaught of mental and spiritual tides that can come against you, especially over the course of many years. Even with this kind of worldview, it is no guarantee of successfully overcoming any given spiritual attack or mental illness. Truth rooted and grounded in an eternal reality is a very real anchor to hold onto in the midst of the storms of life. Many people have overcome depression and suicidal thoughts this way. Many people have also tried and sadly lost their battles with depression and suicide. This is why there is such beauty in grace. We can take comfort knowing that Christ died for all our failures: past-present-future. ALL-OF-THEM. The importance of having an eternal anchor that goes beyond the here and now cannot be understated.
4) What you choose to believe and accept as truth matters. "I have accepted hope is nothing more than delayed disappointment, and I am just plain old-fashioned tired of feeling tired." Something happened in the course of her life where this believe took a deep root in her soul. She knew not how to fight against it or even that the belief itself should be challenged. The majority of spiritual warfare happens in the mind. This is why scripture teaches us to "take every thought captive" (2 Cor 10:5). Again, no one does this perfectly but it is clear here why it is so important to practice that skillset.
5) She longed for something more. She hoped in something beyond this life. For her, she longed for a reunion with her Dad. She believed it was the answer to her suffering and she took that hope, and in her words "selfishly"acted on it. This is why her letter isn't racked with grief or agony, or allegations of abuse. She simply gave into the notion that whatever is on the other side of this life is better and she hoped it was with her Dad on a cloud listening to Motown. This was her answer to the years of "delayed disappointments and weariness" that eroded her soul to the point of taking her own life.
For the Christian, we have a hope, rooted and grounded in an eternal love that offers us encouragement as we face our own "delayed disappointments" and the "weariness" that sieges our soul.
2 Corinthians 4:18 says "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see."
1 Thessalonians 5:8 says "But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of our hope of salvation."
Romans 8:37-39 says "But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
No matter where you find yourself in your earthly journey, take stock of the condition of your soul. You can't ignore the pressing needs of soul care. Year after year life will grind away until you reach a breaking point. My hope and prayer for you is that your anchor points are secure in eternal truth and that the self-care you partake in truly nourishes, heals, and cleanses the depths of your being.