The Childís Picture  

 

One of the main reasons a person decides to commit suicide is that feeling of pointlessness, worthlessness, even self-hate. Why go on? For what? People, roughed up by life, decide theyíve had enough. Sometimes they think theyíre running away from the abuse, but in reality, theyíve also internalized the abuse, and are becoming yet another abuser of themselves, the final abuser. For do you think suicide is just an escape? Do you think a girl with her whole life ahead of her, suddenly turned into a cold and lifeless corpse beside an empty jar of pills, has really escaped? I do not see someone who has escaped. I see someone who has been abused by herself, worse than yelled at, worse than beaten, worse than raped by a father, worse than abandoned, abused in the worst way possible, snuffed out, a beautiful living possibility just wiped out and left like a rag to mop the floor with.

And what about the young man who has put a bullet into his head? What about that escape of blood, that rush for freedom? I donít see it. Once again, I just see self-abuse. As though all the abuse, of whatever kind, that drove him to this wasnít enough, he had to follow in the footsteps of all the others, and abuse himself in the worst way with a gun. I remember, once, looking at the photo of a dead friend from the morgue, someone whoíd shot himself in the mouth with a hunting rifle. I remember how weak, how helpless he appeared then, all of his power gone, his face all puffy, looking beaten up, battered and bruised, and I can tell you, he looked like heíd been punched over and over again, and thrown down on the ground, and kicked, and stomped on by some kind of wild, violent mob. And I thought, all the people who hurt him in his life have finally got him to join up in the hurting. Instead of getting away from that mob, he became a part of it, and ended up finishing off what they began, destroying something beautiful, something precious which he never saw, because he let their cruelty tell him who he was; until he finally became a target even for himself.

Friend, I want to tell you something.

Donít ever abuse yourself in that way! Donít ever join up with your abusers, your rejecters, and your hurters, in hurting yourself; try to survive them. Try to get past their hate, or their indifference, to find the real you, and save the real you.

I want to say that deep in our minds, deep in our hearts, one of the most enduring images we have, even if weíve never seen it in real life, is the image of the faithful, loving mother who stands by her child, no matter what. You may remember the true story of the mother cat who kept going back into a burning building to rescue her kittens, carrying them out, one by one, by the scruff of the neck with her mouth, the only way she could do it. She was badly burned and hurt by the time she finished, but she did it. More than that, she risked everything to bring them out, because something deep inside her could not stand to hear the cries of her trapped babies in the hot, smoking house. Thatís love. Thatís loyalty. And thatís mothering. Thank God, we humans have had some mothers like that, too.

Is it not moving? Donít we all long, deep in our hearts, for this kind of love, this kind of devotion, this kind of loyalty?

Now, listen to me, friend. What would you do if I were to tell you that you had been given someone to look after, just like a mother is given a child? What would you do if I were to tell you that God, Himself, our Great Creator, had given you a little child to protect and to guard? And put that little child into your arms, to carry down the road? And there was no one else to do it? Do you think you would just put that child down to freeze to death in the night, and walk away from it, saying, "Itís too much of a pain in the butt to carry this baby"? Do you think you would just drop it on the road, abandon it to the cold, maybe even to the wild animals? No, of course not! Like a mother - a real mother - like a father - a real father - like a big brother or a big sister, the kind thatís supposed to be - like a human being - you would hold onto that child, and walk with it down the road, protecting it, carrying it as long as you could, and even longer than that. Thatís love. Thatís in you. Whether youíve experienced it, or not, itís what all of us long to be given, and what all of us are capable of giving. If it is sometimes "learned" by example, it can also be learned by its absence, from the pain of not having it, which teaches us how important it is, and drives us to find it within ourselves. Believe me!

Now, friend, I would like to help you to wake up from your terrible pain to see that God, in fact, has given you someone to watch over in this life, and has put all His trust in you to take care of this someone. And that this special someone is you!

I would like you, my friend, to please imagine yourself as a child, or if you have a picture of yourself as a child, or a baby, to take that picture in your hands, right now, or as soon as you can, and look at it; and ask yourself, now, in your moment of hating yourself, if that child deserves to die? Stated another way, would you really put a gun to that childís head tonight, and blow it off? Or inject it with an overdose? Look at that child. Does that child really deserve to be killed? Isnít there something beautiful, and hopeful in it? Look. Canít you see it? Something worth saving? Something precious?

I tell you, my friend, donít leave that child behind, alone, to die on the road of your sorrow in the night, just because some other people without heart or understanding are hurting you so badly, and pushing you to abandon it. Stand by that child to the end. Protect it. Love it. For that child, and all he or she could be, is still alive in you, somewhere, deep inside, crying and in need. Donít leave it, just because of other people!

And I tell you again, that child comes from God. Who is to judge your value, who has the right to call you worthless, or to treat you like you were nothing, when God Himself, with all His Glory - Power above all nights, Lighter of the Sun, Mover of the Sea, Wearer of the Stars - has created you, given life to you? If God thought enough of you to make you, how should anyone else ever judge you not worthy of being here? No, do not throw yourself away as an object of no value, take Godís creation of you as proof of your value, and look within until you can find your beauty, and draw new life from it. Do not ever place the judgment of people who have lost their way, and let their hearts stay closed like flowers that never opened, above the judgment of your loving God, who saw fit to create you and to give you a place on His earth. Do not ever let others take that place away from you. And do not let them trick or torture you into taking it away, for them!

Look back at the picture, my friend, and please, make a promise tonight, to stay with that child through thick and thin. To give that child the loyalty you may have been denied, the love you may never have had, the friendship you may never have found, the understanding you may never have received, the dedication you may have waited all your life for, in vain. But you can give that beautiful, lonely child what it has been missing all these years!

Comfort that child, love it, start all over again with it. Carry it down the road of life, through whatever comes to pass. And seek that greatest of all triumphs, which is to be faithful to the beauty of life, and awakened to the power of love.

My friend, let tonight, your darkest of nights, become your brightest of days. Let it be the hour that you finally give to yourself what others never did. Let this day, which was almost your end, become a new beginning. Give yourself the gift of life, a second chance. Come back - please, come back to us!

 

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