I rounded the corner and the sight that greeted me brought tears to my eyes. The closest place to park was two blocks away from the gym; the parking lot was full as well as all parking a block on the other side. The line wound its way Out the door and down the sidewalk. Later the tears turned to a stream as the fireman strode to the front of the gym and explained. In days gone by, the fire bell rang to give warning of a fire, but when the firemen left their shift, they would ring three sets of five bells. So saying, he walked to the bell and began to sound it–one, two, three, four, five, and again, and again. Then he walked away. Over the pagers came the dispatch. Last call for firefighter David Handsaker. Was this firefighter lost in the line of duty? Was he one of many who fought the wildfires only to lose his own life? No, this was for a young eighteen-year-old volunteer who gave up hope and took his own life.
This wasn’t the first memorial service that I had attended for young person. Just shy of nine years ago I sat watching as my best friend suffered the loss of her daughter to suicide. Again, there was standing room only at that service. Both instances caused my family and me to sit back and ask why. It seems so pointless. All those hurting people left behind–all ages from young elementary school to peers to parents to grandparents and everyone in between. We feel the loss and cry. Often in the case of suicide, the person is hurting and can see no way through. However, as it was stated today at the service, when a person takes his or her own life, they take their pain and hurt and let it be multiplied to all those left behind.
I ask you today not to give up hope. Please if life seems unbearable, reach out to someone to ask for help. Quite often our perspective gets skewed. We think we are the only one to be in that situation. We can’t see the others waiting to help. This is common. Even the prophet Elijah felt the same way. He thought he was all alone, but God told him there were 7,000 who were still faithful. If all seems lost, if you have no one to listen to you, you can comment below or use the prayer request box on the side bar to contact me. I’m not a trained counselor, but I will listen. It isn’t worth it to give up and believe the lies that your life is not worth living or that others would be better off without you. There is a purpose for your life. You never know how many lives you will touch. David was just a quiet kid who volunteered with the fire department. His life touched over 300 people (that’s just how many were able to make it to the service). We never know how our lives will impact others. Keep hoping; Keep believing.
If you have lost someone to suicide and need a listening ear, you too can either comment or use the prayer request form at the side to contact me.