Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Life's Valleys

"Which of life’s curves so tangled your mind
that you chose to wring the life from your body tonight,..."

When the topic, act or use of the word suicide enters a conversation a wide variety of emotions come to play.

Suicide (Latin suicidium, from sui caedere, to kill oneself) is the intentional killing of one's self. In 1904, Harold MacGrath, wrote in The Man On The Box, ch. 22:
"The cowardice of suicide was abhorrent to him."

Suicide may occur for a number of reasons, including depression, shame, guilt, desperation, physical pain, emotional pressure, anxiety, financial difficulties, or any number of other undesirable situations. I think it can be concluded that the predominant view of suicide is escape. It is removing oneself from the situations of life which have become intolerable. It is entirely selfish in nature and in this we see the sickness that it is, because it refuses to acknowledge the others in our lives.

The play upon the mind is the distorted assumption of the lack of value and worth of the individual. "There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy." Why is life worth living?

We all deal with the existential anxieties of life, we all have embedded in our psyche a death anxiety, we all have a will to live, a desire to find meaning, significance and value in our lives. Everyone faces failure and success. We are born with, but not always aware of, certain structures which are inherent in life, language, norms, a history, a religion, a class, a family, a nation and, most importantly, a general sense of what makes for a good and happy life. At birth we are handed a well-worn existential structure by which we measure our existence.
It is when we are 'within' these structures that the question of ... is life worth living? never enters the realm of reality. It is a given. Life has meaning because life is intrinsically significant, valued and full.

"... if we scratch at these feelings of "significance" and "meaning" we uncover some anxieties. Our efforts toward attaining significance often seem frantic and obsessive. Something is at stake. Meaning seems fragile. In short, these accomplishments are important because they occur against the backdrop of an indifferent universe and a clock ticking down to death. Meaning is meaningful because it is effortful, rare and fleeting. Meaning isn't given. Meaning is constructed. ... our sense of self-worth and self-esteem is rooted in how well we travel this path of "meaning" and "significance."
Life is a script in which we are writing our own hero-story. We are expending effort to build those feelings that our life has a place in history, in our family, our community, our culture that has a "primary value, (something) of cosmic specialness, of ultimate usefulness to creation, of unshakable meaning." We desire to leave edifices and monuments of achievement which will transcend time and call to memory our lives and work.
"The hope and belief is that the things that man creates in society are of lasting worth and meaning, that they outlive or outshine death and decay, that man and his products count...In this sense everything a man does is religious and heroic, and yet in danger of being fictitious and fallible."
In many ways life becomes like that of Sisyphus, that the sum total of my life is simply rolling a rock up a hill. And the reason I don't feel like Sisyphus is that every cultural voice I encounter--parents, teachers, God, nation--tells me I'm a leading a "meaningful" life.
What happens when the cultural voice no longer resonates a truthful expression of what my life is about? Then I face a reality of life's vanity and the barren horizon of existence.
My life story from an early age has had the topic of suicide incorporated into it on an almost weekly basis. Not that I have ever had someone close to me commit suicide, however, the constant threat of the event happening has created an awareness, possibly in an unhealthy way, of suicide. When a suicide happens in my community these thoughts that formed years ago are brought again to the forefront of my mind and I understand the thought process that takes a man to that brink of desperation, that absolute horror of facing another day of disillusioned existence, the absolute absence of hope, when life is tainted by failure and all love is counted as sand through my fingertips.
Being that I am still here, my thoughts and actions have never taken me to their obvious conclusion, because that would require a courageous act based on a lie, that the best possible expectation of life would be that I should die. My prayer is that God in His mercy and love will allow for the deception that suicide has played upon the minds of those who have and He would extend His grace towards them.
The lie of suicide is emphatically that, a lie. How difficult it is to believe that hope exists where faith has failed, when there is nothing left to believe in that would inspire a person to continue to choose life. The tragedy does not lie in the death but in the absence of faith, hope and love that drove a man to kill himself.
Many choose suicide in our lifetime, some view it as cowardice, the ultimate escape from life. I believe it is indicative of the insurmountable expectations that are placed upon mankind to achieve a hero's existence within the context of a fallen world. I believe it is a theft, the stealing of a life by Satan and the perpetuation of his lie that life is worthless when it fails to meet the world's standards of achievement.
What suicide fails to acknowledge or realize either through ignorance, apathy or unbelief is that God values your life, my life, incomparably. God's love is unsurpassed in its expression through the death of His Son. Gods' favour and mercy are matchless in the expression of His desire to have a relationship with Him and reside in His boundless grace.

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