Today is the last day of suicide prevention week. A topic heavily on my mind many times since I saw a post about it a week ago.
I tried to commit suicide at 17 years old. If I had succeeded, and that point was the end of my life, I would have missed out on more than I could ever could have imagined. There is the obvious, like the fact that I hadn't yet discovered true love or brought into the world the most beautiful little human being I have ever known. But so much more.
The eye opening experience of a missions trip. The beauty of the northern lights. The peace of camping on a serene mountain top under the stars. The joy of an audience applauding for me (I did have that at 15 in the pageant but there was no joy, only terror). The delight of chocolate mousse cake (at 17 I was still allergic to chocolate). The pleasure of seeing family members develop faith. The humbling walk of having others help me through Leukemia. The achievement of having a career. The exhilaration of white water rafting. The passion of training for an athletic event. Oh, the list is endless.
Most importantly, though, is the relationships I have developed in my adult life. At 17 I'd had friends, yes. But they were let in only in tiny glimpses through a wall of pain and insecurity. That wall took years to be chipped away. The work was the most painful procedure in my life but it developed an open slate to truly see the joy of friendship. The wonder of humanity. The vastness of personalities to discover.
I wouldn't say that my life has reached it's full potential. I'm nowhere near an amazing business plan or a world changing discovery. I have moments where I feel I'm on the wrong path. But I know there are many moments that I made someone's day. I know I've helped people realize they could try something they never would have attempted. I've opened up the lives of someone else more times than I know.
And so have you. Really. You have.
For me, all of this I would missed, and others would have missed, if my belief that nothing more was possible had succeeded in ending my journey.
There are many, many people who believe nothing more is possible for them. They think about giving up the seemingly endless fight. The battle seems too hard and lonely. They lost a loved one or feel too much shame about something or feel alone in a battle. And they feel it could not get better.
It can always get better. There are people who understand. Believe that people care.
And if that isn't your pain, maybe you are the one that needs to show you care. Look past yourself.
When I was 17 I'm sure my mom cared. But if I looked outside myself I'd see she was going through a divorce, again, and struggling with her own path. I'm sure other people cared but I expected to be shown in a certain way and so I was unable to see what was right in front of me.
Many times in my life I've experienced people tragically ending their lives and I wonder what it would have taken to change the outcome. My step father who used carbon monoxide to end his life when I was 8. The boy who came to my church once. The men hiding the pain of changes in their family.
Did someone miss their effort to ask for help because of their own struggles and busy schedules? Would another smile have made a difference? Was a compliment not given because someone thought it would be silly?
Sometimes something seems so small. But add up all the small and imagine the big impact.
The big impact at that very time as well as every moment after in a compounding reaction invisible and unimaginable to us in the big picture of life.
We're all a big part of life.