Thursday, April 24, 2014

You are Important, You Matter!

On Monday night, a young man took his life.  A fresh life, snuffed out, right on the brink of adulthood.  Set to graduate high school in six weeks, he's "graduated" early.  And my heart is broken, for him, for his family, and for the other young people out there like him.

It took me back 30 years, almost exactly.  I don't know his pain, but I know mine.

Thirty years ago, plus a month or two, I stood in a similar position.  It hurt, it hurt so bad.  I'm sure a lot of outside influences played into it.  I know I was exhausted.  Most mornings, I left home about 4:45 a.m. and often wasn't back until 10 or 10:30 p.m.  I'm sure my nutrition was awful.  Young teen girl, always on the go, with a high desire for sugar and not so much for the veggies.

I wasn't a druggie, never touched them, even caffeine (outside of chocolate, of course).  I wasn't depressed, at least not in the conventional way. My grades were pretty good.  I played piano in the high school jazz band.  I had friends.  I wasn't being bullied.  (That was a different year.)

But I felt so alone, so very alone.  I felt like I didn't matter, didn't stand out, wasn't special.  And I was so very, very tired.  Tired of trying, tired of BEING.  And if I didn't exist, it wouldn't make any difference, not really.  There were plenty of others to carry on.

A friend, one friend, heard my cry.  She saw (or heard) my pain, and it scared her.  I figured she was "safe" because she didn't go to my school. We didn't even see each other very often.  But I forgot that her dad was a bishop (local leader for our congregation).  And as such, he had my bishop's number, who of course had my mom's.

I'll never forget that conversation we had.  Both she and my bishop figured it was just a miscommunication.  After all, I would never do that.  I was too busy, too smart, to "involved" in things.  The pain and heartache on her face when I admitted what I was planning, I'll never forget it.  And while what I was going to do doesn't matter, I've since learned, it would have worked.  I would have left this life, and far too soon.

But see, I was WRONG!  I did matter.  I DO matter.  Just by being I am important.  And so is everyone else.  Just being ME  is important.  And that's what we've got to make sure that others around us know.  THEY  are, every single one of them, important.  Not because of what they do or don't do.  Not because of anything external.  Just because they are!  Each one of us is needed, important, essential!

And it doesn't matter what's happening NOW.  It will change.  That's something we can be sure of.  And if it's lousy right now, okay, just keep plugging, limping, crawling along.  Because change WILL COME.

I look back on all the things I would have missed, and don't even know where to begin.  Falling in (and out and in and in and out) of love.  My children.  Sunrises and sunsets and shooting stars.  Hanging out with friends.  Prom.  Playing Leisl in a community production of Sound of Music.  College.  Staying up all night with roommates.  Goofing off.  Learning to drive.  Traveling.  Getting married.  Seeing my sisters and my brother grow up.  And the list goes on and on and on.

No, it hasn't all been great.  But it's like roses.  You have beauty and you have thorns.  They go together. And that's a good thing.

Thirty years and counting that I wouldn't have had. Oh, my heart aches so much for this young man who thought he had nothing left.  Please, please, please, if you're thinking you don't matter, you don't have anything to give, the world would be better without you, or at least not miss you, don't give up!

There is someone, some place for you.  And without you, yes, the world and everyone in it will be poorer for the lack of you.  So please, keep trying, reach out to someone, and if that someone lets you down, reach to someone else.  You are needed.  And yes, it will get better.

"Never, never, never give up" - Winston Churchill

1 comment:

  1. Amen to what you said, Rebekah. I remember many times in my teens and twenties just wishing I was dead and the things I did to try and make it happen. So glad God had another plan for me. I'm thankful he had one for you too!