Realizing that life is spiritual in nature can help to lift a person out of the mental state that brings about suicide.
By learning that we are each, without exception, a loved child of the one creator, every individual can discover that he or she has a unique individuality and purpose that is given of God alone. Self-worth then becomes something measured in terms of one's innate ability to express the qualities of God. And this is an ability that is truly boundless.
Late one night I received a telephone call. The only thing I heard on the other end was heavy breathing. At the time, I was a graduate student living alone in a small apartment.
"Who in the world is this?" I wondered.
I knew that conventional wisdom would dictate that I simply hang up. But I felt that the person calling really needed help. And I absolutely felt no fear of the caller, whoever it was.
I was in the process of reading a book by Mary Baker Eddy, who founded The Christian Science Monitor, and had just finished reading about the healing power of God, who is Love. I was beginning to understand that, as the article had said, "Love is the fulfilling of the law: it is grace, mercy, and justice" ("Miscellaneous Writings," pg. 11).
I asked the caller if I could be of help. There was no response. But I stayed on the line - until the person hung up.
About the same time the following evening, I received another call. Intuitively I felt that it was the same person. This time, however, I heard no sound at all on the other end.
"Good, we're making progress. No heavy breathing," I thought.
Again I asked if I could be of assistance. But there was still no response.
At this point I reached out to God, asking for direction. What could I possibly say to this unknown person about an unknown situation?
I was then inspired to do something quite unusual: play a tape for the caller, using a portable tape recorder. It was a tape of hymns. Periodically I checked the receiver in order to be sure that I wasn't playing them to a dial tone. But evidently the person on the other end continued to listen.
And I continued to listen as well - for God's guidance. With all my heart. And I was able, with a great feeling of peace, to release the caller into God's loving hands.
At the end of the tape, I wished the individual good night, and was about to hang up. It was at this point that a voice said over the line, "That was really nice music."
"Well, I'm glad that you enjoyed it," I replied.
The caller then explained that he was a student, and that it had been in great desperation that he had called the night before. He was so depressed that he no longer wanted to live, he said. But he couldn't help being impressed that someone he didn't even know could, would, express a genuine concern for him. He said that he had found my number at random in the telephone book.
I shared some ideas with him about his relationship to God. I used the simple analogy of how sometimes clouds get between us and the sun, but this does not mean that the sun is not still shining - or that we are unloved by God. These ideas helped reassure him that he was embraced in the presence of a loving creator who was his Father-Mother.
This young man had been in a mental hell. But when he grasped something of the fact that he had dominion to think clearly and live harmoniously - power which came right from God - he no longer wanted to take his own life. In fact, at the conclusion of our conversation he said that he now felt a keen desire to go home for Christmas, in order to be with his family.
This had been a transformation of his thought. It had been brought about by the healing action of God's message to him - the message of Christ, of eternal Truth.
Certainly, it made my Christmas memorable, too!
The Herald of Christian Science publishes articles about God's saving power in 13 different languages.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society