A life worth living
A Christian Science perspective: The suicide of Robin Williams has left many people searching for answers.
Last Monday’s suicide by comedian and Academy Award-winning actor Robin Williams has left many struggling to understand why. He was a comedic genius who made us all laugh, and yet, in his alone moments, seemed to face deep depression that led him to take his own life. His tragic passing has prompted private and public conversations about the depression and hopelessness that sometimes lead to suicide.
Suicide signals a loss of hope – that options have run out or that circumstances or conditions will never change. Yet we have every reason to hope, when we start in the right place. God is infinite good – that’s His nature and His measure. And because God is also all-powerful, nothing can obstruct the power or recognition of His goodness in your life or mine. As His sons and daughters, we are each the expression of that infinite goodness and omnipotence, created spiritually as indestructible, the offspring of divine Spirit.
The Psalmist offers a way out of hopelessness when he asks, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?” and then counsels and assures, “[H]ope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God” (Psalms 42:11). A whole lot of comfort and spiritual meaning is packed into those few words. First off, the Psalmist gives us a model for dealing with ourselves or others who confront addiction, depression, or suicidal thoughts. He gives us reason to show great compassion, not criticism, for the sadness and agitation he’s feeling and that others feel. Dark thoughts appear very real to those who are wrestling with them – even if others may easily perceive the blessings in someone else’s life.
The Psalmist turns thought quickly from asking why to affirming his trust in God, praising Him, and acknowledging that God is the very health of his being. Placing trust in God fosters an expectation of good – a bud of hope that blossoms in thought. Affirming, praising, and giving thanks are all effective forms of prayer. They lift consciousness to God, rather than trying to bring God down to a problem. These kinds of prayer start with an infinitely good God, and lead one to discover the road to greater peace and well-being, leaving the vicious cycles behind by holding dear to one’s heart what it means to be the child of the infinitely good God and embracing that true identity as one’s own and as belonging to everyone, perpetually.
The many works of Christ Jesus provide prime examples. He got to the core of an individual’s real struggle – whether it was fear, disbelief, sin, or heredity – then lifted them right out of it to see the true, spiritual, selfhood. So, too, can we expect those whose thoughts are buried in sadness and desperation to discover a new life, a life filled with wonder, joy ... and hope! God loves each of His children. He did not create any of us to live lives dominated by chemical imbalance. Our true individuality is spiritual and complete, expressing the dominion and freedom of Spirit, God. Jesus proved this through his healing works. Over and over again, those who were healed by him discovered their true Christly selfhood accompanied by incomparable freedom.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, observes, “Christ presents the indestructible man, whom Spirit creates, constitutes, and governs” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 316). This was true not only of Christ Jesus, but of every one of us as God’s children, God’s spiritual ideas. Because God, Spirit, is infinite good – and we express God – we all have an infinite measure of good to anticipate. By accepting and understanding that fact, we discover the limitless good that is always at hand, even if not yet seen by the material senses. This understanding and expectation of good sets a new tone and opens up for us a life worth living.
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