Whenever compassionate people hear about those who have committed suicide, there's a yearning to save others from making the same choice.
Especially in cases such as in Japan nearly a year ago. A group of seven people who otherwise had nothing else in common became acquainted on a website for people who don't want to experience suicide alone (see The Christian Science Monitor, "Websites promote group suicides," July 19). Regrettably, they were successful in their endeavor and ended their lives in a suicide pact.
Whenever a tragedy such as this occurs, friends and family members ask, Why didn't we know? How could we have prevented it? And how can we prevent it from happening again?
Not everyone can be an expert in suicide prevention. We can't know all the early signs or prepare the exact words that are certain to change someone's mind. But each one of us has access to the source for divine direction that can help us help one another.
There was a time in my life when I considered suicide. My marriage was in shambles because of an affair I'd had with a married man, and the circumstances led to public disgrace and abandonment by long-time friends. I held my head high when people could see me, but would fall apart in private.
Late one night while driving home from another humiliating episode, I had a strong temptation to wrap my car around a tree. "I'll show them," I thought. But then another thought came: "Don't do it. Go home, get some rest." And that's what I did.
A few days later, I happened to speak to a friend who knew what was going on in my life, and she heartily disapproved. But she loved me all the same. I had avoided talking to her because I knew I was disappointing her. Yet when we found ourselves on the phone, we had a lot to say to each other.
I told her about how I'd been feeling lately, and she told me that a few days before, she had felt a strong impulse to pray for me. Specifically, she felt she needed to pray about my committing suicide. We figured out that she had prayed on the very afternoon before my nocturnal car ride that almost ended in tragedy.
I truly believe now that she saved my life. Her prayers opened the door for me to hear the voice of Spirit at the moment I needed it. She based her prayers on the understanding that Spirit is Life, the only Life, and that I am a creation of that Spirit. Therefore, death could not be attractive to me, since I am a child of Life.
A book we both studied daily and turned to for spiritual answers, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, has this passage: "Truth has no consciousness of error. Love has no sense of hatred. Life has no partnership with death. Truth, Life, and Love are a law of annihilation to everything unlike themselves, because they declare nothing except God" (p. 243).
My friend's prayers for me embraced the idea that Life has no partnership with death, and this prayer was effective.
This can work for each one of us. We are the children of Life, and our loved ones, friends, business associates, and neighbors are, too. Knowing this more deeply on behalf of those we care about will reveal what we need to say and do, and when we need to do it.
If we each commit to seeing one another as children of Life, the suggestions of death will be easier to spot and to heal. Any deathlike tendencies will be obvious because they won't fit in with the truth that governs existence - that Life is All-in-all. As the brightness of Life shines the spotlight on all creation, death will be seen to be the fraud that it is.
We can shine that light for one another. Take a moment when you walk through the world today to hold everyone you see in the spotlight of Life. This will help prevent tragedies and will reveal unmistakably the brightness of being.
He will deliver his soul
from going into the pit,
and his life shall see the light.
Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, To bring back his soul from the pit,
to be enlightened
with the light of the living.