Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and this year’s theme is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.”
That’s a vital goal. Having lost a family member to suicide some years back, I feel deep compassion for anyone struggling with such aggressive urges – and gratitude for those involved in preventing them from being acted on.
Yet prevention is just one part of what’s needed. Everyone deserves freedom from the darkened mental states that can sometimes spill over into the urge for self-destruction. Each of these, in its own way, would seem to turn on its head the sense of our inherent worth that can be found within all of us, even if it feels as if it has been drowned out.
But the drone of depression and doubt that contradicts this better sense of ourselves can’t continue to do so when we begin to realize we have a choice of what thoughts we listen to. We can listen for that sense of worth because it comes to us from a source that, although often unknown or unacknowledged, is constantly communicating to us. It’s the voice of God, divine Love, our creator, described in the Bible.
For instance, if we listen for Love’s voice today, we can hear, in some form appropriate for us, what the prophet Zephaniah heard and conveyed to the people of Jerusalem: “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
At every moment the radiant love of God is still ever present and valuing us, His offspring. Even when it doesn’t feel that way, this is our real being. In contrast, the material details that seem to be our lot in life are ultimately not a true depiction of either our life or our worth. But to feel that confidence and freedom we need to better understand the Life and Love that is God, as a friend learned after living with recurring suicidal urges for some years.
The pivotal point was when she learned of her relation to God through Christian Science. But she had a glorious glimpse of this along the way when she intuitively discerned there was more to her than her troubled life, and then felt the presence of an unfailing and infallible love supporting her.
A little later she found out that an acquaintance was a Christian Scientist. That impelled her to read and reread the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” The spiritual, healing ideas in Mary Baker Eddy’s book, based on the life and teachings of Christ Jesus, had a profound effect. She once told me, “As I read, the room seemed to be filled with pure light. I was held in that ‘secret place of the most High’ that the Bible talks about (Psalms 91:1) and felt as if I was being spoken to directly in my heart of hearts.”
Up till then she’d still had repetitive impulses to kill herself. But she lost all faith in self-destruction as a means of change as she grew conscious of her purely spiritual identity and relation to the Divine.
That led to her full freedom from further suicidal desires and brought to light an enduring joy that enables her to touch and uplift the lives of others. From this vantage point she recently shared her story on Facebook, concluding, “There is a way to give up what appears to be our challenged life along with all the regrets and fears and bad choices we associate with it. But it’s not through death. It’s by finding the true sense of Life as God.”
We’re never left alone to work out of darkened thinking. God’s love is with us, lifting us out of the mental states that would veil the true view of how loved, worthy, and capable we are.
Every moment can be a moment of yielding to this true view of ourselves, and as this happens, we can sing, along with the Psalmist, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord” (Psalms 118:17).
Adapted from an editorial published in the Sept. 10, 2018, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.