Globally, suicide rates are down. While further progress is still needed – especially in the United States, an exception to the downward trend – I’m so encouraged by this global statistic. Everyone has the right to feel hope, love, and peace rather than despair.
There was a time in my life when suicide seemed to be the only option. An escalating addiction to drugs; meaningful relationships either dead in the water or dead, period; flunking out of college; and feeling completely cut off from my family – all this made me believe there was nothing to live for. Add to that toxic mix a family history of depression and bipolar disorder.
I left a suicide note on my kitchen table and headed for a notorious spot for “successfully” taking the final leap. But something compelled me to stop on the way to say goodbye to my friends. I didn’t see any of my friends, but the person I did run into, who recognized my distress, gave me a copy of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy.
Clearly, I never made that final leap. But I did start to read this book, along with the Bible. As I did, some new things came clearly into perspective, while other things that I had thought were true faded out.
At times it can seem that death is the path to peace – that it is a sure way to escape sadness and end our pain. But the Bible calls death “the last enemy that shall be destroyed” (I Corinthians 15:26). If death is an enemy, why would we intentionally walk right into the enemy’s camp?
Reading Science and Health along with the Bible eventually freed me from the suicidal thoughts and impulses. I discovered that I could find a complete, wonderful, totally filled-up life right here, right now. How? The answer was a jolt: by getting to know God.
Simple answer, big implications. Divine Life (another term for God, which I learned from reading Science and Health) is rich, joyous, vibrant – completely satisfying. I discovered that we actually live in this divine Life. We are created by Life and therefore are designed to express Life and enjoy being alive. I’m not talking about the material, mortal life that is so commonly accepted as our actual life, but a spiritual sense of life as the expression of God’s eternal nature. That is our true existence, and it’s an existence that can never end. And an understanding of this gives us a whole new way of looking at our human circumstances and going forward successfully.
As we understand this true sense of being and living as divine Life’s very outcome, our lives can become an amazing new adventure. This sense of life makes death totally undesirable. Discovering our truly inseparable relation to the God who is Life, along with discovering and expressing more of the vital, energetic, increasingly wonderful essence of this divine Life, brings both joy and peace.
Spiritual light reveals solutions – even to what seem like unsolvable problems. I’ve found time and time again that divine Life is that light. To choose life is to accept the presence of God’s light into one’s consciousness and see it reveal genuine solutions to our problems. Turning away from dark thoughts opens us up to the operation of divine Life’s light in our lives. It shows us that no matter how horrible things seem to be, we are worthy individuals. We are worthy of God’s healing answers, because everyone is truly lovable and loved as God’s creation.
I’m so glad I didn’t keep my date with suicide, because now I can attest to the unspeakable joy that comes from choosing life, learning about God as Life, and finding there’s always a good reason to live. I’ve had a very productive and satisfying life. The promise is there for you and everyone. Choosing life also puts our weight on the side that leads to peace – the reliable, lasting peace we so desire. Choosing life means becoming conscious that God, the Giver of all good, is operating in our lives.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be bumps in the road. But in my experience I’ve seen that we will have what we need to meet these challenges as we continue to choose life rather than follow any temptation to opt out.