Pinterest

Monday, April 19, 2010

Suicidal tendencies: cinema and music

I'm not talking about that band from the 80's. But I was close friends with someone who had those feelings.

On the Threshold of EternityImage via Wikipedia


You come to me with your scars on your wrist
You tell me this will be the last night feeling like this
I just came to say goodbye
I didn't want you to see me cry, I'm fine
But i know it's a lie

This is the last night you'll spend alone
Look me in the eyes so I know you know
I'm everwhere you want me to be
The last night you'll spend alone
I'll wrap you in my arms and I won't let go
I'm everything you need me to be

I lost many nights of sleep to take phone calls from that friend who was a depressed insomniac who would call me from a pay phone, before cell phones (BCPh), at the beach where he sat with a razor blade in his hand. He didn't have Jesus. But we became friends in Latin class in high school. I was a melancholy kid myself, but I had Jesus. Somehow, in his eyes, I had something transcendent.
Your parents say everything is your fault
But they don't know you like I know you
They don't know you at all
I'm so sick of when they say
It's just a phase, you'll be o.k. you're fine
But i know it's a lie

This is the last night you'll spend alone
Look me in the eyes so I know you know
I'm everwhere you want me to be
The last night you'll spend alone
I'll wrap you in my arms and I won't let go
I'm everything you need me to be
The last night away from me

The night is so long when everything's wrong
If you give me your hand
I will help you hold on
Tonight, tonight

I didn't want him to die without Jesus. I told him he could call me anytime in the night to talk. And he would. But I considered myself suicidal to a degree. I refused to wear a seatbelt, there were no laws then mandating seatbelt use, hoping for a car accident that would take me to heaven.
This is the last night you'll spend alone
Look me in the eyes so I know you know
I'm everwhere you want me to be
The last night you'll spend alone
I'll wrap you in my arms and I won't let go
I'm everything you need me to be

I won't let you say goodbye
And I'll be your reason why
The last night away from me
Away from me

We made it through high school. He even decided after a couple years of watching me, and I refused to hide my struggles from him, and we even skipped an evangelistic Christian movie outing because the line was long to go see a goofy secular movie, he wanted Jesus as well. He got saved. But I grew more depressed.

I went to a Christian college and experienced extreme disappointment in the hypocrisy of the students. It was my fault to expect the New Jerusalem, but I had no one to prepare me. I had no one to warn me. I also discovered the concept of the dysfunctional family. Probably nearly every one in Gen X grew up in one as well, but I got so mad and depressed. The details are unnecessary, but my attempts to address that issue at home were rebuffed hard and I contemplated slashing my own wrists. The pain was caused by loneliness and disappointment and frustration.

I saw the band who wrote those lyrics above this weekend at a local casino with the wife of my youth. This band, Skillet, are a bunch of Christians who bring intensity to their music that I just love. In a recent interview, lead singer and songwriter, John Cooper, says
I can’t tell you how many hundreds of people we have talked to, have received messages from at MySpace, or have handed us written letters at our concerts who've expressed how the song “The Last Night” has impacted their lives. We've had so many people share their stories on how they decided to stop cutting or how they decided that they were not going to commit suicide after they listened to that song. It was literally hundreds of people, which is just absolutely amazing to me! I definitely knew that God had given me the song, and I had a feeling it was going to affect people. But I had no idea it would be to that extent—and I’m honored to be a part of what God has done with that song!

When I watched them perform that song, and since when I hear it played, a scar on my heart tears a little, and I choke up a little. That pain is still so raw, even though I had forgotten it for so long. I don't think I would be as sensitive to that song if I hadn't seen one of those Christian movies, To Save a Life, with my adolescent daughter and a friend of hers. Unlike my experience with Christian theater 23 years ago, there was no line out the door for this showing. There were only a dozen of us in the theater. I came into the showing with very low expectations. In my experience, Christian movies tend to suck because they want to be about the ultimate reality, but they wrap up everything like a birthday present with a pretty bow on top. The stories are too saccharine. But this movie was about suicide.
Even though there was plenty to be desired in the acting and the story, it wasn't on the level of cheese someone from Gen X would expect of an After School Special. It's about a kid's suicide. It's about his former friend's subsequent social suicide in response to his guilt over abandoning his friend to pursue popularity. He walks away from his crowd to hang out with losers and Christians, though not a believer himself. He does become a believer, but his life gets worse. He has a catharsis and ends up beginning the journey of life anew, but with many loose ends dangling.

On the ride home, I told my daughter a little bit of my story. I wanted her to know that I struggled with suicidal tendencies and I sought professional counseling. I began on a path to healing with assistance. I told her, if she gets overwhelmed, her mother and I will completely support her if she wants help. I told her, the brain gets broke like a leg sometimes and doctors can help. I told her there is medicine that can help as well. There are no guarantees in the Bible that says Christians do not suffer from depression. One of the bloggers I enjoy to read for his honest and eloquent defenses of the faith, C. Michael Patton, wrote about his current state of depression this weekend. It's bleak. He is not feeling any transcendence. I'm glad he finds encouragement from Tommy Nelson's story and the relief he found from anti-depressants, a blog post that I still get traffic from, though posted here 3 years ago. Tommy Nelson is a successful and popular Christian preacher who came under a black cloud.

But Jesus knew depression as well.

Isaiah 53:3-4 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

That's the kind of prophecy to look forward to. Not! But Jesus came to suffer. He walked his life knowing a death sentence hung over his head even before he made enemies. He knew he came to die. But he also had faith in his Father. He trusted Him. It's no sin to be depressed. It's no sin to get treatment for the weakness. It might be a sin to keep it all to yourself though. Reach out. Don't isolate. You can even reach out to a stranger like me. There is an email link on the sidebar and a Facebook link if you want to contact me. I'd be happy to encourage you and refer you to someone closer. I have some connections. I also know a God who loves you. He has more connections than I do.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments: