An Honest and Vulnerable Prayer
God, please kill me. This is a prayer I prayed with tears in my eyes for two and a half hours early Monday morning. Please. I will never ask for anything ever again. I can not do this anymore. Is it so bad to want to die when I just want to be with you?
God did not respond, at least, not like I thought He should.
They say You have a plan for everything. What about me? I can’t find any direction! I’m not needed. I’m just a burden to my family and friends, just a parasite taking up space and resources. Is my PTSD and depression enjoyable to watch? Why won’t You just be kind and kill me?
Like Job’s friends should have done for the duration of his suffering, God sat with me in utter silence as I wiped the tears off my pillow. Under normal circumstances, having someone sit beside me in silence and understanding, if not empathy, would be comforting, even welcoming. But for God to do it? Somehow, it seemed wrong and cruel, especially since I was, in an albeit roundabout, twisted, and wrong way, searching for peace and an end to my pain.
A Conversation Starter
Despite fleeting moments of happiness and distractions, I think about dying a lot. Don’t worry, I’m not suicidal. Having an honest conversation about suicide is not easy. It is scary and uncomfortable. But it is necessary for lives to be changed and saved. I can be honest very few people, Michael Patton is one of them. More than once, Michael had to talk me down off the ledge. I truly believe that my meeting him was God-ordained.
The first time Michael had to talk me down, I told him, in no uncertain terms and after reading his post, “Suicidal Thoughts on Suicide,” exactly what I was thinking. I “played the tape through” (a phrase coined by my friend) and considered the outcome of such a drastic move.
Being Honest about Suicidal Ideation
I told Michael that I didn’t want him or my family and friends to feel pain from my decision. He replied, in his typical fashion, “Well, of course we would feel pain. Sheesh.” Having had a family member that committed suicide, Michael has thought and wrote a lot about the subject. In a very candid moment, he then wrote this:
I am actually surprised that more Christians don’t do it. I think are just five things holding us back:
- We know it is wrong and we don’t want to go against God.
- Fear of death. No matter how strong we are in the faith, God has built in a healthy fear of death. It will always be there when we think about killing ourselves.
- Not wanting to let others down or hurt them.
- The slight hope that our sadness will end and we will still find purpose and relevance down the road.
- The love of life. We are built to love life. It is ingrained in us. And when we are thinking straight, we remember our most base of human instincts and experience (breathing, eating, sex, aesthetics, social interaction, laughter, etc.), no matter how short-lived, bring us pleasure.”
I smirked and told him that 4 and 5 didn’t apply to me because “hope is hard”. He responded in the typical-Michael Patton way: “Well, that’s three of five! It’s settled. You’re not doing it… Man, I should train people for the suicide prevention hotline!”
I could do nothing but laugh and shake my head. He had me.
During another conversation that same week, after telling him that I was, essentially, a basket case of stress and anxiety, he said, “I’m sorry. I really don’t know what God’s plans are for you, so I don’t know if it will get better even though I think it will.”
I wholeheartedly appreciated the fact that Michael admitted he did not know if it was going to get better. Many Christians do not do that. Maybe because they are afraid to be weak or wrong, or maybe they just don’t want to let so much sadness go with a “Christian” answer to the problem. Whatever the case, I appreciate Michael showing me that he does not know everything, nor does he have all the answers to every question I throw at him.
An Interesting Realization
So, by the end of these conversations, I realized one important thing: God did actually respond to my suffering, just not in the way I thought He would. I was hoping for an overwhelming sense of peace or an audible voice booming down to me from above, but none of that happened.
Instead, God chose to respond to my death-wish by using my relationship with Michael to open my eyes a little wider. Michael makes me have these thoughts: maybe I am not alone. Maybe I’m not a failure, maybe I have something to offer to somebody, and maybe, just maybe, He does love me.
Sometimes, God heals and speaks to us not by grand gestures in the sky, or with a loud voice, but in the quiet moments, and by the people we already know, love, and trust. He places His wisdom and care in the hearts of men who share His love to those who need it most.
It has been a hard week, and the prayer at the beginning of this post still crossed my mind and made its way past my lips at random intervals, but not as fervent as before. Hopefully, it stays that way. By God grace, it should be easier to handle as I continue to be have open, honest conversations with the godly people around me who love me and are praying for me.