In recent news, we have all been notified that designer Kate Spade took her own life on June 5 by an apparent suicide. Just three short days later, on June 8 celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain hung himself in his hotel in France.
Without going into much detail of their personal lives, I read that both struggled deeply with depression and had sought help. My heart was broken when I read of their suicides. Throughout this past week, I have seen more and more people post about their struggles with suicidal thoughts and depression.
I just want to start off by saying you are not alone, many people -even the strongest people you know- have struggled with the very same demons. I think suicide can be considered one of the most heartbreaking ways to die because it leaves the ones left behind wondering if they could’ve done something to prevent it. I didn’t know Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain on a personal level, but I even felt helpless. I think to myself, what if I would’ve known them? Brought a smile to their face? Or even just told them how precious their lives were…
On a completely different note, I was surrounded by a lot of life this past month. On June 16th my baby nephew was born. My sister’s labor was intense, 30 hours plus, and I watched her cry and beg God to take the pain of childbirth away. Without going into too much detail of what the delivery room chaos looked like, baby Jude showed his face at 8:07 AM and instant tears streamed down my family’s face. It was like the pain, anguish, and fear of childbirth completely dissipated when that baby boy breathed his first breath.
After the initial excitement and emotion of Jude’s birth, my mind went crazy. I thought oh my goodness, to think people like Robin Williams, Kate Spade, and Anthony Bourdain all started out as a baby, full of life, innocence… breath… it made me wonder. What happens in between the start of life and death? My heart hurts every time I hear baby Jude cry so loud because he is hungry, or tired, or has a tummy ache. That’s when his mommy nurses him or rocks him and he is immediately soothed.
I think what happens between life and death (depression or suicide) is:
We mute our cries.
We shovel our insecurities deep down.
We mask our pain.
We lie to ourselves.
We hide in our shame.
We bask in our heartache.
We defend ourselves.
We go silent.
I realize a lot of people seek help for their anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. I also know people take medicine to aid in their depression, but I know people lose the art of living in the middle of it all. They look to cure their habits of distraught and release themselves from their demons. But, they forget that to combat death, they must embrace life.
The opposite of death is life. The opposite of darkness is light. The opposite of silence is sound.
The enemy, your demons, will convince you to seek death to release you from pain, seek darkness to hide from your past, and to seek silence to avoid rejection. My friends that is not how we all started out in this world. We all started off as babies and as children. Babies that cried when something was wrong, ate when we were hungry, slept when we were tired, and snuggled when we were held. Not every baby or child was raised with parents who cared for them deeply, I understand that. I understand that upbringing, alcoholism, drugs, and single parenthood may have affected our upbringing, but we have to be aware that somewhere between our first breath and our first depressing thought…we have lost something: life.
In the delivery room where I first held my baby nephew, Jude, I was reminded that Jesus was also born into this world as a little baby. A baby that cried, snuggled, nursed, bled, got sick, and grew up with a purpose. Just like you and me. Somewhere in between his first breath and his final breath he gained life for all of us. Something we consistently try to reject. As a Christian, I believe we have abundant life in Christ. Why? Because He conquered death. Death can’t hold you if you have life in the eternal Christ.
I know heads spin when someone we love commits suicide. I know there are no words for the pain we feel and the confusion we have when someone has the will to kill themselves. But I just wanted to encourage you that your Heavenly Father had the will to sacrifice his one and only son on your behalf, so that you too could have life abundantly. So that, somewhere between your first and final breath you wouldn’t battle these demons alone and submerge yourself in silence, but rather you would look to Him to snuggle you, soothe you, and give you true life.
So, as I sit here, staring at my Kate Spade laptop case and glance up at my baby nephew on the couch with my family, I am reminded that somewhere between life and death is the Savior of the world willing to grant us peace and everlasting life in Him.
“Therefore, Jesus said again, ‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep’”
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255