It’s one year since my serious examination of suicide

I got onto my Facebook this morning and posted the following note. I love how you can get all kinds of perspectives from the rank non-christian and the most saintly of saints. I friend them all because I’m such an obsessive networker.

12 months ago i took a few days off work – ok I buggered off and camped on the shore of a large lake. No-one knew where I was. I disappeared.

I had decided that the best way to deal with my situation was to top myself. The problem was I didn’t want my kids to grow up thinking their dad had bailed on them. I was bailing, I just didn’t want them to have to deal with the thought that they weren’t loved enough for me to stick around.

So the dilemma was, how does one top oneself and make it look accidental? If you’ve never spent much time on that question, then you probably wouldn’t think it’s very hard but I did. And it is. The main problem is you can’t fix up the scene afterwards, because you’re dead. I could give you my best answers, but it might not be good for someone in a similar place to be given ideas.

I couldn’t figure it out, so I came home and continued on doing what I did.

This raises lots of questions.

First, how does a pastor come to that point? Second, how does no-one in the church have any inkling if we truly are a community with deep relationships? Thirdly, what does that say about my ability to hide, and is it good for a pastor or christian to have that ability? Finally, what does it say about our brand of Christianity and faith?


Pearl:
Thankyou for your honesty. I’m reading with continued interest.
Simone:

All good questions. Authentic human relationships are still imperfect, sin and such get in the way. The world says we need (!) our own stuff, number 1 first, where as true community is about a shared experience without exception. With that, I suspect, comes accountability and transparency of emotions etc. I’m not sure it is possible in our western culture. To be honest I don’t think it would be a good idea for a pastor to be completely transparent to a congregation about all feelings and thoughts. Sharing struggles on a one on one may be appropriate, but every single person will hear what you share through their experience and interpret it accordingly, not always to their benefit. Everyone needs someone to regularly debrief with, especially leaders. We have been placed in this society by God at this time in history to minister to this generation, so cannot covet another era or culture their type of community, but continue to do the best we can with what we have where we are at. Suicide is also a spiritual battle. Those with great gifting on their lives are noticeably targeted. You are a great man Jack who has and will continue to accomplish great things. We love you and believe in you, just as and where you are.
Alix:
Our faith is just that – OUR FAITH… there are things ppl will never know about my life and the dark places I’ve been. Many a time I’ve questioned why no-one was able to pick up on things, but i guess now i understand that it was all only obvious to myself & that it was up to me to find help, also not to assume that ppl dont care because how do i know if they arent suffering also. I would hate to think how many times I may have missed seeing others problems. Therefore I’m cautious to jump to conclusions. Ultimately it is God alone that i can rely on & only He is the reason i am where i am today – faults, issues & all.(I know that sounds cliched but it is the truth)
I hope you can find the answers, but i’m always cautious about where I get them from – there are always ppl ready to feed the negative, thinking they are on your side but in reality they are encouraging your negativity so how can they be helping?… sorry, but i dont call that friendship.
To your first question – I believe it’s easy for a pastor to get to that point, these days. For a start – if you’re a pastor, you are basically walking round with a target on your back. You have to constantly fight off the devil, carry the weight & burdens of a lot of ppl on your back & still have to deal with the pressures of every day life. That is a damn tough job.
You know what, you gained a lot of respect as a pastor, whether you realise it or not – so you did something right. Whoah, sorry that kinda turned into a sermon! I just hope you dont feel alone with it all, there are many of us out there.

Jack:

Hey pearl, just thought i’d commemorate the anniversary of my grimmest moment by fessing up…

Simone, I think the pastor should b a window to another world. We really don’t have the authority to be an authority… so we can only offer a window to the christ who lives in us. All christians are called to be windows, but the pastor is one who is called to b a window for the community of believers in some sense. so I guess I’m wondering how good a pastor can be if he pulls down the shutters and hides what is happening in his soul. Then we resort to dishing out pithy pseudo spiritual information – which in the information age is not the greatest idea.

I agree, I’d never stand up and say “hi there folks, I’m suicidal”. Not helpful, but wouldn’t you think that if someone was suicidal and lived in true community that someone would know?…

Every leader should definitely debrief. This is a biggie. Why don’t pastors do it?

Thanx 4 yr affirmation, makes me teary. Haven’t had that for years…. bc of the antidepressants….

Alix, you’re a real thinker. I didn’t get to know you well enough to see that. There are dark places in all our lives that no-one will know about except God, and that’s ok. I’m certainly not blaming anyone, just asking the questions in the hope that the answers will maybe help some pastor somewhere…

I guess yr right about having the target on the back. I always thought the enemy would get me by the good ol David/Bathsheba trick, so i’ve been watching that one, and wouldn’t u know it, he gets me some other way. I think he may have won.

And yeah, I’m so glad I’m not alone. That’s probably why I want to speak up about it… so none of us have to walk our little black dogs alone anymore. Maybe we could have a virtual little black dog beach and go walking together…? 😛

Abbey:

I’m glad you didn’t. And wherever you are at right now, i’m praying that you are able to meet with God and he is able to heal that part of your life. I hope you never figure something like that out. There is a reason for your life. So much to comment….I would hope so much that you don’t reach that point again.

Wayne:
Jack, I hear and I can relate. I would never say understand, because no matter how similar the stories, each persons pain is different.

Anyway, I also found myself in the same situation, you think about the kids, the wife, you think about the people who will find out and how that will affect them. In the end I came to the conclusion that the best thing to do was to use the car and to put it into something jutting out that was about chest/head height so the airbag would be useless – quick and effective….

Ashley:

Hi Jack, you know what, I’ve been worried about you for quite a while now. Not really sure why but I just had this notion or something. So I wanna say sorry that I didn’t write to you sooner or say hi or pray for you or something. I think what stopped me was that I thought you might not remember who I was and just think I was a loony, but we are siblings in Jesus so it’s too bad! So I’m writing to you now 🙂
So you’ve been feeling down? What’s been going on?
Just to share, I went through a patch of depression in 2004-2005 so I know how it feels (well you don’t feel anything actually, but you know what I mean).
Can I say one thing? You can get through it 🙂
Chuck out stuff you might have learnt from church or counsellors about you making your life happen, and just go back to Jesus. Honour him as King, follow him humbly, thank him for taking away your sin, hold fast to him. This life is temporary but life with Jesus is forever so keep your eyes on him.
Hugs!!!!!! Love A.

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One Response

  1. Awesome blog!

    I thought about starting my own blog too but I’m just too lazy so, I guess Ill just have to keep checking yours out.
    LOL,

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