I did not know the caliber, the make and model, but I knew that it was loaded. I knew that by pulling the hammer back and pulling the trigger, I could end it all. I was eighteen years old and felt like it wouldn’t matter one bit if I was here or not. In my heart, I thought that death was the best and at times only option. For days at a time, I thought that if I left, things would truly get better for everyone. My father and I were not talking and had not talked to each other is almost 4 months. My girlfriend at the time was not sure about our relationship and if it was worth it. I felt as if, all the things that were important to me, didn’t care about me at all.
I remember dreaming one night about my funeral and no one was there. I remember being able to see everything from above and every seat was empty. A priest said a blessing and then they rolled the casket out. That was, that was the sphere of influence I felt that I was having on people.
When I went to school and went to class, I put on the happy face for friends. I laughed, joked, and cut up a little bit even, but then I went home. Then I found myself alone. I though about my life and what it all meant. I pondered on all the things that I had heard in church about suicide being your get-into-hell free card. That thought scared me a little and gave me pause. But at the same time, I wondered about this whole Jesus thing. I questioned faith, God and if He was really there. I started to look at Him in the same light, I saw my dad. Someone that did not want to talk to me at the moment and someone that had little time for me.
God was just a man in the sky, laughing at the turmoil we felt. I was angry at Him and did not understand how he could allow someone who believed in Him to have so much pain. How He could sit up in his mansion in the clouds with all those rooms and be all about loving His creation, and yet, I felt like I was meaningless to Him.
I had no church family that I could truly call my own. The Catholic church group that I was a part of at the time, did not want me around because I carried an NIV Bible with me and studied that, and the local Baptist church group did not think I had a whole lot to offer because I had love for Catholics. Somehow even those that were supposed to love unconditionally couldn’t love me.
So I thought about pulling that trigger. I even cocked the hammer back and raised it to my head. But I couldn’t pull the trigger. Was the Lord in the room with me when I chose not to pull the trigger, I am not sure, but I know who was. While not physically there, my brother was in the room. I started to think about the simple truth that if I went through with this and pulled the trigger, he would most likely be the one to come home and find me. He would be the one that would be terrified and horrified and scarred for the rest of his life. He loved me when no one else seemed to. My brother wanted me around when everyone else was too busy to care.
And I could not let him be the one to find me. I decided that I had to set an example for him and this was not the one that I wanted to set. I put the gun back where it was stored and walked back to my room. I cried for a while, no knowing what to do.It was in this moment, that I once again started to fall in love with Job. It was in this moment that I started to feel Christ calling out to me. I had found rock bottom and there He was waiting for me. I did not pray a sinner’s prayer that night.
I prayed a prayer of letting go and trusting Him. I yelled at Him and told Him that I was tired of doing things on my own. I died that night. I died to self and decided to let Him take control of my life for a while. I am sure that I believed that I could take it back if things didn’t get any better. The gun would always be in the same place, if I needed it.
On that night, I became crucified with Christ though. As the days passed on, I started to feel like I was carrying less and less baggage with me. I started to trust Him more and let go of myself. I questioned religion and slowly gave up on it, but I started to love my brothers and sisters in Christ. I started to look beyond others for my self worth and focus on helping others see their value. I told my mom, dad and brother that I loved them. I started to look for ways to reach out to my dad instead of expecting him to always reach out to me. I let go of my anger with him and the bitterness that I still tasted from time to time from the divorce. I was dying and I loved every minute of it.
As I look back at that point in my life, I am constantly reminded that Jesus asked that the cup be taken from Him before He started on the path to crucifixion and even He cried out in confusion about being forsaken by His father, but that is not the end. The death of Christ and our death to self is not the end and I hope that you will continue on this journey with me as I wrap it up in my next post.