Search Results

  • Do we really Thirst? (Sermon)

    This was given as a sermon to Endicott UMC, Fairbury UMC, and Daykin UMC on March 24th, 2019: Our psalm today, psalm 63 said, “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Do I really thirst for God? Do I really find satisfaction in God like I do a large cool cup of water? And our passage in Isaiah today, Isaiah 55 said, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! How can we buy bread and drink when we have no money? I think what God is telling us is that what he offers is free. And what he offers satisfies like water, or food. So often it doesn’t feel like that is true. +I pray, and I don’t feel like I get an answer. +I try to read the Bible and often I get what I want out of it. So many other things seem more satisfying in this world. · I eat food and I get full. I ate had a double burger on Friday night a Criner’s in Endicott, and I only ate one quarter of it before I was full and had to take the rest home. That satisfied… for a time. · I spend time with fun people, and I am entertained. · I indulge in other immediate pleasures, like watching YouTube, or scrolling Instagram and for a short time I am satisfied. So what does it look like to be satisfied by God in this world of errands and emails and playing cards and watching sports? Church told me it’s all about relationship with God, but I’ve been disappointed. It’s not like any worldly relationship I’ve ever had before. · I can’t get a text from God like I can my friends. · I can’t see him like my friends when I sit across from them at coffee. · I can’t call him and hear his voice like when I call my dad. · I can’t hold him like I hold my girlfriend. So I wonder, is this really any relationship at all? It is when I get discouraged about this that I try to picture this metaphor. I picture God and I are on a ship and he is my a quiet captain at the helm. He is sailing us into the sea of my life and he’s just happy we’re together on this journey. I talk his ear off, about what I want and what I think I need. I ask a lot of stuff but he rarely directly answers. He mostly does a lot of silent nodding, just listening, but he wants to hear my thoughts and is always quietly steering my ship. Sometimes I can tell he wants me to fix my sails or waterproof the deck, stuff that I don’t want to do. But if I do it our ship works a lot better. Sometimes scary storms or pirates show up on the horizon and I freak out and tell him I just want to go to a happy place. I can just keep putting up the sails or running up flags of peace, and other stuff when I know he wants me to. I just do what I can get up each day and trust him to sail my ship. And I go to sleep at night trusting him at my helm. And when I wake up I realize that he has sailed us to safe waters again. Even if it wasn’t where I thought I wanted to go I realize he heard me, and was watching out for me and has led me somewhere I know is good. If I can trust he hears me and wants my best and steers my ship accordingly, it helps me feel a little more like it is a satisfying relationship, and I can keep on talking to him. But sometimes I think he does respond to me. But He’ll use other things in the world to communicate with me. · Sometimes He will bring good people into my life and their words can be His words to me. Their hugs can be like His arms around me. · And sometimes it’s the storms he brings me through that teach me in a deeper way than words from a worldly mentor could be. · Sometimes when I have a big life decision, He speaks in the form of doors to my future that seem to open. · And sometimes he speaks through what I learned His heart to be in Sunday school. Because of that I often know what his answer would be to my questions. · It’s been words from an Adele song before, When she tells me, “Hello, it's me. I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet” That breaks my heart and brings me back to prayer again. · Sometimes it is words from the Bible. I tell God what I’m worried about and I’ll open to a scripture that seems to address that exactly. But if I’m lucky, if I am paying attention when He speaks, I can hear his voice as actual words in my mind. People have told before that they hear God’s voice directly only a few times in their life. Like a voice that says something straight into our heart. And it is sometimes like, “Stop that.” Or “Go help that person.” But more often, for me and from what I hear from others, it is usually things like, “I love you so much.” and “You are my son.” Or “You are my daughter.” and “I am so in love with you.” And it’s when I realize that God is next to me steering my ship and talking with me throughout my day through circumstances, other people, the Bible, and every now and then his actual words, that I feel really deeply satisfied. Even so satisfied that the next day I thirst for more of Him again. Raw Spoon

  • Jesus Spoke to Me Through Adele

    I was walking through a store and started humming the song “Hello,” by Adele (it had been on my playlist from the day before). A few moments later it came on the radio above me. I thought, hmm, that’s weird. Then, I was in the car when one of my besties called and told me stories of miracles and hearing God’s voice. After I hung up I thought, “Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve felt that way. So long since I believed that was possible.” When I got home I searched youtube for “seeking God” and listened to the first sermon that came up. It was by TD Jakes (who I didn’t realize at the time another friend had been encouraging me to watch). TD Jakes said we have to pursue God in the same way He has pursued us. He said, maybe you need to go somewhere. Maybe you need to do something drastic. He even said, “If anyone is listening on the internet right now, he may be calling you to get up and go somewhere.” So I hit the road. I thought I could drive to the International House of Prayer just outside of Atlanta. I was just hoping to hear God’s voice. I had felt distant from God for so long. Numb in all areas of my life. But that is what has allowed me to be content. Quiet. Empty. Content. No more pain. I didn’t have to deal with desire because I didn’t let myself care deeply about anything anymore. I got stuck in traffic and realized I might not get any time at the actual House of Prayer! God, you might have to tell it to me now, here in traffic. I remembered the Adele song that had popped up twice earlier in the day. I shrugged and put the song on. Maybe God could speak through an Adele song. (to hear the song and keep reading, push play below) Raw Spoon

  • STORY: Christmas Dancer Boy

    Jakar tried to hide it so it didn’t show up in his walk. Or maybe he could just finally be his true self in how he walked and moved and talked, now that his dad had finally kicked him out. Jakar adjusted his hood to deflect the rain. So rarely did it rain here in Jerusalem. But it seemed only appropriate on the night he felt most desperately like crying. But he had to be strong. He had been on the streets for 5 days and was famished, dirty, cold and tired. He had just been kicked out from the alleyway stoop under which he had been squatting for the last two days. Things had just been so hard in Jerusalem for as long as he could remember. Fighting all the time. There were a few conspiracy theory bloggers who had been speculating about the return to power of Hezekiah’s family line. Two and a half thousand years prior, there had been a family of rulers known for their justice, wisdom, and virtue. They had been full of integrity and they made righteousness a prized virtue which all seemed inspired to pursue. They purified the city of corruption. They say this kingdom of Hezakiah had been peaceful and all were provided for and productive. Jakar wished a Jerusalem like that were really possible. The weird thing was though, that one of the current Prime Minister’s head aids had retired saying he had strange and ominous intel. He was caught saying in a rather obscure internet video, “The kin of of king Hezakiah is at hand.” Jakar almost couldn’t even let himself hope in that. Now as he walked through the streets the buildings got smaller and further apart. He felt like he would have to find a place outside of the city in order for no one to bother him. He looked up at the series of lights along the dirt road that ran over the hill outside the city. He saw the tip of a small structure, a shepherd’s stable, over the top of the hill, a ways from the road. Surely the shepherd would not be there in this weather and maybe there would be some food, at least what was meant to feed the beasts. As he got further from the lights of the city he let his delicate hips sway a little more naturally as he walked. He should have locked his bedroom door when he heard the music coming through the window, at least before he let himself dance to it. Why did it have to be the absolute worst person who caught him at just that moment. He climbed the road up the hill, his hood low over his head. He left the road when he was closest to the stable. The leather of his shoes were soaked in cold after only a minute of walking in the grass. He saw something move in the stable, a dim movement of light coming from the doorway. He slowed and stabilized his walk. It wasn’t like he would let himself fall in love with a man or anything. That was probably what his father thought it meant. He still wanted to try and marry a nice woman and raise a family. Jakar understood it was shameful to be a girly boy. But it was who he was. He approached the stable very slowly. He stopped at the doorway and called, putting on a masculine air. “Hello. Shalom. Any room for a wet man in there?” A baby’s cry surprised him. And then a mother’s pleased cooing. A man responded. “Show yourself, please.” Jakar pulled off his hood and carefully pulled back the curtain which was a blanket draped over a wire, so they could see him. A mother was tending to her child, lying in a sheep trough padded with an old down jacket. The man walked toward Jakar gripping something underneath his cloak. A gun, perhaps, Jakar thought. The man stopped when he saw him clearly, and after a moment’s discernment looked back at the mother. She seemed pleasantly occupied with the baby and the man gestured to Jakar, “Yes, young man. Come in.” Jakar ducked past the curtains and tucked himself against the wall, wide eyes. The man saw he meant no harm and reached a hand out to welcome him. Jakar gave his best manly handshake and nodded. “Thank you.” They quickly both looked back at the baby. The woman looked up, her kind eyes met Jakar’s and she said, “You made him laugh. He heard your voice. First time in a while he’s laughed.” She saw Jakar was enthralled by the baby so she motioned him to come nearer. And he did. When he was close enough the baby’s eyes went to him. And did not leave. Jakar knelt beside the trough. The baby was silent, studying him. Jakar smiled. A moment later the baby smiled back. He must have been only a few months old. Those eyes. So clear and innocent. Jakar kind of wished the baby could see into him. This baby wouldn’t judge. “We’ve had a pretty hard journey.” The mother said, obviously pleased the baby seemed happy. “It’s been hard on this little one. But look, he’s smiling now.” Jakar bobbed his head and he smiled at the babe. He opened his eyes and mouth wide. It wasn’t a strong man’s gesture, but the baby laughed and kept watching him intensely. Jakar brought his hands in front of him, with stiff strong fingers, snapping lightly. The baby kept his eyes on Jakar’s eyes. Only when he let his hands loosen and move more gracefully did the baby look at them and release another delighted squeak. Then they heard several sets of footsteps outside. The man got up and pulled the gun fully out this time. A man’s deep foreign accent said, “Greetings. We come to pay our reverent respects.” In a few moments they were inside. Seeing who it was the father quickly put his gun down. Three dark-skinned men. Perhaps from Africa. Two of them were the body guards of the third. He was dressed in a very fine suit, a black tie, and a fashionable trench coat. They bowed at the door, a very awkward motion. Jakar didn’t see anyone bow these days, except in prayer. The man slowly looked up and saw the child. He looked to the parents and said, “I flew in as soon as I heard about the arrival. Just this afternoon. We took an old Fiat, or something, and left it a mile back, behind the closed fueling station, just so no one would raise any questions and find you. The father nodded and said, “Yes, okay. Please– please yes enter.” The father said it in a reverent way that made Jakar conclude this was a very important man. “How did you find us, if you don’t mind me asking. I just don’t want others to find us.” Then the new man rose as he took out his cell phone. He approached cautiously to show it to the father. It was a text from somebody with a google map link attached. The father glanced to the top to see who it was from and immediately nodded. “Okay yes. It’s very much an honor to have you visit us. Sorry for these humble surroundings.” The well dressed man pointed to his phone indicating who the text was from as he said, “The boy’s father warned me it would be like this. But knowing him, I wouldn’t expect anything less. Any level of luxury seems to be just fine for him.” The man with the gun must not be the boy’s father, Jakar realized. Maybe just the baby’s body guard. To take care of the baby and his mother. “I told him I wanted to come meet the newborn,” The black man’s deep voice filled the room. “I would not receive no for an answer. I absolutely had to be present to honor the next king of Hezakiah’s line. I have brought this for the young prince.” He turned his attention to the baby as he reached back for his assistant to give him something. It was an intricately adorned box. The man bowed low in front of the baby and then held the box in two hands over him. He opened it and it quietly began to play. It was a beautiful music box. The man reached into the box and retrieved an envelope. “This is the paperwork for a $50 million dollar endowment in the young prince’s name. It is a gift from my kingdom to the destiny of yours. I look forward to the day when my people will live in peace with your great kingdom.” They all looked down to the baby, whose eyes looked at the guilded box for a moment, then to the well-dressed man. But then the baby looked back to Jakar huddled in the corner. The man handed the box to the woman who received it graciously. She set it beside her and let the music chime slowly and beautifully. The well-dressed man and his men settled against the wall, as they realized how enthralled the baby was with the thin boy, (or was that a girl? No just a pretty boy) in the corner. “He likes you quite a lot.” He mused kindly. A deep voice. One that probably commanded troops and made decisions for his nation. “Why don’t you come near, young one. Be brave and be loved by this little one, for his kingdom will be love.” Jakar swallowed and slowly pulled himself out of the shadow, obeying the powerful man. And as he approached the baby smiled wildly again. He wiggled his tiny hands in excitement. Jakar bobbed up and down again, near and far, back and forth. The baby’s eyes tried to track and he broke out in giggles. It bled out into the night but it was such a beautiful sound to all, they deemed it worth the added risk. A few moments later the sound of many feet, and… was that hooves approaching outside? All the men pulled out guns and aimed them at the door. “Hello.” Came a man’s soft voice. “I come in peace. I saw you in a dream. May I please approach?” And a moment later they saw a face peek around the curtain. It was a sun-baked and bearded shepherd. His sheep were following him. “Last month I had a dream that said the great family of. . .” he struggled to say it, looking at all the people in the tiny hut, “the family of the king Hezakiah would visit this place tonight.” He glanced down at the baby and his eyes filled with dumfounded awe. The mother spoke up. “Oh yes, come in. I saw you in your house as we passed through the city and God told me you would visit. “I wondered if I heard correctly. And here you are. Please don’t fret. Come in please, good shepherd. Thank you for letting us stay in your stable. I think it is yours?” The man nodded but his eyes were watering, still staring at the baby. It was only a whisper that could come out of his mouth, “I have hoped for your kingdom to come for so long. My grandparents starved to death in this stable, discarded by this regime. And today you have forever redeemed my broken family by coming to this place.” He came near and looked at the other men to assure them of what he was about to do. “I brought a gift.” He pointed to his coat before slowly pulling it out. It looked like a slightly larger cel phone. “Members of my family own the companies developing technology for the state of Israel. We have many technologies far more advanced than public tech in this world. What we have developed could almost assuredly hack into and bring down most of the empires in the world today. This phone is like a key to the whole system, it has all the automated software to do so, and once it’s in cel tower range it will stay always updated. Of course the current regime would never let go of this. But I give it to this little one in good faith as my allegiance to his office and his court.” He showed the screen to the mother and said, we developed this app for when the time is right.” He turned it on, swiped to a screen and touched an app icon. She nodded her understanding. Then he turned it back to the child as beautiful colors moved across the screen. He watched the baby as he said, “But for now the app displays colors that are calculated to entertain and develop the mind of young ones. When the time is right he will be able to unlock all the power inside.” They all watched the baby glance at the screen for a moment, then glance at the man, and lock back on Jakar. The mother nodded and received the phone with a reverent “Thank you.” The new man settled in and they all marveled as the baby would not take his eyes off of Jakar, against the wall again. The mother said, “I think he loves you, tender hearted one. Please come, if you would like, and let him see you again.” And then with the intuition of a mother she tenderly added. “I think he would like to see all of you.” Jakar slowly, cautiously approached again. So scared. He glanced at the other men in the room. Men of such import. And yet this child wanted to look at him. Jakar bobbed his head and his eyebrows up and down and back and forth again. He began to do it in time with the music box. The baby laughed in delight. He loved watching Jakar. And slowly Jakar started moving the rest of his body. More of it. First in a mechanical, strong and masculine way. But it seemed to only get him so far with the child, who would not stop looking at Jakar’s face. Jakar could feel the dance inside of him wanting to get out. He felt his arms and legs want to break off the fear and shame of what society expected of him like a shell. His hips wanted to loosen and he knew how he would throw his head and shoulder-length hair. Then the finely dressed man laughed a good-hearted laugh and spoke as Jakar danced. “Young one. What did you bring for this little baby!? What gift do you bring for your king?” The boy heard it as condemnation. That gruff voice saying he was not enough. But he didn’t care. That man could hurt him later but this moment with this special baby who seemed to see and love him right now was his. But the man continued, in a strong African accent, although a thread of kindness and joy become more evident. “I brought lots and lots of money, and he brought power.” He gestured to the shepherd. “You may think you have nothing to give. But behold, this baby just wants you. Give him all of you, young one! I can see it in you. Give him the gift you have in you!” And a boisterous laugh came out of the man. This startled Jakar into a new freedom. It cracked whatever shell was left on him. Jakar let his arms and head and hips and legs flow in rhythm and melody with the beautiful music box. Spinning and swinging low to the ground. It no longer became masculine or feminine. It was pure objective beauty in shape and movement. Flexibility balanced with strength, arching limbs. Spins and leaps. Even the fingertips hovered before the baby making their own fascinating stories. It was becoming one of his best dances. All watched in awe. But it was most joyously received by the baby who laughed and swung his arms and legs as if he too wanted to dance with as much of himself as Jakar did. Jakar had nothing to give as a gift but himself. His true self. So he gave all he had. And he gave it for the shining eyes of that joyful little heart. That heart that saw and loved all of him more than sparkling riches or consuming power. Raw Spoon, 12-9-18

  • God's Employee

    Hello sir or Madam, It sucks when a boss tells us how to do something when we think there’s a better way. How do we respond? I’ve been known to do it my way anyway to prove myself right. When I walked out of my boss’ office the other day, after being proven wrong, I realized something: God’s ultimate goal for us is to teach us to obey his commands, even when we don’t understand them, kind of like a boss. So, what better way do we have to practice and demonstrate this trust and devotion than being a loyal employee here on earth and giving our bosses exactly what they ask for. Especially when we think they’re wrong. Raw Spoon

  • Click into the story

    So again, I woke up with a racing mind. Many unproductive directions. An hour or two into my day I was still like, "Where is all this going?" I feel like I'm wasting precious hours of my day stuck in unproductive, unhappy cycles. And so then I came to do this prayer time I've committed to every morning at this coffee shop. (I put it on my website so anyone could show up to join me. It holds me accountable). And since I've been committed to this prayer time I've been learning about pressing in. So as I prayed and it seemed like wasted time, like my mind was playground of unruly children running in all directions, I just kept trying. I kept pressing in. A critical part of this blog is this little detail: I was listening to this playlist of music as I tried to pray. I often listen to it. It's my prayer time playlist. And at about 45 minutes of sitting in silence at this coffee shop, struggling through wildly wandering thoughts I started to cry. Something was starting to engage. It was partly because of the music. I'll tell you why in a second. But first a little about the playlist. It's a weird playlist. Like, I have Adele's "Hello" up first because she says, Hello, it's me I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet To go over everything and then she says, Hello from the other side I must've called a thousand times And I like to picture her voice as God saying, I've been waiting for you here. And she sings it with such heartbreaking longing that I begin to get an idea that God really, really wants to connect with me again. And another song is John Mayer's "Say." I really like the song and think it applies pretty well to trying to pray. It says, Take all of your wasted honor Every little past frustration Take all of your so-called problems, Better put 'em in quotations Say what you need to say Say what you need to say Say what you need to say And there are also a bunch of worship songs on the playlist by John Mark McMillan and Hillsong and stuff. But I think I realized why this stuff helps me in prayer. It clicks me into a story. A story with a soundtrack. Something about soundtracks in movies tell us this moment of struggle is for a purpose. This hard emotion is beautiful and has a purpose to forwarding this beautiful story. Clicks me into a story. Being part of a story suddenly makes things make sense. All of the wandering events and thoughts have a purpose. They all are part of this story of me wandering through a desert of distraction trying to find the love that is searching for me. And then the wandering, the pressing in no longer just feels like a random psychological lasso-ing practice, but an underdog in need fighting off enemies of distraction and depression trying to hear the voice of her lover pursuing her. And we see somewhere that her lover is pushing through all the distractions and climbing over the mountains in the landscape in pursuit of her. Raw Spoon, Jan 11, 2020

  • Guest Post: help with Suicidal Thoughts

    Today I introduce you to a good friend. We were in small group together years ago and have stayed friends since. I think it is in part due to both of us being aware of our brokenness. If you know of someone who struggles with suicide, please share with them these tools Dave has found to help him navigate the struggle with suicidal thoughts. *** HOPE FOR SUICIDE. Hello my name is Dave Saunders. I have lived with suicidal ideation for 25 years. I had my first suicidal thought in 1995 when I was a senior in college. It was only a few months into my senior year and my three best friends, who were a year older than I, had graduated and moved on. I felt so alone. I felt like I had no one to talk to and no one with whom to hang out. Since that time, depression and suicidal ideation has still been something I’ve struggled with. However, I have steadily improved and am still here! Though I have been hospitalized many times for suicidal thoughts, I have never made an attempt. I wanted to write this account because I wanted to offer people hope. I must admit, I have not found the “answer” for living with suicidal ideation from a clinician. I have had to come up with the “solutions” to suicidal thoughts largely on my own. I am not suggesting that a person boycott the mental health system. However, I am relaying that it took a lot of perseverance, persistence, and effort to navigate my way through this SERIOUS medical condition. I want to share some of what has worked for me in hopes that it will help you. I must share a caveat: if you live with suicidal ideation, I believe that you also must come up with your own reasons to live. No one can “save” you – you must find the reasons that work for you. But I do believe that what I’m sharing below may provide you with some things to consider. 1. I believe that every person was placed on this planet for a REASON. You-yes YOU- can do something better than anyone else who has ever lived and who will ever live. God has given you gifts and a personality that he has never given to anyone else. He wants to use you to bless other people – your friends, your family, your community. Don’t give up or feel that your life is hopeless or POINTLESS. You may hear a “voice” in your head that says, “You’re no good at anything. Your life is pointless.” Don’t believe that voice-it is a lie! You have a purpose in life, a REASON for being here. Viktor Frankl wrote, “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.” Man’s Search for Meaning, p. 109. Discovering your purpose and doing it is what life is all about. Living for your purpose brings joy and satisfaction. Never give up because God will NOT give up on you. 2. You are LOVED. Even if you don’t love yourself, God loves you. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us…We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:10,19. You may FEEL like no one loves you or no one cares. Again, you may FEEL like no one loves you. You may have just had a fight with a friend or a family member or just gotten a divorce. You may feel that you don’t have any friends or haven’t found a significant other. But God loves you more than anyone could ever love you. God ALWAYS loves you. “Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever.” 2 Chronicles 20:21. This may sound obvious, but God does NOT want you to end your life! He will NEVER STOP LOVING YOU no matter what you’ve said, felt, thought, or done. No matter what your situation is, God is there. He will “never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5. You may feel that you’ve made a horrible mistake and that no one will forgive you or that you cannot forgive yourself. But God will ALWAYS forgive you (1 John 1:9). Don’t give up on yourself because God will NEVER give up on you. You are loved. 3. PAIN hurts. Again, PAIN hurts. I do NOT want to minimize what you are going through or what you HAVE gone through. Sometimes it feels like this problem that you are experiencing will NEVER end. And you want so desperately to get out of the pain – to END your pain. It may seem that suicide is the only answer. God HEARS us when we are in pain. “Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.” Psalm 55:17. God IS listening. I don’t know why, but God does not promise that we won’t experience pain. Even Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” John 16:33. But God DOES promise to be with us and carry us THROUGH our pain. Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Robert Frost wrote, “The best way out is always through.” Sometimes we have to go THROUGH pain before it will subside. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Unearned suffering is redemptive.” We may not realize it, but we learn from pain. The pain of touching a hot stove teaches you not to touch it again. Sometimes pain brings things out of us that would never come out otherwise. Enduring THROUGH the pain builds our character. Dealing with pain teaches us perseverance, creates courage in us, enables us to learn coping skills we never would have otherwise, and teaches us to NEVER GIVE UP. When we are in pain, all we want is for it to END. We think ending our life will end the pain. But ending your life will only create more pain – those who love you will be in pain and the world will lose you- the world will miss out on the beauty you bring by existing. In addition, PAIN ENDS. It WILL subside. Job, a character in the Bible, experienced such suffering that he wished he’d never been born. But Job learned something about himself and about God through his experience, and God richly blessed him. You also will receive an incredible blessing if you don’t give up. “BLESSED is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12. God wants to reward you and build your character through your experience. Romans 5:3-4 says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Hang in there. Stay positive. One day at a time. God is teaching you something and he’s building your character. 4. Connection. We were made for connection, for relationships. You may not have those relationships right now. You may feel that NO ONE ELSE ON EARTH has ever or will ever be in as much pain as I’m in right now. But pain is a universal human experience – everyone feels it in different ways and at different times. Don’t allow the pain to ISOLATE you – seek connection with someone – anyone! Call a crisis line or a “warm line.” Talk to someone; try to connect. People may not understand what you are going through, but they can relate. Don’t believe the lie that, “Nobody cares.” Again, don’t isolate. The band 311 wrote a song called, “Beyond the Grey Sky.” It says, “Don’t give up the fight to stay alive and even if you have to, find the reason of another’s pain if they lose you. If not for your self than those around who care like I do. One day you’ll see the clear blue beyond the grey sky.” Don’t let anything bring you down or make you feel worthless because you mean the world to someone. We all need help from others from time to time; we need each other and we were created to exist in community. The apostle Paul writes, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ…But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be NO DIVISION in the body, but that all its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:12, 24-26. Our community functions better with you as a part of it! We would all suffer if you were gone! 5. Suicidal thinking is often a manifestation of depression, anxiety, and even anger. Don’t make decisions when you are in a depressed state of mind. We may feel ANGRY about our situation or even angry at God. “Why would he EVER allow me to feel this way? He doesn’t care about me- he is a cruel God. I want NO PART of this any longer. This is NO WAY to live. It must end NOW – it has to end NOW. This is TOO MUCH. I can’t handle it any longer. There is NO WAY out of this. My only option is to end my life.” When I am thinking this way, I am not in the right state of mind. I’m using words like NEVER, ALWAYS, FOREVER. This is All or Nothing thinking, which is something I do when I’m not thinking clearly. DO NOT make decisions when you are in a depressed state of mind. Trust others’ judgment and even your own judgment when you are feeling well. As the saying goes, “This, too, shall pass.” I hope this has helped you. Remember, sometimes it takes hard work dealing with suicidal thoughts and fighting just to stay alive. I will leave you with one last quote: “Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.” *** Thank you, Dave for redeeming your struggle in ways that can help others! I value your friendship. And your struggle has in fact helped me with my struggles. I haven't struggled with suicidal ideation, but your journey has born fruit that has helped me with mine. If you'd like to get in touch with Dave, I believe that can be arranged. And this would bring me value by being able to make that connection. Also, as I read Dave's words about everybody having a purpose to live for, it reminded me of a book I wrote/illustrated a few years back. It is about a man who does not know what talent or skill he can use to give to the world. But, he realizes he can always bring value to the world by bringing joy to others. The book is called "Pick-me-up Lines for Nice People" and can be found here! Raw Spoon (reposting Dave Saunders' essay on dealing with suicide) 6-1-20  |  (303) 359-4232

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