FOR THOSE OF US LEFT BEHIND: CARRY ON IN PEACE
By Vernā Myers
Today we woke up to the news that Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. We are still processing Kate Spade taking her own life three days ago and yesterday the CDC informed us that U.S. suicide rates are up 25% since 1999.
Suicide is something that is happening every day, of course, but these high profile folks taking their lives reminds us that everyone is susceptible to the kind of reality-altering darkness, no matter what appears to be happening on the outside- all that glitters is not gold. For me the hardest part is to imagine the pain and the utter lack of hope that must motivate these desperate actions. I have so many questions; What are we to do with all this heartbreak? How do we comprehend the level of suffering or fear of living through another day that causes a person to succumb to the distorted perceptions of their reality; the pain their loved ones suffer; and the suffering of complete strangers who immediately see and feel the tragedy of suicide? How do we go forward with all of our brokenness; our doubts, fears, confusion and pains, because while most of us will not literally end our own lives, we have some personal experience with that sense of futility, despair, guilt and shame that often animates suicide.
How do we, those left behind, respond in the face of these tragedies and heal in a way that affirms life, ours and others? When I have this many questions, I find myself in prayer.
Today I pray:
We learn to accept our human frailties and reject self-imposed or external expectations
We recognize our own feelings of brokenness, and find the friends, communities and professionals we need to help us heal and hope for better
We realize we are loved and worthy of love, no matter what we have or have not done
We stop living lives of pretense, be our authentic selves, find what is real and align ourselves with that life
We forgive ourselves and others
We learn to recognize and be grateful for our blessings
We learn to be kinder, show more grace and support to others so that we all get to experience lives of joy, unconditional love and meaning
We Carry On In Peace.