Ten Thousand Angels
I went back and forth about writing this topic today because I know that there is the possibility for heated debate and emotionally charged feelings on the topic. So before I start, let me be clear in stating that anything discussed or brought up in this post is of my own opinions and not directly associated with the opinions of NSOB as a whole.
A prominent headline in the news this week was about the suicide of Country Star Mindy McCready. Many of you may not know of her work, but I wore out the track Ten Thousand Angels when I was in college. We listen to their music and watch them on TV. Our perception is they are carefree celebrities. When we hear they are struggling with depression or substance abuse our thoughts become, “What could be so wrong in their life.” The flawed logic is that celebrities are rich, famous, beautiful, and without strife. But depression and thoughts of suicide do not discriminate. It can affect any person, any time and for any reason. Children, teenagers, young adults, the elderly, short, tall, skinny, obese, rich, poor, and any ethnicity. It is a real problem with long term consequences for not only the individual but those who are left behind.
With regard to the bible, there are many stories depicting characters battling with internal struggles. Several saints and heroes faced depression and doubt (King David, the prophet Jeremiah and Job are just a few examples). While the bible has many stories of powerful and influential characters that are at odds with a stable life, there are only a few examples of suicide (six in the Old Testament and only Judas in the New Testament). Despite the scarcity of suicide in the Bible, the unfortunate act of taking one’s life is woven throughout our culture. The loss of life at one’s own hand seems even more tragic when it is compounded with a fall from stature or with the seemingly young and innocent. Fictional works capture the struggle and sadness of suicide as one of life’s tragic metaphors. From “Romeo and Juliet” to “A Brave New World,” and “Girl, Interrupted” there are too many works to list that depict the grief and struggle some must face in life. While these fictional works are emotionally exhausting to read, these stories give us a brief glimpse into the darkness and despair a fellow soul faces in those solitary times. If nothing else, these novels allow us to relate and hopefully understand.
The stories are hard enough to read in fiction. They are even harder to hear “in the real world,” they always are. While we see them on reality shows, we hear them on the radio, and we read about them in magazines…we don’t know them. They are human beings who have suffered and felt that there was no way out. It is often said that you should not judge a man until you have walked in his shoes. I will follow the bible on this one and I will understand that it is never simply black or white. May ten-thousand angels greet you at the gate…