"Don Miller says we're called to hold our hands against the wounds of a broken world, to stop the bleeding. I agree so greatly.
We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body, to move for things that matter. He is not invisible when we come alive. I might be simple but more and more, I believe God works in love, speaks in love, is revealed in our love. I have seen that this week and honestly, it has been simple: Take a broken girl, treat her like a famous princess, give her the best seats in the house. Buy her coffee and cigarettes for the coming down, books and bathroom things for the days ahead. Tell her something true when all she's known are lies. Tell her God loves her. Tell her about forgiveness, the possibility of freedom, tell her she was made to dance in white dresses. All these things are true.
We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don't get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won't solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we're called home. " (Excerpt from To Write Love on Her Arms by Jamie Tworkowski, find the full story here )
I hope you took the time to read that small portion of the story and I also hope that you take time to go and read the story in its entirety. To give you a little idea of what To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is, it is an organization that is there to present hope and help to those who are depressed, addicted or suicidal (or a combination of all 3). It is something that I believe in, the idea of presenting hope and letting people know that their stories matter, that they matter.
I am posting this for a couple reasons, the first is that in my believing in what TWLOHA does makes me compelled to say, you matter. Your story matters, you are important and I truly 100% deep down in my soul believe that.
The second reason I am posting this is because too often we hear about people committing suicide and maybe all they needed to hear was that simple message of 'you matter!' There was a tragedy recently in the community I live in. A high school boy took his life and left everyone in shock and questioning 'why?' I did not know this young man but the tragedy of someone taking their own life hits me hard every time. I still remember when I hiked to the top of half dome in yosemite. The beauty of it was spectacular and the hike was difficult and took a long time...but the thing I remember most is some people from the group I hiked with found a body on top of half dome. The man had taken his life. He took his life on top of this beautiful mountain. That is what I remember most. The tragedy of it struck me at my core because he took all the time and energy to climb to the top of this monster...all that time to think about life and the beauty around him. Yet he got to the top of the mountain, looked out at the beautiful landscape and still decided that life was too hard. It was too much. He couldn't do it any more.
I firmly believe that if we took the time to make sure we told people they matter, that we care and their story is important that we could change things. It isn't always about words either, acts of kindness work all the same.
I just wanted to share that with you all because it is something that is important to me. It is something that matters, it is something that we all are capable of doing. It is not always easy, and it is not something that I am good at, maybe you aren't either. But I would encourage you (and myself) to try it anyway. Be kind. Be gentle. Be understanding. Give your time. Give your ears to listen. Sit with people in the ashes, in their sadness.
Again, I would encourage you to see what TWLOHA is all about, the link is above. They just won the American Giving Awards and they are very deserving of this honor.
I hope that doesn't leave you with sadness. My hope is that you would find ways to be help and hope and an ear for these stories. Who knows, maybe we can be life changers.
With love from home,
p.s. I will leave you with these facts (you can also find these on the TWLOHA web site). If this doesn't move you to think these things are important to think about, I am not sure what will.
121 million people worldwide suffer from depression. (World Health Organization)
18 million of these cases are happening in the United States. (The National Institute of Mental Health)
Between 20% and 50% of children and teens struggling with depression have a family history of this struggle and the offspring of depressed parents are more than three times as likely to suffer from depression. (U.S. Surgeon General's Survey, 1999)
Depression often co-occurs with anxiety disorders and substance abuse, with 30% of teens with depression also developing a substance abuse problem. (NIMH)
2/3 of those suffering from depression never seek treatment.
Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide, and suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers. (NIMH)