The words ricocheted through my brain, disconnected from the event which inspired the comment; a young child yelled at by his mom for spilling, or uh… possibly tossing, his hot chocolate.
For me, though, these words immediately brought to mind a conversation from years ago:
“It was not an accident,” my friend told me. “It was suicide.”
The idea of suicide was impossible to get my head around - then and now. Perhaps I am simply too big a commitment-phobe; but dying seems like a pretty big decision. How does someone reach that point where they believe death is better than life? My friend was fragile; this I knew about her. It wasn’t the first time she had tried…. And it should not have been a surprise.
Don’t get me wrong… there have been times in my life when darkness has surrounded me; when I have felt that the life I am living is somehow unreal and disconnected from the world. I remember these times particularly at the holidays, when darkness and light are metaphors for so much more; and when so many people experience real depression and alienation.
Usually at these moments, when I dwell in the loneliness of being an individual, I find myself faced with a vision of
real difficulty; a homeless person begging on an icy cold street; a mother of 5 kids with a shopping cart full of macaroni and cheese and food stamps to pay for them; an old person, alone in the window of a dark old house, staring out at nothing.
I am grateful for these moments because they force me to realize that I am only grazing the surface of what it is to despair. And…. I am brought low, humbled by what some others must see; that in fact I am surrounded by light and that the darkness is only because my eyes are shut.