A couple of months ago, a friend came to me and told me his father-in-law had committed suicide at the age of 74. This man was an upstanding Christian. Of course, it shocked the entire family. As I reached out to his daughters, I began to reflect on how the after-effects of suicide had impacted my own life. It was something I never felt I had the strength to speak out about, but God has continued to "nudge" me with the promise he will give me the strength to face my horrific memories.
Suicide is on the rise throughout our country today. A recent article in The New York Times notes that for the first time, more Americans now die of suicide annually than car accidents. The most pronounced increase in suicide has come from middle-aged men, a group in which suicides recently jumped by nearly 50 percent. Even more troubling, suicide is escalating in the Christian community, and when successful, the person initiating the act is not the exclusive casualty. The ripple effect drastically impacts family and friends, and can continue on for generations. The ongoing damage from unhealed wounds can be vast and relentless.
I was raised in the Rocky Mountains of Montana where everyone had a gun just to survive. For hunting and keeping yourself safe from wild animals, guns were a must.
I was quite close to my two uncles: Jim and Darryl. They were like second fathers to me. I desperately needed strong father figures, since my own father was very unsafe—I was born into a family where sexual abuse was the norm.