For the Grace of God...
Updated: Feb 9, 2020
It's Saturday, my favorite day of the week. It’s a day that I’m not burdened by alarms and hurried work preparation routines. I can relax and lounge in my pajamas as long as I like – all day, even, if I choose. I can linger over coffee and have a second cup before I start my day. I can draw, paint, watch videos of other people painting… search for the song being played in the background of that video… find and play the full video of the song and fall in love with the young, 16 year-old artist… excitedly search for more of her music… and find that she commit suicide two weeks prior to her 17th birthday…
My heart sinks.
I read the detail-lacking story; look at the photos of her; search her face, her eyes – for something, anything, that tells the story of what might have happened to this young, beautiful, talented and creative soul to bring her to a place that life was too painful to live any longer.
I search my own memory bank to a time when I was her age – almost exactly her age when she died, when I was 9 days from my 17th birthday. I was going through one of the greatest losses of my entire life. I have many years between that time and now to compare experiences, and it was by far one of the most painful, nearly unbearable, times of my life. My fate could quite easily have been the same. In fact, there was a time a few months later that it almost was the same.
I want to say that if not for the grace of God it would have been the same, because… that’s what people say, right? But does that mean that for those who do commit suicide, that they didn’t have the grace of God? That he didn't care about them as much as he did me? Of course not! There are some things in life that we will never fully understand, and I just have to be okay with that. I am here. I am alive. I am living life more joyfully and fully than I ever have, but…
Today… as I look out my window, the sky is blanketed in hues of blue-grey, lightened and intensified by the varying depth and weight of the sun-blocking clouds. My spirit feels the same. My life is good and I am happy, joyful, even… so why this heavy feeling about someone I never met? Is it the shared understanding of a life that once felt too crushing to live? Is it the thoughts of what her parents must have felt, what they must STILL feel? After all, it was only two years ago. Surely their hearts still have a horrendous ache inside. Is it just my nature to so deeply connect with another’s pain as if it were my own? That’s a blessing and a curse, by the way!
Whatever it is, I feel it, and it makes me more aware of how important it is to have a Heart of Gratitude (more about that another time), to connect with my Creator daily, not just once a day, but all day. He keeps me centered. He keeps me going when life gets hard. He reminds me that I am free... truly free... to be loved and cared for in the most beautiful way that exists, because of Him. So, in that way, if not for Him… MY act of reaching out to Him, it is THEN that if not for the grace of God, my fate may well have been that of the beautiful and talented Hannah Stone. I hope you found the arms of God on your exit from this world, my dear.