A rope, a gun, a sharp object, prescription meds. These are only some of the ways I have seen people end their lives. In my job as a crime scene investigator I have been to these tragic scenes more often than I wish. The methods they choose are different, but they all have one thing in common: hopelessness.

They have different reasons. Some are in physical pain and can’t go on anymore. Some fear that they will be a burden to family. Some have decided that their life problems are insurmountable. Others do it out of anger, wishing to make those who have hurt them pay. No matter what the motive, they all leave behind pain and suffering. Their pain is over, but for the survivors the pain is just beginning.

As a pastor, more than once I have stood next to grieving family members who all ask me the same question, “Why?” They ask themselves what more they could have done, how have they failed the person who is gone. These are all tough questions, and they all seem impossible to answer.

If you are having trouble, suicide is not the answer. I guarantee you that life can get better, and I am living proof. You see, when I was sixteen I decided to end my life.

I was driving in my car late one evening, and I sped up and headed straight for a telephone pole. As my Rambler Classic hit 90 I closed my eyes and looked at the pole I had chosen to kill myself with. Suddenly I swerved to the right and the pole kissed the front fender. I had changed my mind. The pole had done a number on my car, so I made up some lie to my mom to cover up what I had done.

You know what’s really weird? I can’t even remember why I wanted to kill myself. Had I not come to my senses I would have missed out on so much. I would have missed meeting my wife for the first time. That first kiss under the tree at my Aunt June’s- the kiss that made both of us realize that something special was happening. I would have missed the birth of my two sons. I would never have coached their Little League games or watched them grow into the men they are. I would have never held my grandson, Soren. What a tragedy that would have been!

I have owned some incredible cars, stood on the edge of an active volcano in Nicaragua, seen beauty that is unimaginable. And I would have missed all of it for something that I can’t even remember! Something that seemed so horrible then, that isn’t even in my memory banks now. I thank God every day for the life He has given me- and I almost threw it all away.

If you are reading this and have thought that your life isn’t worth living, please take a moment and think ahead. Sure, life seems dire right now. Sure, the pain of a breakup or loss of someone is intense. But trust me, none of it is worth dying over. Please talk to someone, and if they don’t listen, talk to someone else. Drop me an email, give me a call, talk to a counselor at school, if you are in Imperial Valley, call the Sure Helpline at (760) 352-7873. They will listen, they will help. You can get through this, and your life will get better. A relationship with Jesus is the ultimate way to get the hope you are needing. Seek out a pastor or Christian friend and ask them about it.

This is not a religious issue, it is a human issue. Suicides are an epidemic, and we need to do all we can to stop them. Christians, tell the people in your life that you love them and that they are valuable. Hug them, cry with them, laugh with them, but most of all listen to them. Share your life with them and share Jesus.

Thankful that all I got was a creased fender… Jerry

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