My friend Mary reminded me of that old song that includes the line that the bluest skies you’ll ever see are in Seattle. These October days show clearly why someone might have that thought. It is rare for Seattle to have such a string of beautiful, clear, vivid days like we have been having.
In such a stretch as this, it is easy to forget the unending days of rain, the relentless gray that once made Seattle the suicide capital of the nation, and the storms of winter that are escalating in recent years with more ice and snow than the locals (not to mention the thousands of new folks) know quite how to deal with, considering the seven hills on which Seattle was built.
It is easy to give thanks on days like this, when we feel blessed by the warm sun and the gorgeousness of the changing colors of autumn.
But the days will return when we simply have to know that the blue skies are up there somewhere, when we have to have faith that warm days will be with us again, when we will give thanks even though there appears to be less reason to do so. And the reason we will do that is because the Bible is clear: “… in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (AMP).
These past four or five weeks have been one of the most sobering, disturbing times of my life—also one of the busiest as I have taken the lead in responding to the mundane, practical issues following on the passing, by her own hand, of my niece.
She was 42 years old, and by all outward signs, she had perhaps more possible avenues before her than many people do. She was bright, hard working, good looking, and talented in a number of ways. But two things are true: she could not see herself as others of us did, and we could not see how life was for her in the inner prison of her mind.
My initial reaction, which lasted longer than I would have preferred, was anger with her for the permanent choice she made, bringing devastation and horrible sorrow to so many, especially her mother and her children and more than one man who loved her. But as it fell to me to clear out her belongings from her home, I had the opportunity (not available to the others) to work through my feelings and come to experience her life in ways I never had before. In the process, I forgave her this act and began to pray for more for her spirit than simply that God would bless her soul.
The most frequent question people ask when a suicide occurs is: Why? And that’s the one question that cannot be fully answered because none of the possibilities really makes sense to the rest of us. There can only be acknowledgment of the wasted potential and sadness at the irreversible choice that was made.