I Have Wanted to Die

Why would she do it? someone asked over lunch.
And I wonder, should I say that I can think of reasons why?
But no, that’s a transparency I can’t afford in this place, in this space
but here on the blog, between you and me, I can say aloud:
I have wanted to die.
Not now.
Now I remember that feeling, those thoughts, but they aren’t my present reality
If they were, I wouldn’t – couldn’t tell you.
But I have wanted to die
a number of times.
For the same reasons, I suppose, I would struggle as a schoolgirl over an assignment I could not perfect.
Tearing page after page off my yellow, lined tablet because of an incorrect spelling, a malformed letter, a changed idea
unwilling to hand in work marked with cross-outs and erasures, reluctant to expose my imperfection to judging eyes, teary-eyed and frustrated as I erased so hard I made holes in the page
and sometimes, that has been my life.
I have wanted to die over the frustration that clean slates are a myth, that do-overs are only for playground games, and that every life is permanently marked in unforgiving inkpen, full of holes from the efforts to over-correct, or blotted with tear-stains that blurred the words until it’s impossible to discern the original meaning
and I am forced to face that I must continue working on a page riddled with my own mistakes
or someone elses’.
And that has sometimes made me so deeply sad, so troubled, so weary
that I have longed to lay life down,
devised plans I wondered if I’d have the courage to carry out,
and then marveled at the subtle twist of my mind that bravery now looked like giving up
instead of carrying on.
And I have gone days with this resident sadness.
Others offering empty words about tomorrow being another day
but sometimes another day is very much like the one before and when they string together so that months, a year passes in trouble and sorrow
life just gets too heavy to carry
even when Jesus is bearing the burden.
And that has even made it harder sometimes
knowing Jesus
because my mind knows the Truth, and when I am in my right mind I believe,
but when this sadness comes I feel locked inside the shame of knowing I have everything in Him
but it doesn’t feel like enough.
And I keep my thoughts to myself for the horror of them, the lie they make of my outer life and the life I lived not long before the sadness,
for fear that giving voice to my despair would testify against the One I love
and who I know loves me.
But the condemnation does not come from Him.
He is not afraid of the darkness that comes over me.
He has been there through this.
You thought, perhaps, I spoke of a time without Him? I have never had a time when He has not been present, when I have not been aware that He is with me.
In fact, I’ve discussed these thoughts, feelings, plans with Him – I’m not ashamed to say – for where else would I have taken them? Who else could I trust?
He’s heard the anguish, the primal sorrow,
He’s born the battering of my fists against His chest, His plans, His stubborn refusal to hand me a new sheet of paper
For while we humans are enamored of white sheets and new beginnings, He is a craftsman, skilled at restoration, renovation, and reclamation.
He doesn’t need a new start. He works with whatever I bring.
I hand Him my paper blotted, wrinkled, and full of holes pleading for a fresh tablet or to be excused from the assignment all together and allowed to carry out my plans and come home before I am expected.
He looks at what I have in my hands and tells me that we do not see the same thing.
What I see is beyond repair, imperfect, worthy only of disposal
what He sees is an opportunity to transform my pitiful, molecular faith into cosmic art.
And when He tells me that, I’m not initially comforted or relieved, I’m pissed, angry that He expects me to carry on
but then He reminds me of the effect I have on other people’s papers, the blot and tear my abrupt departure would leave on their lives,
He speaks to me of feelings and situations that pass and change,
sometimes He is just with me silently being Him
and even though I have not experienced any great inner transformation, I set my destructive plans aside
and trust Him just enough to survive another day
another night
and then some of those hours string together and form a month, a season
and then one day I reflect that it has been many days since I have wanted to die
and I can see that He has brought something out of my nothing.
My brother, Paul, wrote these words, “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-9
I, like Paul, have been raised from the dead
and from the desire for death.
Today, I live because of Christ and I will live forever because of Him.
But I understand about wanting to die when no one will hand you a clean sheet of paper to rewrite your life.
Now, though, I can tell others, there is something more amazing than a clean sheet – a redeemed one, now THAT is a work of art.

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    The Conversation

  1. Tears filled my eyes at the midpoint, clearing now. Thank you! Philippians 1:21-26

  2. Well written post, as usual. Thanks for sharing such personal feelings. I lost my sister to suicide eight years ago. It’s a complex issue, one that’s so easy for some to pass judgment about, as I’ve witnessed this week. God bless you.

  3. Sadness for the loss of your sister, Laura. It is a dark and difficult subject, indeed. Sometimes the temptation to quit life is so strong and it’s all the harder if the person thinks no one will understand.

    I often think of 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

  4. once again you have written words that I have felt. You are truly being used by God

  5. stevensawyer says:

    Excellent post. Well written, as all of yours are. I wish you a clean sheet of paper, from the hand of God today. Hiss mercies are new every day. God bless you.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you! …thank you.

  7. Maggy77 says:

    Thank you, Lori, for your post today; it describes my up and down life perfectly. The good thing about the downs in life are that they bring us closer to the Lord and help us grow – even if we think we are making no progress at all. I appreciate your posts more than you’ll ever know; you are able to touch our hearts and draw us out, what a gift you have!

  8. Diana Dart says:

    Stunningly poignant. Thank you for this.