Yesterday actor Robin Williams was found dead from apparent suicide. I simply can’t stop thinking about it. Robin Williams is one of my favorite actors, but that’s not why I can’t get it out of my mind. It’s the fact that he represents so many others out there. He dedicated his life to making others laugh while on the inside he had such pain and sorrow. He’s not alone…
I remember many years ago I took care of a teenage girl who had taken a bunch of pills in an apparent suicide attempt. I can still see her in my mind as we tied her to the stretcher, as we stuck needles in her arms, as we placed her on a heart monitor. I remember her face as we pushed a large tube down her throat into her stomach so we could pump her stomach. I’ve taken care of many such patients, but I remember this one; not so much because of what happened that night, but because of something that happened a few years later. You see throughout the torturous treatment that was required to ensure her safety and wellbeing I TALKED TO HER. Not like a stupid kid who had done something really stupid, but as a human being who was hurting. At the end of it all I took time to talk to her. I saw value in her that she could not see in her self.
As I said it wasn’t because of that night that I remember her. You see a few years later I saw her again in that same ER. This time she wasn’t tied to a stretcher with tube and wires coming from her body. This time she wasn’t a kid suffering the consequences of her bad decisions. This time she was a young woman, a wife and a mother. This time I saw her with her husband and their child. I remembered her as soon as I saw her, but I wasn’t sure if the might remember me. Turns out she did remember me and she remembered that night. She told me that I had not only saved her life that night, but I had changed it.
I share this story not to point to myself. God placed me there, the Holy Spirit gave me the compassion to see her as more than just the result of her bad decisions, and gave me the words to say. The glory goes to God. God saved that young woman, but he used me as the vessel for that work. He can do that only if we let him.
I am reminded of Matthew 9:36, “When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them…” You see, all those around Jesus could not have helped but recognize that there was a crowd there, but how many of them actually SAW the crowd. How many of them recognized that there were PEOPLE there. If the disciples had seen the crowd as Jesus saw them, He would not have needed to tell them about the abundant harvest. We are often no different than the disciples. All around us there are people hurting, yet we never bother to see them. Even worse, on the rare occasions that we do see them we don’t bother to do anything about it.
To those that might be hurting: Some may think i am crazy for what I’m about to do, but if you have pain that you have never told anyone about. If you are or have had thoughts of taking your own life. Please talk to someone about it. If you don’t feel you have anyone to talk to, talk to me. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can text or call me at 863-412-8526.
For the people of God: Open your eyes. See the crowds around you. Look people in the eyes, it is there that you will often see their pain even when the rest of their face tries to hide it. Ask God to help you see those that are hurting, then do something about it. Talk with them. Let them know that you see the value in them, even if they don’t. Trust the Holy Spirit to guide you, then take some action. You never know the impact that you might have. I, for one, never want to read a story like Robin Williams’ and realize that I may have had a chance to minister to that person and find myself wondering what might have been different I had just talked to them.
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