It seems in the work I do that I am surrounded by irony every day of my life. There’s the verbal irony in the words that hurting people say who are contemplating suicide. The one I hear often “It’s going to be OK.” and that may be true and the person in pain is hopeful and moving toward a positive outcome. But sometimes, it’s going to be OK is an attempt to throw others off on just how bad the pain is and the plan they have to end that pain, and on the other hand it is also a cry for help to those who have ears to hear and are alert to what the person is really saying.
Then there is dramatic or tragic irony. It’s the type of irony you see in the movies or in literature; when the audience is aware of something in the story that the characters are not aware of. Years ago, before I began the work of suicide intervention my second son had a good friend that I was concerned about, but I was not sure what to do. I was aware of the risk in this boy’s life; I could see the signs, but I was like a man reading a book or sitting in a theater. I saw what was coming, but was helpless to do anything about it. That young man died before he was 17 years old.
And this brings us to the third type of irony; situational irony; a discrepancy between what is expected to happen and what actually happens. I have seen this discrepancy often in others and in my own life. It’s a discrepancy that always leads us to a choice. When I was overwhelmed by the situations of life and thought the pain would end me it was through the intervention of my oldest son that I rediscovered all the reasons I had to live. The pain was the catylst that led me to my life purpose and in discovering my purpose my passion for life was restored.
Perhaps the greatest irony of suicide is that it does not end the pain; it simply transfers it to those left behind. For those who thought I was going to offer a theological perspective on the irony of Easter I am sorry to disappoint you. That can wait till another day.
My thoughts today are with the families of three soldiers who died by suicide Easter Sunday at Ft Bliss in 2014. I am thinking of the families of two 13 year old boys who died by suicide Easter 2015, one in my hometown; the other in Atlanta. My heart breaks today for the families of five soldiers who ended their lives last year in the Command I serve. If you are one who is reeling from the pain of loss please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you today. In the midst of your pain may you find comfort .
For those who want to make a difference – I encourage you to take the I WILL INTERVENE CHALLENGE and support the efforts of Armed Forces Mission. Together we can turn the tide on suicide.
God bless you and to the best of your ability enjoy this Easter weekend.