Log in

No account? Create an account


Yesterday I was struck  by a reading in Church about Elijah. It is a story for our time too. It tells us that the prophet was very discouraged, at his lowest ebb, and contemplating suicide. I think of the young neighbour of ours who committed suicide last week.

Nothing is going right for Elijah. Wicked Queen Jezebel is set on killing him. He treks across the dry, empty desert, physically and mentally exhausted.  He sits under a broom tree, and is ready to die! He's in despair.

Unfortunately, his mood is not unknown to us today. It is found everywhere. Our own Central Statistics Office here in Ireland tells us  that in 2015, a total of 451 people took their own lives - 375 males and 76 females. That’s more than one a day! It speaks of the tragedy we often endure in our personal and family lives.  And it forces us to sit brooding under our own broom tree experiencing the 'flatness and emptiness of life'.

But, I suppose we can learn from Elijah's solitude: when we are forced by circumstances to be still and wait until our cup is filled again. When Elijah wakes up from his depression he finds a little food beside him which he had not noticed before, and it 'picked him up'. When we are 'down' we often don't notice the small things that may help.


I'm sure some people commit suicide (or at least contemplate it) because of being beset by external forces. But everyone is beset by something, often in great quantity, and most don't kill themselves. I suspect the deciding factor is more internal, whether the person is suffering from depression or mental illness that causes the despair that makes them want to end their lives. So I don't think it's merely a matter of waiting for the cup to be filled again, as that may never happen for someone in the midst of depression. I think there needs to be external help to try to break through the depression itself. My heart goes out to people feeling so awful about their lives.
Certainly what you say is true. Like in the case of the young man I mentioned, we often wonder how we never noticed anything unusual about him. It just suddenly happens out of the blue. Then parents and relatives blame themselves for not noticing a change in behaviour or other sign.
i very much like how you use the Elijah story
if i may continue it

someone left that food beside him
we all have dark periods
some worse than others

(there is some evidence that suicide may have a chemical in the brain component - we have new drugs here with warnings that they have been known to induce suicidal thoughts)

but all of us have our deserts and despair
that's when we need someone to leave nourishment
beside our tree
who knows what that nourishment might be for the person whose tree you are passing?

it is a challenge
to be there in someway for people we know are in their desert
but to also offer small nourishment of a smile and a good word to people we meet
it might make a difference
I believe you yourself were very low recently. Sorry about that. As I say above, suicide often happens without any sign.
We are completely taken by surprise. There must be some kind of chemical reaction in the brain of many of the victims.

When my 20 year old neighbour ended his life all were dumbfounded. He had been very popular, engaged in sport, etc. All turned out for his funeral.

I wonder if such is a good thing. Eulogies all round can make others, not appreciating the finality of the action, feel that suicide may not be such a bad way to end it all..

Edited at 2017-08-16 19:42 (UTC)
there is some statistical evidence that when a suicide receives public attention the number rises
particularly if the suicide is a prominent person
but that may be that there is more reporting of them

the family needs the consolation that tributes can give