Take a moment to look around you

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Recently a good friend's son attempted suicide but failed in his attempt. After an eight-hour surgery with many more to come and facing a strong possibility of paralysis, he will live another day.

I spent the afternoon with the family the day this happened. The principle of "Rejoicing with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep" found in Romans 12:15 could not have been more real.

No one knew what to say. There was a room full of tears mixed with a lot of laughter that barely held back more tears. I had an appointment to keep that evening, but on the way from there to where I was scheduled to be, I went out of my way to go home and hug my children, kiss my wife and tell them I love them. It didn't matter how late I was. Nothing was more important.

My neighbor, a pediatric doctor for a major hospital in our area, tells me that she sees teenage suicide attempts on a regular basis in the emergency room. I know that there are many people who have psychological conditions that increase suicidal tendencies. I am not naive about this, but why do so many teens and adults feel that the only option they have is to end their lives?

Certainly not every child is walking around thinking of suicide as the only option to end the noise. Yet every child is walking around with extreme pressure on them -- pressures beyond school, the impositions of a sex crazed pop-culture and their peers, pressures of figuring out what does it mean to be a man without a father in their lives, pressures of determining what it means to become a woman in a society that values your sexuality more than your sensibilities. Pressures they just don't have the vocabulary to communicate.

Somewhere recently I read: "When God squeezes your heart, juice runs out your eyes." There has been a lot of squeezing lately.

Easy solutions to this problem don't exist. The best I can do is pray, trust God, tune into my children and love their mother. It is time for all of us to turn off the TV, silence the phones, tone down the calendar and build a new generation.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at www.robhurtgen.wordpress.com.

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