“The past does hurt, but the way I see it, you either learn from it or run from it,” says Rafiki in Lion King. This is one of Sr. Wantabee’s favorite lines. She met a patient this week who was turning 90 years old, a darling little ole person. The woman shared of her fifty year marriage to a marveleous man she met on the dance floor and who helped her raised her son and their four grandchildren. She had worked faithfully in three or four companies but now was struggling with a body that is beginning to give out. As the story unfolded there was mention of an earlier marriage. In fact the first short marriage that produced the son, kept circling through the conversation. She finally shared that her first husband’s mother was of a different country and that he was actually a wrestler. Sr. Wantabee thought it funny that the past was so present and looked at the patient, “Did he beat you?” The woman teared, “Not really but he did slap me in the face and across the ear.” She left the man to protect herself and her son back in an age when divorce and single parenthood marked a woman. But in God’s grace, she met a wonderful man who enfolded her and her son in his love and honored her faith and family. Yet, now, over 55 years later, the tears still flow. The past does hurt and forgiveness is hard to believe all the time. Perhaps that is why there needs to be a cross to remind us symbolically of God’s love.
Sr. Wantabee is back at the hospital again and busy. She met a little ole couple who processed with her the grief about the suicide of their beloved son not so long ago. The father shared that the Bible does not say anything about suicide and Sr. Wantabee had to reflect. Is that true?
Sr. Wantabee went to her concordance and suicide is indeed not listed as a specific word used in translation. But the reality of suicide is not denied. Saul fell on his sword. Elijah prayed that God would take his life. Judas hung himself. Stephen shared his faith knowing he would be killed. The fate of none of these men is talked about.
Saul did not want to be alive to see his body played with by the enemy. Women today after ravaged by the “enemy” will commit suicide rather than live with the shame and humiliation and memories of what the “conqueror” did or might do to them.
Elijah just ran out of steam. He had done the great miracle of Mt. Carmel, praying for fire on his offering, praying for rain, but in the face of the threat of Jezebel, he ran and caved in. How many of us “cave in” in the face of threats. God was there.
Judas could not live with the guilt of his actions. Different cultures have different names for the taking of a life in the face of failure. It is expected.
Stephen, the martyr for the good of the cause, is another very famous cultural theme. We honor our soldiers and policemen who put their lives on the line for our safety and for their belief in what they represent.
Suicide is indeed a complicated topic. I pray I am never guilty of judging another’s motives or diminishing the pain for their survivors who loved them.