We got to church last night and found out that a friend from church committed suicide Saturday night. I heard it first from Cindy, and then our preacher announced it during the time for prayer requests. Our choir director immediately made the decision to change the song we were supposed to sing that night from one we know up and down, left and right, to one we've just started practicing, "Praise You in the Storm" by Casting Crowns which many of you probably know. It was a little rough around the edges but at least the point came across.
Our preacher Tony's son Drew sang a song that he had written called "Daddy". It is all about how no matter what your relationship is with your father on earth you have the opportunity to have a relationship with a Father in heaven who won't do you wrong, won't abandon you, will truly love you unconditionally. After he sang it he practically knocked down Tony hugging him and they both started crying which totally broke down the entire congregation. For me, that's when it really hit me. That now there are two boys with no dad at home. A wife is sleeping alone. That this man, who would without fail always offer you a smile and tell you things are going great, was really falling apart and none of us even knew it.
Tony said he remembered hearing Drew practicing that song in his room when he first wrote it and jokingly said, "What in the world have I done to make him write this song?" The lyrics are mostly about abandonment. Then he realized Drew probably knows how much Tony was affected by his father leaving him when he was little, and the fact that Drew's uncle committed suicide only about 18 months ago, leaving behind a teenage daughter. And Drew himself said he knows too many people whose fathers are not good examples of what fathers should be.
Tony preaches out of Galatians (we're going book by book through the Bible) on Sunday nights. After staring at his open Bible for a minute he said, "I don't even feel like preaching out of Galatians." Instead we turned to 1 Peter. He talked about how we are supposed to be vigilant every day of our lives. That if we knew someone was stalking us and watching our house that we would immediately be on guard. We'd get a big dog. We'd install a security system. We'd call the police. And yet every day the devil is stalking us and we just act like we are big enough to resist temptation, like the grips of things in this world can't grab hold of us. And it's just not true.
I don't know everything that Tim was going through. I know that Tony had been counseling him for a long time and now he feels responsible, like he could have prevented it. Like he should have thought of an extreme measure to take so this wouldn't have happened. In the end, you and you alone are responsible for your actions, but I know a lot of people last night were thinking, "What could I have done for him?" I even asked myself that question but the truth is, I only know to help the people that ask me for help. I can't read minds, as much as I'd like to sometimes. I know now that this family had extreme financial burdens and yet they were donating items to Fed By Faith because, as the wife said, they had been helped in the past and wanted to give back to others. They were being selfless in a financial crisis and I had no clue. For pete's sake, we could have adopted them one month and relieved them of a little pressure!
It's so true that suicide is the most selfish act you can do. Everyone who is left behind takes a little bit of the responsibility and guilt for that act. Everyone is left wondering what more they could have done. This will always be a huge question mark and a hole in the wife and kids' lives. I remember feeling like this after Jan's brother committed suicide, but I know with him I truly couldn't have done much more.
I feel like I need to open my eyes and pay more attention to the people around me. To the people I call family and "family". But at the same time, how do you know when a person's "I'm fine" doesn't really mean "I'm fine"? Unless you know them really well.
Situations like this just suck.
After the service we stood in a circle around the church holding hands and praying. We literally were "circling our wagons" for this family and for protection around our church. It feels so good to be a part of that.
Sorry this post is all over the place. My thoughts are very scattered.