Of Saints & Suicidal Ideations


Warning: this post talks about self-harm and suicidal thoughts. If you are experiencing this, you can chat online with the Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call at 1.800.273.8255.

We are in the final weeks of the Christian season of Lent: a time where we focus on the fact that we are not yet who we will be, and that we still live in much darkness, weakness, and self-obsession. On its own, this could become masochistic or over-indulgent depending on your personality. But this is why Easter comes on the other side as a call to cast off the brooding and soul-spelunking to rise into the highest heights of celebration and freedom the Resurrection offers.

But still, this time lends itself to sadder reflections. The other day, my coworkers and I were sharing stories of social work clients we’ve worked with over the years and I was brought back ten years to my first time encountering a suicidal client when I was brand new to the field.

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The Pain & Substance of Gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving. [REPOST]


Yesterday, the annual meal referenced in this post occurred at my work, so I thought I’d re-post this today on this Thanksgiving Eve.

Sorry that this isn’t your typical feel-good Thanksgiving post.

On Tuesday, my job had a large Thanksgiving lunch for all the staff and clients we serve. I got my food and sat down next to some of my coworkers and across from a client I had never seen before. She was very friendly. She didn’t ask me my name or anything; she just began asking me questions about what I was doing for the holiday, where I was going, if my parents were still alive/together, if I had any siblings, so on and so forth.

As she kept firing one question about my Thanksgiving week after another, I started to feel the awkward tension developing because I wasn’t returning any of these questions back at her. I wondered if my coworkers thought this was odd of me to do, but it was very intentional.

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[art credit: “Freedom From Want” by Norman Rockwell]

The Pain & Substance of Gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving.


Sorry that this isn’t your typical feel-good Thanksgiving post.

On Tuesday, my job had a large Thanksgiving lunch for all the staff and clients we serve. I got my food and sat down next to some of my coworkers and across from a client I had never seen before. She was very friendly. She didn’t ask me my name or anything; she just began asking me questions about what I was doing for the holiday, where I was going, if my parents were still alive/together, if I had any siblings, so on and so forth.

As she kept firing one question about my Thanksgiving week after another, I started to feel an awkward tension developing because I wasn’t returning any of these questions back to her. I wondered if my coworkers thought this was odd of me to do, but it was very intentional.
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On Holy Week, Idolatry, & Suicidal Ideations


This week marks the most important week of the entire Christian calendar. It’s Holy Week; the time we meditate upon Christ’s Passion — the last week he spent in Jerusalem during the Passover preparing to be the true and perfect Passover Lamb. This is also the final week of the Lent season. For weeks now we have celebrated the angst, tension, and pain of Lent. This has been a time where we have focused on the fact that we have not yet become who we will be, and we still live in much of that old way of life. This has been a time where we look our idols in the eyes, hear their whispers and discern what they have been promising us and what we have believed they can give. Love. Security. Affirmation. Rest. We seek all these things under the sun, but all these things find their Source beyond.

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“On Fuel & Family, and the Costs Thereof” (a poem)


The cell burns from within the pocket
As the needle caresses the crimson “E.”
Justice questioned of the Almighty God
Over inevitability.

Car slows down, it’s time again
To press the speed dial “8;”
Re-bridging two worlds, renewing the scab-
Mom thinks all too late.

The red of the nylon vivid in hue
Tied to the basement rafter;
The blue of the note written on the washer
Heralding the hereafter;

The white of the face of dear old dad
Before kicking the chair from under him;
The brown of the sheriff ,came just in time,
To ring the bell and blunder him.

The images haunt the every thought
As gas necessitates the call
$2, $2.07, $2.75, $3
Causes this one to fall

Back to memories of screams and fights,
Of baseball bats and tears.
OPEC forces one still a child
To confront his darkest years

First once a month, then once a week,
Now once every couple of days.
Mileage doesn’t mean so much
anymore. . . .

Crude incites cruel making distance hit home

The sins of the father.
Justification.
All he’s good at – selfish ways.
Never really seeking the God of this earth
The only thing to save him.

Laying down a family at the altar of his god:
His excuse, his past, his illness, his, his his
Never hers
When she’s deserved it all.

One desires not to talk about it, one never does. Living away, detached from the reality, still hurting.

Pain. Pain. Pain. Tears of pain, fulfilling a role one never meant to fulfill:
surrogate husband to a broken mother.

Making a man of the child but still hurting her in the process.
Just . . . don’t . . . know . . .

Satisfaction and faith in Almighty God
Restores order to it all.
My only real Daddy in this entire world,
No matter “what” I have to call.

One strange paradox defining my world:
Joy, satisfaction, abundant life!!
Amidst all the pain of family hurt –
The constant signs of strife.

Provision not the source of belief,
Rather a recent application.
The value I hold, for my Lord, my God;
Mirrors the gas price of this nation. . .

Copyright© 2005