A Blog & Podcast by Frank Eriksen

Posts tagged ‘Joy.’

To Be or Not To Be…

Have you ever thought about killing yourself! If you have, don’t feel ashamed. Many, many people “think” about killing themselves. So you’re not alone. If you haven’t thought about killing yourself, you’re not alone either. Everyday millions and millions of people don’t think about killing themselves. And that’s great. Today, I want to talk about suicide. Why I thought about it. Why I almost tried it. And what stopped me from pulling the trigger.

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “If I can do it, you can do it.” Well, that doesn’t apply to suicide. But a variation of that expression does apply. “The reason I didn’t do it is the same reason you aren’t going to do it either.”

Before we go any further I must tell you that I am not a Doctor or Therapist. I’m just a caring friend. Yeah, I care about you. So if you’re thinking about killing yourself, right now or yesterday or last night, seek professional help immediately. Or I’ll really be bummed out.

Still with me? Good. Lets move on. First, my brush with suicide and why I lived to write about it.

In 1993 I was living alone in Boulder, Colorado. I still live here. Beautiful little city that God dropped right at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Here’s how close the mountains are. Go two steps west of Boulder – you’re in the Rocky Mountains.

I had moved to Boulder, about 3 years prior, to start my career as a voice over artist. The voice over artist thing wasn’t going so well. I was almost always late on rent. I was behind on my car payments. Eventually, I had my car repossessed. It seemed like I was always broke. I couldn’t afford a vacation, Christmas gifts, birthday presents. I had no health insurance and the cable company was constantly turning my service on and off, depending on the month. I had next to nothing in by checking account and zero in savings. But I was making more than I would by taking a minimum wage job. So I was stuck with my own lack of great success. Needless to say, this all was “getting to me.”

For whatever reason, I think I grew up with low self-esteem. I don’t need to go into a therapy session here, but I seem to connect my financial stability with my emotional stability. And during this time, I was hitting the mental trifecta. Financial instability, emotional instability and the holidays were just around the corner. A three ring emotional circus was about to blow the roof off the big top. That’s “Frank” speak for blow my brains out. Literally. Here’s what happened as best as I can recall it. And I can recall almost 99.99% of what I’m about to tell you.

While I don’t remember the exact day, I do remember it was day time. I had come to the end of my bank account and the end of my psychological rope at exactly the same moment. Here are some of the things that were going through my mind. They are the echoes of words that I heard growing up from relatives, so-called friends, teachers, professors, coaches, employers. I heard them so often from so many people, or so I thought, they became a part of my daily thought patterns. Let me know if they sound familiar…

You’re a loser. You can’t do anything right. Those teachers were right, you won’t amount to anything. You’re a useless piece of “fill in the blank.” The world would be a better place without you. Your life is a waste. You’re a waste. Just end it. End it right now. I’m so sick of this repeating pattern. Everybody else’s life is so good, why does mine suck! I’m totally unlovable. You’re ugly, You’re lazy. I wish I’d never had you as a child. You’re disgusting. No, I won’t go out with you. You’re fired!

Throw the weight of those words upon your soul, add a strong dose of low-self esteem, dirty looks, a truckload of “what if’s” and regrets and you have the recipe for a life not worth living. But, here’s what happened.

I was in my rented condo in Boulder. I decided that suicide was what I really deserved. I went to my bedroom and took my 9mm semi-automatic handgun out of the drawer and removed it from its case. I put a full magazine into the handle of the gun and loaded a round into the chamber. I was ready to check out of the Misery Mansion forever. (Side note: I don’t know why I loaded a full magazine into the gun. Was I gonna kill myself 17 times?)

Anyhow – I sat there with the loaded gun in my hand. I stared at it for what seemed like two seconds and forever all at the same time. I told myself “Just do it!” “Stop thinking about it and do it.” “Right now, quick.” “Insert gun in mouth pull trigger, pain all gone!” I really wanted to. I was ready to. I deserved to. I had to. And then, I truly believe God got really pissed. I heard a voice in my head that was clearly not my own. I had never spoken to myself this way before. Here’s what God said…

“That’s right Frank, take the easy way out. In a flash your earthly life will be over. You’ll be done with the pain. But the pain will be just beginning for so many others. Your family will be devastated. Devastated with a capital D! They’ll have to put their lives on hold, come out to Colorado and retrieve your body and then incur the expense of your burial. Your true friends will be shocked. They’ll all wonder why you had killed yourself. Many, that you don’t realize, will be spiritually wounded by your action. A group of EMT’s, Police and Firemen will have to come in here and haul your headless dead body out of the house. Your landlord, who has been nothing but great to you and totally understanding of your financial plight may be asked to identify what’s left of your body. That will not be pleasant and she certainly doesn’t need the shock of that. Then, your landlord will have to scrape your brains, tiny bits of skull, flesh and a ton of blood off the walls and ceiling, repaint the place and try to get it rented. No, Frank. You won’t be just ending a life. You’ll be negatively impacting the lives of many others by your totally selfish act. But you go ahead and shoot. But whatever you do, don’t think about anybody else. Just keep repeating all those lies to yourself and do what’s easy for you, Frank. It’ll be the culmination of a life truly wasted.”

I don’t know about you, but when a guy like God gets up in your head and reads you the preverbal riot act, it kinda gets your attention. It breaks your thought pattern. At least it did mine. I slowly laid the gun on the bed. Now I was worried about unloading the gun and accidentally killing myself. It was comical. One minute I’m about to check out, now I’m in fear of how I’m gonna get the darn pistol unloaded without mistakenly causing it to fire and at the worst, shooting my self in the foot and explaining to the Police why I fired a gun within city limits if a neighbor hears the sound and calls the Boulder PD. I’m don’t know if you’ve ever fired a 9mm handgun – but they are REALLY, REALLY LOOOOUUUUUDDDD!

I spent the rest of the day in mild shock. I had come “this close” to becoming another statistic to people who track this sort of thing, (Suicide) and a story on the 5th page of the Boulder paper. “Boulder man bleeds to death after accidentally shooting off his big toe.” I also couldn’t get God’s words out of my head. He didn’t console me. He didn’t make everything right. I was still broke, confused, miserable and — alive.

So what’s the point? The point is, I know how you’re feeling. I know how painful life can be. I understand the hurt you’re going through. I know what it’s like to think being dead is a good idea. And I know how no love feels. I know… I know…

But, there is a love that surpasses all logic and understanding. A love that is meant for you and you alone. It is the love God has for you.

I never thought of this, but perhaps somehow you’re reading these words and you’ve been thinking of suicide. Well think about this for a moment. What if the only reason, God talked me out of suicide was that, nearly 20 years later, my little insignificant blog post was meant for you and you alone. I believe it might be true. If it is, then I truly understand why God spoke to me that day. Because he loved you so much, that he wanted you to read this.

He wanted you to live, so that He can do a good work in you. He does want you to live. You ARE worth it! In fact, you are SO worth it to Him, that he sacrificed His only Son for you and me. Not so that we’d be rich or famous or even happy 24/7, which is my crazy idea of how things should be. What if our pain is meant to help others? What if our weakness is meant to strengthen someone else? What if the only reason you came into the world, was to be the one person who can help somebody make sense of their life 25 years from now? If God has a plan for me, He surely has one for you!

Life is wonderful, crazy, scary, thrilling, joyous, sad, meaningful, fun, incredible and mysterious all at the same time. And I’m slowly learning that my life is not about me. It’s about You. Well, actually it’s about you and God. Your life is about someone else. So, I’m telling you to see it through. To not take the easy way out. Just let go and let God. He has this amazing plan for us and it will come to pass if we will just get the heck out of His way and let Him love us and work in and through us.

The holidays are always a time of great joy for many and sadness for many. But here’s the good part. God allows us to choose between the two. God and I are asking you to choose joy. All you have to do is invite God into your life and be willing to be changed in a way you have never dreamed possible. Just ask. How? Believe it or not God understands any language and hears any prayer or plea. Something as simple as “God, I’ve got this mess on my hands called Me. So far, I’ve tried to make things work and that hasn’t worked. So, I’m going to allow you and others to love me until I can love myself. I’m going to get out of the way and let You turn this mess into a Masterpeice.”

That’s all. If you read or said those words, God’s working. Now you and I have just one thing to do. Get out of the way and watch what He does. And then… Pay it forward with love! Can you do that? I know you can. Love to you! (Please pass this on to anyone who might need to read it. Thanks for giving!)

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