I have a neighboor, who is one of my best friends, get called to Halifax a couple of days ago. Her niece, that is still young, attempted to commit suicide. She is progressing, in case you are wondering, and thankfully, expect a full recovery (in due time). I guess this whole thing really hit me hard, for the fourth time this year...actually the fourth time in less than three months.
Rich works on Cornell Campus and recently, their shop assisted with the installation of fences on ALL of the bridges and walkways throughout campus. They had to due this as a suicide prevention method. In a three week time frame, three engineering students on campus jumped to their deaths at various locations on campus. All of these students were juniors and had good grades. To outsiders, they must have "seemed" like they were on the fast track to success. This got me to thinking....how far are we actually pushing students? Is failure really difficult enough for them to deal with to make them end their own lives? And then, of course, I start wondering how no one can notice a group of young people who are screaming for attention and for help. How can we, as a society, not notice that someone is on the brink? Are we, as a society, not to have compassion anymore about the people who walk by us on the street? Have we lost our hearts? Doesn't anyone really care anymore????
Then the "issues" with my friend.....I will continue to say this until I get the point across...
You know, when you see people with their kids in Wal-mart and the kids aren't behaving...please don't judge, you don't know what kind of problems the child has. How would you feel if after making a remark to the person you are with or heaven forbid to the parent, you find out that they are autistic? Instead, why don't you just try giving them, all parents, a little bit of sympothy. All kids act out now and then, parent's don't get to choose when that time is. Maybe the child is ill, imagine that the parent is absolutely exhausted (as any parent knows can happen in a moments time) and how bad that makes the parent feel. Could you imagine if they are on the edge already and trying to cope with depression? Can you imagine how hurtful a dirty look or a harsh word could be?
You never know anyone circumstances until you walk a mile in their shoes...Stop judging a book by the cover and have a heart!
I can tell you just from experience in my own life, how much a small smile can mean. Just one small movement of someone's mouth can change a bad day into one that lifts my spirits. A kind word of encouragement or one of caring has an amazing effect on a person.......ESPECIALLY IF IT COMES FROM A STRANGER! I will say that some people just don't deserve it. Maybe one in ten don't. But, what about the other nine....why punish them for someone else's stupidity, immorality or just plain laziness? I remember one older gentleman that was miserable with everyone. No one liked him. He never smiled. He was always, always grumpy. I meet him in the hallway of a hospital while he was shouting at a laundry lady. I literally felt sorry for him. I remember walking up to him and saying, "Hush, you grumpy old man and tell me a joke. You have to know some good jokes." At first he looked at me stunned, like I was out of my mind. I probably was. I stood there waiting for him to bite my head off and tell me to go away. To my surprise, he tipped his head back like he was thinking and says, "Young filly, I haven't told a joke in so long, you have to give me a minute. I am old and dammit my mind works slow sometimes." I couldn't help but smile. A few minutes later, he was rambling off jokes (most of them crude but hilarious) with a smile on his face. I made friends with him over the next several weeks. I learned that he was actually depressed and didn't know any other way than anger to express the resentment and lonliness that he constantly felt. His wife had died about a year earlier, his kids lived with their families in Colorado and California. He was alone in the world. I gave him hope through jokes, laughter and friendship.
He died about two months ago, still living not far from here. I can tell you that when he passed, many nurses and doctors came to his calling hours. A few people within the community that his children had never known while living here came too. And, of course, I went. We all discussed how he changed after that day in the hallway. He became much more personable. I think he realized that by being loud and angry, all he managed to do was push everyone away. He was one of the nicest and kindest men I have ever had the opportunity to spend time with. He told me many stories about funny things that he had done in his life and things that he remembered his kids doing. He will be missed dearly.
We all have the power to do this kind of thing in someone's life. All you have to do is say or do something that will make a person smile. Take one day, as an experiment, and trying smiling at every person you walk by. Watch their face closely to catch their response. Ask them right after they make contact how they are. You will be down right amazed at some of the answers you get back.
May God Bless all of the unfortunate souls who feel alone and unworthy, help them find your grace and give them strength to live life to the fullest.