Hopeless

We all know the word “hopeless” and probably use it all of the time.  I always say I am a hopeless insomniac (which I am), others say someone is a hopeless romantic.  Of course, there are also times when we..I.. may become just a tad frustrated with someone and declare “You are hopeless!”,  a phrase usually uttered with a clenched jaw, throwing my arms in the air.  Can you relate?

Unfortunately, for me, the word and it’s true meaning has really hit home again in a profound way.

Several weeks ago we got word that a young man we knew had died by his own hand.  He was truly a nice young guy, early thirties, promoted to manager of a very prominent restaurant in his area, with a serious girlfriend; the whole world at his fingertips, a life just begun.

Friends said that although he suffered from depression a few years ago when he was diagnosed with a deadly heart condition, he underwent open heart surgery and had the promise of a long and healthy life, and really seemed to have his act together.  I was truly horrified and heartbroken at the news of his death.

Unfortunately, it is not the first time I experienced such shock.  The sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, the deep, deep sympathy that rose up in me for the parents, family and friends, and the huge question mark that overtook my thoughts, echoing “WHY?” in the very depths of my soul, were all too familiar.

No, this is not the first time we got such news.  It was the third.  And since then we’ve become acquainted with parents of another young lady who did the same.  All four were young adults, with families and friends and a lifetime of adventure in front of them.

Hopelessness is the belief that there is no future; absolutely being convinced that everyone you know would be better off without you, and you just want to be anywhere but here in this life.  I imagine that thoughts and feelings so dark come to one who feels this hopeless; thoughts that can’t be expressed or spoken; thoughts that haunt, terrify and eventually justify the extreme action of ending it all.  Thoughts that are totally hidden from view of those who love you.  Hopeless.

How can anyone ever find hope and meaning for life when that kind of darkness shrouds the consciousness of their being?  I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist or a mental health professional.  I can only say what I either learned myself or heard others say.  This is a blog, so I’m going to keep it pretty short.  I could tell of many times in my life when I have dealt with someone in a state of depression, but not in this blog.  I can only share some quick thoughts of what I have learned along the way.

­­­­ What can the rest of us do to help when we see someone falling into an abyss of despair?  Speak life, not judgement.  Speak truth if asked for an opinion or thought, but don’t use it as a platform to bully someone into “getting normal again”.  If you can’t speak that truth without judgment, then decline to speak it at all. That person is not your project; they may be your family member, friend or acquaintance, but God didn’t put you in their life to fix them.  He put you there to serve Him, by being a carrier of His presence and grace.  Offer practical help.  Don’t tell people to “snap out of it”—if they could, they would.  Offer support to the family and friends.  And pray.  And then pray some more.

If you are someone who is sinking in despair for any reason, I’m saying to you:  Yes, there is hope!

You are loved, you are worthy, and the world will not be better off without you!  The people that know you: your family, friends, co-workers, would be utterly devastated if you were gone, this I know!  I also know that God loves you and has a plan for you and your future.  There is no depth so deep or low that He isn’t there to lift you out!  Get help.  Talk to someone—don’t keep anything bottled up.  If the first person you try to talk to doesn’t listen or seem to get it, then move on to someone else.  Call a mental health hotline.  Reach out to a pastor or someone you know that has a relationship with God.  Google God’s promises and read them.  Take a step—God will put someone there to catch you.

Here is what God says for you today:  “     For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   Jer. 29:11 NIV

Write that verse down, put it on your mirror, and have faith to KNOW that you are loved!!!

Hopeless

There are some places in our lives we should never revisit… this was mine. So young I didn’t grasp who I was or why I was on this planet. My deepest prayer to an unknown god was “please god, make it so I had never been born. I recall pleading this …. “please please please”….. if You can do anything… turn back the clock and unborn me. I had heard about God, I had heard He made all things and that if He didn’t like you, He would send you to hell where you would burn in agony forever. I would say I felt hopelessness but what I really felt was fearfully hopeless. I had little hope of any good in this life and only certain terror in the next. 

     Parents if you think that someone five or six years old can’t be suicidal, think again. These are the memories I have as far back as I can remember.

     When I questioned my parents about God, my mother would say there was no god, as an “agnostic” and she didn’t want to talk about it. I did not approach my father until years later when he cried and said there was no forgiveness for people like him.

     Somewhere within me was a thread … a strand of faith, there was hope in this life. 

     I already knew that the world was a terrible place with unspeakable horrors and my life even with its hopelessness was far better then most. As a young child, I had opened a book about WWII. There were hundreds of pictures of people with striped suits on so thin they could barely walk, piles of bodies. Pictures of babies being murdered in front of their parents…. the one seared into my mind was a group of strong men, holding a screaming women, while they whirled an infant around and the picture was taken just a split second before its head hit a telephone pole. Ovens with shelves. Bodies of young men strewn across fields. Others kneeling in front of pits with thousands of bodies in them, while men stood behind them with rifles. I thought why didn’t they run but somewhere within me I knew. They had no desire to run. You could see it on their faces. Later this book disappeared off of our book shelf but the pictures never left my mind. The thoughts and questions they raised about the state of humanity have never left my mind. No matter how bad life was…. I was still better off then that woman or that baby; or was I? Maybe death was the ultimate silence, the peace my mind so desperately sought. 

     Today when I see pictures of children with distended bellies or bodies lining hospital doorways from ebola outbreaks. Children taught to behead people who aren’t like them. Prepubescent children taught to use machine guns and commit mass murder. I see a generation of people without hope. How many of those children pray, please, please, please if there is a god, make it so I’ve never been born? Hopelessness run rampant.

     There is the stark reality, whether it is by brutal men swinging babies into poles, by doctors cutting unborn babies from their mother’s wombs, soldiers on a battlefield or the person dying peacefully in their beds surrounded by the most loving of families. The mortality rate is always 100%. 

     There is only one reason for hope and that is in the next life. This life will pass as a wisp in time and eternity will be upon every being ever conceived. Christ came and died, not just to forgive us for our sins but to begin the process of resurrection and new life within each one of us, today. We have a living hope within us. This mortal body has put on immortality. Death with its dark fears has no dominion over me.

     No matter what your scars, your disease, your trauma or fears. Jesus knows what you’re feeling. He knows what you’ve suffered. He took it ALL on Himself on a cross 2000 years ago so that you may be set free from the worry and anxiety of tomorrow. Eternal life is a gift given to those who choose Jesus. That hope and healing begins today in the heart of every one who chooses faith.

Choose Christ, God bless, andrea

(added) 

     I was told this piece was too graphic, too harsh and that unbelievers may miss the point of becoming followers of Christ. I gave much thought to this …. The reality is that life is harsh and there is absolutely no more hope for us then for the multitude of bodies heaped up by men who did not know God. The bombs that dropped on Hiroshima, left few bodies but the death toll was exactly the same for all those people as it was going to be if no bombs were dropped. The end for all of us is the same. From dust we came to dust we go. 

   If you choose to follow the hopelessness of happiness in this world, it will be a fleeting moment in time. BUT if you choose to follow the cross of Christ, there is an eternity that awaits you of joy unspeakable, full of glory. A city whose only light will be from a Holy and loving God.

    We come into this world crying, screaming and fighting for breath, in the middle there are tears, body parts to clean and suffering. We laugh, wonder and try to make our mark on this world but the only mark of any value is the one made on Calvary. I find great beauty and much joy in this world. Although, I weep for those who suffer, cry for those who die, all the while knowing my fate is the same and it is yours. My hope is in Christ and because of Him, I have great joy and I smile when I tell my husband of over 40 years. We are old, joking that the best part about old age is that it doesn’t last long. One day one of us will have to go on alone. I ask him, are you ready? He smiles and nods. I am crying now. Because I know the suffering will be unbearable but it will be full of hope. My hope is in Christ because He rose, I also will rise and so will you. Christ promises to answer all who call out to Him, so call out “Jesus I need hope”. He’ll answer.

God bless, andrea

Col 1: (Paul is writing)

24I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.