what i wish you knew when you joked about suicide.

I need to write today. Sometimes I have days when I want to write. Some days I don’t want to write, and I have to make myself. But today, I need it. (and thankful for friends who remind me to do so.)
Today started out with skipping a 6am yoga class that I really DID want to attend, but my bed begged to differ. [next time, I will win.] I mustered up all of the courage and energy I could to get out of bed and get myself together to get to work. Put on my best face, literally and figuratively. It was a normal morning in the office until one of my coworkers decided to show me a video after we all had a debate on how to pronounce certain words (crayons is not pronounced crowns – no matter how you spin it. phonetics people.). It was a video by Julian Smith where three guys debate on how to say the work “milk”. At the end of the video the debate gets pretty heated and in what is supposed to be a comical fit of rage one of the guys pulls out a gun and puts it to his head threatening to kill himself if they don’t pronounce the word correctly. And then the other two do the same thing. It was then that I turned around and walked away. 
 
After August 22, 2008 all of those jokes ceased to be funny for me. They hurt. And I remembered all the times I had made mention of a horrible day and made a joke of it around people. Had any of them been affected by suicide? Did their mind race back to someone they loved that had ACTUALLY done what I was so casually joking about because I was having a “bad” day? I hope and pray that if that was the case that they completely forget that I ever said those words or have exponential amounts of grace for what fell out of my mouth then.
 
Those days are done for me now. Suicide will never be funny, regardless of the context. We do not realize how many people are affected by what words come out of our mouths and how they can make and break their days. Words carry weight. Be careful who you start throwing those heavy weights on. Over the last few years my grace has grown for people who have no idea, and for people who do. A slip here and there, I get, but a video that has over 22 million views?! 22 million. I am fully aware that my story is not at the forefront of everyone’s mind, much less Julian Smith’s, and therefore their words are not going to be tailored in order to not step on my toes. It’s not all about me. But riddle me this, is your joke about wanting to shoot yourself or jumping off a cliff going to build anyone up around you? At all? Or what in the world was trying to be accomplished with that video? I really would like to know because perhaps I’m missing something. I want to do what Hemingway advised and “write hard and clear about what hurts” and this falls in that genre. 
 
May we all be with our words as we should be with our time. Aware and intentional. May we be intentionally encouraging and hopeful and sensitive and gracious. I say this for myself as much as for anyone else. Especially this time of year when we can get so caught up in the stress of our own lives. Make use of your words. It doesn’t cost you a thing but it just might change someone’s day. 
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