Sunday, April 29, 2007

How to Save a Life

I've thought alot over the past 18 years about a friend from high-school, Bill, who was 17 years old back then. I had graduated and moved on to college, and had had no idea at the time what he was going through. It was so similar to what I had gone through myself. But his situation ended in tragedy, as he was alone one evening.

His parents were out for the evening, and he was home alone. He called a mutual friend, asking if they could go hang out, but the friend was sick, and didn't feel up to getting out. The friend offered that if he needed anything, he would come anyway, but Bill assured him it was ok.

A few hours later, Bill was dead. He had shot himself with a rifle, severing his spine, and slowly bled to death. All of us were completely devastated. We really had no idea, especially those of us who had graduated and moved on...

But Bill had written a paper earlier that year for an English class. It was entitled "The Curse of Being Popular". Bill was president of the senior class. He was a "straight-A" student. He was well liked and had many friends. His paper was about how you never know, when you are popular, whether people are around you because they are really your friends, or because they want to be popular by association. He went on to say that it is strange that you can be in a group of people, or even be surrounded by people, and still be completely alone. I learned about Bill's paper at the funeral. Many were very deeply affected. I was one.

I have thought many things over the years - about how I could have ended up the same way. About how many times God had intervened in my life. About how He sent so many people into my life just for the express purpose of helping me go on through the most difficult times of my life. I think about the young man from one of my high-schools who heard God one night and drove up to where I was, in an isolated, dark place, and told me to get in the truck - that he had something to say to me - which was that God loved me and I didn't need to do what I was about to do... he knew my situation because God told him. And the yount lady who dropped by on the weekend when most everyone else had gone home from college, when I was at a very low point. She knocked on my door, came in and talked with me, hung out with me, and we got drunk together. That's all that happened, and she saved my life, though she never even knew it.

I also have thought about the people who had no idea how hurtful their words were. So many careless, judgemental, angry, hurtful words. I felt so much pain back then. I thought I wanted to die. But there was so much more for me... all I needed was a glimpse of it.

I think about things like all I would have missed. I think about my beautiful, sweet wife, and the relationship we have. I think about our friends, that have been so faithful and loving through the current difficulty we are going through with Kim's health. I think about the two wonderful sons we have that would have never been born. I think about the love I have both given and received. I am so blessed. I am so very well cared for. What a blessing to know how much God loves me, how my wife loves me, how my children love me, and my friends love me. I am rich because of their love, and I love each of them dearly. Most of all, what a blessing to know that God not only loves me, but that He accepts me, and that I am dear to Him, and special to Him, and that He carries me through the most difficult days, even back when I thought I didn't want to get through them. He knew better. He knew and still knows best. What a joy to turn over the problems, the anger and frustrations, and the control and worry to Him.

I hear the song below by the Fray pretty often. It is one of the songs that helps me remember and reflect on all of this above, and I am so thankful. Why were people there for me, but it didn't work that way for Bill? Why have so many I have known died young, and I live? Why did Lyn get Leukemia and die? Why did Chip die of Hodgkin's disease? Why did Rob die of cancer? Why is Kim sick now?

I don't understand why things happen the way they do, but I do know there is One who loves us all. I know that He loves us very dearly, and as I have had children, I understand that even more, perhaps. He says, "I know the plans I have for you - to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope...", but why are some of those hopes aborted or missed out on? I don't know. And I don't know how many days I have on this earth, but I do know that I am loved. And I do know that life isn't about how many things I can accumulate, and that my worth doesn't come from things. I know who I am now, and would not exchange that for anything in the world.

Sometimes, we affect so many around us without even knowing it. Sometimes, we are the positive force that moves others to healing, or to growth.... sometimes, we are the negative force that can bring damage or loss. Other times, we are the catalyst that brings others to a point of decision.... and I believe much of this goes on without our awareness, unless we are keenly paying attention to others. How many people have I passed today or even talked with today? How many of those are facing difficulty or experiencing suffering or pain? Do I even care?

I have decided that I do care. I made the decision that I want to see things for what they really are, and to love people unconditionally. I don't want the rosie picture, and the fake friends, and the house full of junk I don't really need anyway. I want to invest into the lives of those around me, and to love them, whatever that means. Thankfully, I am blessed to have those in my life who also pour into me in this way.

Fray
How To Save A Life

Step one you say we need to talk
He walks you say sit down it's just a talk
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
Some sort of window to your right
As he goes left and you stay right
Between the lines of fear and blame
And you begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Let him know that you know best
Cause after all you do know best
Try to slip past his defense
Without granting innocence
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you've told him all along
Pray to God he hears you
And I pray to God he hears you

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you've followed
He will do one of two things
He will admit to everything
Or he'll say he's just not the same
And you'll begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life
How to save a life
How to save a life

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life
How to save a life

If you are reading this post from my heart, and you are feeling down, alone or like it isn't worth it to go on, please - I beg you - please, press on through. There are so many whose life you touch. There is One who loves you more than you can imagine. There is a very unique life ahead that only YOU can live. Please don't abort the hope within you, or allow yourself to be sabotaged into believing it isn't worth it. My life is very hard even now - Kim has been fully disabled for several years now, and she struggles with not only pain and weakness, but also with the heartache of missing out on so many things. But we both know FOR SURE that we want to live to the fullest extent we are capable, and to enjoy our lives and those around us, no matter what. And so can you....

Much love and peace and grace to each of you -
GOTEEMAN

10 comments:

Melanie-Pearl said...

beautiful, beautiful, bravo.

yesterday, through tears, i prayed that God would send someone with a vision to encourage me. (Where there is no vision people perish Prov 29:18)

i am definitely not suicidal, but i have felt a little isolated lately. God is changing my heart these days and in the process he is changing my gifts.

who is more surrounded and edified than the person gifted with hospitality? for ten years now my gift has been hospitality. i feel and know with all of my heart that God wants something different from me now.

as i let go and i learn about my new gift i see that i won't always be popular or even understood. not too many people want to talk about prophecy or even visions. not too many people want to go there.

lately i've been the intervening person who hardly ever finds out why. i prayed so hard for encouragement yesterday.

if i had to guess, though...i'd say you were listening to God when you decided to post this. thanks for that. M-P

Queen of the Mayhem said...

Excellent post! Everything you mentioned is so important. Unfortunately, it is so ealy to lose sight of the the truly important things in life.....especially when you are in high school!

I am so glad you stumbled across my blog!
I will certainly be back to yours!

GoteeMan said...

MP - Good to virtually see you again! It was very strange yesterday - I haven't even had an inclination to post anything in months... and last night (early this morning, actually), I got a strong urge to go ahead and post this one.

I very much understand what you are talking about. There are many subjects and many places God has taken our family that most others do not understand or want to talk about. We have found, however, that there are small pockets of folks who are able to understand and go the distance with us.

Some will only walk a few steps with you before they find something they either don't want to do or are uncomfortable with. Others will walk a few miles with you. And then a precious few are willing to walk the distance with you - to be there every step of the way - without judgement, harshness or having to try to "fix" you (as if something was wrong with you - I mean, c'mon - God made you the way you are and if He wants it different, he will let you know and He will change it, right?).

All in all - remember this - HE LOVES AND ACCEPTS YOU COMPLETELY. I think if we ever really grasp that fully (cuz I haven't fully, but I have partly, and that alone has changed my life significantly), we will be forever changed and completely unsatisfied by anything less than open, transparent intimacy with Him. That intimacy and relationship with Him exists on two levels: directly with Him, and through others of His kids.

Praying for you today...
You are precious and genuine, and I pray you experience the fullness of complete and deep intimate fellowship with Daddy. And please don't confuse that with the sometimes messed up definition of "daddy" we sometimes experience down here... This Daddy is perfect, loving, gently correcting, patient, kind - and you are His darling...

GM

GoteeMan said...

Hi, Queen and welcome. I agree it's easy to lose sight of the important things, especially when life it just rolling along pretty well. Fortunately, for me, we've had plenty of things to remind us what is important over the last few years (LOL).

So many times, we can get caught up in things, or the past, or trying to make something happen, that we miss out on what is right before our eyes. The truth is that I am and will never be content in things or in accomplishments or in making anything happen or holding it all together. My only contentment is resting in the arms of an Everlasting Father who I simply call "Daddy". He created me, knows my every thought and heart, knows my joys and pains, and loves and accepts me completely. Wow! Now that's the kind of dad I want to also be to my boys....

Thanks again for stopping by. See ya around...

J.

i'm_inspired said...

God has been so good to give you such a spiritual insight at such a young age.

He had other plans for me. I'm just now learning, at the age of 67, much of what you already realize.

I pray God's blessings on you and your sweet wife!

Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the
helpless.
-- Psalm 10:12

GoteeMan said...

Inspired -

Thanks for dropping by, and for your kind words. I think sometimes that I was such a mess that a radical and rigorous remanufacturing process was necessary. LOL.

I was short fused, hot tempered (Irish in me), impatient, condescending, controlling, ah, well - you get the idea. I was in need of a major overhaul.

Daddy God spared no expense in pretty much killing (or at least severely maiming) all of that in one way or another, to bring out and remake a better husband, father and friend. First, our hearts were broken through 3 miscarriages, then we were changed and blessed by two births, then severe sickness and disability in my wife. It's like the reformation roller-coaster, I guess...

Anyway, I am very thankful for the change, but will be relieved when we get to the end of our current ordeal. 4 yrs + is a really long time. My youngest son (who is 8) can't remember mommy holding him or picking him up or going on field trips with him or trips to the park.

The boys have both been affected as well. They are very tender, kind, affectionate and helpful, very sensitive to the feelings of others and to helping out at home. Their perspective is that daddies do the cooking, cleaning, working and taking care everything, and the mommy's job is to love the babies. They will make some lucky girls great husbands one day. LOL

So I guess what I am most thankful for is that they are also learning these things much, much earlier than I did, because as I learn them, I am talking with them, sharing with them, and helping them to understand and accept who they are and how Daddy God loves them. They are awesome!

Thanks, again, for stopping by....
J.

Terri said...

Again..
that post was quite powerful .....

I wish more people had God in their life!

Everyone has a cross to bear...
isn't that the truth!
I couldn't imagine not having God to pray to.

I was reading your post on Matthew's blog re: your son's oral aversion...or sensory issue w/ food... that was pretty funny!
Isn't that so crazy how this happens?? I heard of a little boy who could not drink milk if it had bubbles... bubbles would make him gag!
Good to hear that your son is eating normally! Gives me some hope!

GoteeMan said...

Terri - I can't imagine life without Him, either...

Hang in there. Praying for a change in insurance law for your state. I can't imagine that level of expenses. Ours have been about 35K-45K out of pocket for the year, but I can't imagine the prospect of having the types of expenses you described and insurance running out. That's very intimidating - BUT WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
Jeff

Chaos-Jamie said...

Lovely post. And perfect to read today. Isn't God good?

GoteeMan said...

Jamie -

YES, He is.... thanks for dropping by... and God bless you and your family.

Jeff