West Union United Methodist Church
Thursday, September 29, 2022
Luke 10:27

Pastor's Corner


Stirrings of the Waters

*(thoughts, observations, hopes, and/or movements of the Spirit)

Dear all,

I almost always get feedback from things I’ve written, whether newsletter articles or newspaper columns. So I’m not certain what to think that I’ve not heard anything about last month’s offering. In an effort to destigmatize the topic, to demythologize our conversation, I’ll continue….

Trigger warning: This article addresses the topic of suicide and suicidal ideation. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please dial988.

Some years ago I knew someone who found themselves in a crisis situation: hearing a child’s scream, he looked up from working in his garage to see his neighbor across the street backing his car out of the garage. A small child was under the car, pinned against a rear wheel. Yelling at the top of his lungs, racing across the street, and waving his arms to get the neighbor’s attention, he successfully stopped him and had the neighbor roll forward so the child could be pulled to safety.

Recalling the incident later, this person recalls his thought as he raced across the street to prevent a tragedy: “I have to save his life!” Not her life, ‘her’ being the small child. His life. If the neighbor had continued unabated, his life would be over. He wouldn’t survive being the cause of the tragedy. Her life would be over. His life would be over. Her parents’ lives, the other witnesses’ lives, all irreparably damaged in a few brief moments. He had to act, to save them.

And he did.

In our continued conversation about suicide, we potentially place ourselves where we could save lives. Not just those who may seek to end their lives, we may save the lives of their families and friends as well.

We’ve received training on the use of the new AED in the church recently. The automated external defibrillator (AED) is a device designed to analyze the heart’s rhythm for a person in cardiac crisis, and if necessary, deliver an electrical pulse to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm. As we practiced placing the pads on the training dummy, along with artificial respirations, I recalled advice from my past: you perform the way you practice.

Here is my next request of you: practice a conversation you might have with someone you are concerned may be considering harming themselves or ending her or his life. Practice, so you get past feeling it as awkward, unnatural, or contrived. It’s as simple as “I’m concerned that you may be thinking about harming yourself,” and, “I care about you.”

That might be all it takes so that your loved one may be “pulled to safety.” Please. Prepare yourself to be in the right place at the right time to say the right thing.

As Mordecai asked his niece, Esther, “Who knows whether you have not come here for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b)

Grace and peace,

*              Refers to John 5:2-9, especially verse 4, concerning the pool at Bethesda within which, according to legend, when the water was stirred by an angel one might enter and be healed.