To the brink and back a survivors story
A while back a guy I knew was going through a pretty rough time. He was depressed, and he was lonely with the whole world around him. His beautiful wife seemed to be going through a lot on her side of the fence also. See they’d been together for a while and there seemed to be some distance growing between them. He wanted to rush in and fix it, he wanted to be there and close the gap. She wanted space, and distance, and she started to grow attached to someone else. Eventually the affair would occur and he’d be left with trying to pick up the pieces of a broken home. When he realized there may be something deeper going on he decided to stay and fight. He devoted himself to doing things differently, hoping that she’d see the change and stay, but that’s not what happened. She left and with it taking the last bit of dignity he had. The day the gunshot rang out the world as he knew it changed. No hope, no belief that tomorrow would ever be better, he was overwhelmed and something snapped. His fight or flight response shut down and all he could see was his own pain. He wasn’t considering anyone else, or how his actions might affect them, and sadly, his actions would drastically hurt others. He chose the least vital place he could think of to cause pain but not death. He put a 9mm hallow through his shoulder. He knew it wouldn’t hit much because there’s not much there to hit. He was wrong though and the mistake nearly killed him. The bullet chipped his left clavicle when the gun jumped as he pulled the trigger. The bullet changed direction going down through his lung fracturing 3 ribs before going out his back. Ribs 2,3, and 7 each fractured and as the lung collapsed he lost consciousness. The pain he caused the loved ones around him was extensive. His blood loss should have killed him, but in the later weeks as he recovered he would tell the story how he apologized to God and God sent him back. Many people have been skeptical if what he heard and felt was just in his head, but it was strong enough to change who he is to this day.
While he still suffers from the injuries both physical and emotional the ones he’s most concerned with now are the people he hurt. His wife was traumatized by the incident. He told me once that he didn’t think she’d care one way or another. The problem is when we are consumed by our own pain it’s difficult, nay impossible to see or feel the pain from others. We can’t allow pain, and grief, and anger to fill us up to the point of absolute blindness to the people around us who love us and care for us. Even when there are arguments, or disagreements, that doesn’t mean the person hates you, it doesn’t mean they don’t care about you. No matter the pain we feel we can’t let that push us to do crazy dangerous things. Tomorrow will always come, and it’s better to win the war than the battle. There’s so much anger towards him by his friends for what he did. For a long time he didn’t understand that anger, he felt like he was the victim. The truth is they are both right. In each perspective pain was dealt. Traumas were experienced by those who were there and took care of him lying on the ground bleeding, and friends felt as if he was leaving them all behind to fend for themselves. Suicide is often looked at as a coward’s way out, and to some that perspective may be their truth. We must understand the nature of a vantage point, and learn to see beyond our own ideals, our own feelings, and try to understand the feelings of others. Not to say truth isn’t truth because it is. There are things we must know are true and there’s no debate in that truth. But when there’s a feeling behind a thought we must not allow ourselves to degrade someone because feelings are powerful. We don’t want to inadvertently pass judgment and do more harm because we don’t know why they feel a particular way, what got them to that point.
This is particularly important in a marriage. We may disagree on particular areas but the biggest question is, is the fight worth it? As the old saying goes, learn to pick your battles. If my friend could do one thing it would be take away the pain he caused. He often comes to me for prayers and for forgiveness. Forgiveness is a tricky thing when it comes to forgiving yourself. When we walk through life every day and are reminded of the pain we caused, it’s difficult to forgive ourselves when we know others haven’t forgiven us. The best things we can do is pray, and hope for forgiveness someday. We can never take back our actions, our words, but we can try to be mindful of what we say and do because those things can have lasting repercussions. Self-forgiveness starts with repentance. We can apologize but something big like that, it’s important to show those within your orbit that you truly are sorry for it, and know that you are trying everything you can do to make it better. My friend’s told me time and again how badly he wishes he could go and take back what happened that day. As he starts going down that rabbit hole I remind him often of the song by Casting Crowns, “What if you could go back and relive one day of your life all over again, and unmake the mistake that left you a million miles away from the you, you once knew, now yesterday’s shame keeps saying that you’ll never get back on track.” The truth in that is you’ll never get back to the you, you once knew. You’re never too far gone, but even as you turn around you’ll never be the same. It’s not about being the same, you don’t want to be the same. You want to be stronger, you want to be confident, and embrace your mistakes so you’ll never have to relive them again. God’s always with us no matter how far off track we get, and if you believe that after one step in the right direction the rest of the steps will get easier over time. When you’re walking on that path walking through the fire you burn your old self away. Hard Love by NeedToBreath “It’s not enough to just feel the flame You’ve gotta burn your old self away.” Embrace the fire and allow yourself to undergo the transformation to follow Christ. It’s a hard love but it’s worth it in the end. Give up and fall under God’s grace.
If my friend can come back from such a near death experience and be showered in God’s love, God’s grace and God’s blessings you can to. He turned his life around and everything he’s suffered through he takes none of the credit for his continued survival. Everything he has now he knows came from God, and he knows he wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for Gods grace. He’s got some great opportunities coming up and he’s excited to see how he can use his life, his gifts for Christ. I hope many of you can see the power of Gods grace and love. Let his life and success story be an inspiration to all of you. God Bless.