Submitted Date 04/22/2019

Today I was going to write on God's presence in our lives. However, due to certain events, I have decided to redirect my energy into something else that is seemingly more pertinent and necessary regarding today's society. I have shared things close to the heart and personal before, and though still close to the heart, what I will address today will be in a much different nature – a more somber, serious matter. I am hoping that this will allow us all to re-evaluate our place in society and how we interact with each other for a more positive change. Allow me to dive in:


Yesterday afternoon, I learned that one of my best, dearest friends attempted to take his own life. For whatever reasons, they decided that their life was no longer worth living and acted on those thoughts. When I heard this, I was speechless – shaken to my core. I was not sure how to process it. I had heard stories like this on the news and online, yet I never really considered how I would feel if it happened to me… it was almost unreal. Considering how close it was to happening makes my stomach drop into oblivion and my heart heavy with sorrow. We were all blessed that it was unsuccessful, something that the doctors made clear was nothing short of a miracle.


Of all the people I knew, this person attempting such a thing was the most surprising. They were always so jolly – always laughing and having fun. There were absolutely zero flags that they were struggling with something like this. They have many friends, performed well in school, and have a loving family with two close parents. They enjoyed life from what anyone could see; they have hobbies and passions, things to look forward to. It was simply shocking to learn of what had happened.


But as terrible an event as this was, I think there are some significant lessons to be learned from it. The first is fairly cliche, but one that until now I didn't fully understand: don't make judgements of people or situations based on appearance. Through all my interaction with this person, not once did they ever appear to be struggling with something that could lead to them wanting to take their own life. Yet, perhaps someone who — on the surface — does appear to be suffering with such a thing may not be considering suicide at all. One thing I've learned about humans is that they are great at putting on facades and living true to them. Was all the joy and love my friend felt fake? Likely not, but beneath that layer was something much darker that was not able to be seen.


With this said, treat everyone kindly and with goodwill. You never know what someone is going through, so — whether or not it seems like they need it — treat them with unconditional love. It is unfortunate that this even needs to be said, but we are all human and can always improve on how we treat others. I cannot even begin to express how awful I would feel if I had not done my part in showing my love for this friend had they been successful at their attempt. We can't get into the heads of everyone we meet and analyze their situations, so just treat everyone with the same respect.


This whole ordeal was a merciless reminder that life can be gone in the blink of an eye. Death is not biased. It does not make exceptions for you, nor does it for me. I could have gone to sleep as I would any usual night, completely clueless to what was happening across town, only to wake up unable to experience my friend's laughter ever again. Nobody did anything different that day. It was just life as usual, but now it's abundantly clear how suddenly our "usual" lives can be shattered.


In a world filled with value, we too often overlook the most invaluable thing: life. We get too caught up in the chaos and complexity of this human experience, and we seldom step back and look at how blessed we really are to even be alive. It's an unmatched tragedy that we (the world in general, not necessarily you and I as individuals) allow the futile comings and goings of this world to motivate us to throw human life away so carelessly. Since when did our social statuses, bank accounts, pride, and vain egos become worth more than the souls of our peers? I cannot articulate the aching that my heart feels right now – not just for my own friend, but for the whole world.


Through conversations I have had with other friends following this heart-breaking news, it has become clear that mental (even moreso emotional) health is an epidemic among the youth of America. It was a firm slap in the face to learn of how many of my other peers have also contemplated suicide. I would be lying if I said I had not done so myself. It is unacceptable how common these thoughts are in the youth. Even one kid thinking these things is too many. Yet it is something that has become so casual that we never stop to reflect on how serious it actually is. We play things off as jokes, but the thoughts are actually corroding our minds. I cannot even begin to put into words how painful of a realization this has been.

We can put as many preventative programs into action as we want, but nothing will change until we as people change how we interact with each other. It's as simple as this: treat others with love and kindness. It's been said a million times before, but not even a trillion times is enough. Even if you are not mean to others, go out of your way to make others understand that you love and appreciate them. I really do not know what else to say. Just have goodwill towards everyone.

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