We went to seminary together.
He was a friend…someone I admired.
His eyes were shiny bright and always seemed filled with the
light of God’s joy.
His smile was contagious, lit up the room, and lightened the
hearts of all on the receiving end.
He had the blessing of a wife and children who loved him.
He was a gifted rising pastor, very successfully living out his calling.
Then one day…
he made the choice…
to take his own life.
When I heard the news,
I was devastated, heartbroken…but not necessarily shocked.
It wasn’t that I had any expectation of this tragic turn in my friend’s life,
it was more that I understood that it could happen.
See, I was making my own journey through a very dark time.
I knew what it was like to want the pain to end.
My own dark night of the soul was so dark,
that I had thought about what it would feel like to be free…
and maybe even what it would look like to make that happen.
I am so thankful because I knew that I didn’t want to die.
I also knew that I needed the despair and the depression to end,
and I couldn’t see in the dark…I couldn’t find my own way out.
I sought help.
I asked for help.
I got help.
I attended my friend’s funeral on the way home from my
bimonthly counseling session.
That work, that hard work, eventually helped me find my way
out of the darkness and into the light.
I so wish that my beautiful gifted brother had been able to do the same.
I am sharing this part of my life’s journey because of the attached article.
The article speaks of pastors wanting to fall on their own swords,
wanting to…make the pain stop.
Ministry in the best of times is a challenging arduous journey.
Ministry in a pandemic amidst great division can make the strongest
of leaders feel weakened and worn and without enough light to face the darkness.
Just based on numbers alone, the reality is that some of you reading this,
whether clergy or laity, are in need of some help.
There is no shame in that.
Church, there is no shame in that.
There is health in that.
There is light in that.
There is hope in that.
There is help.
Here are some places to start.
You are not alone.
“If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.”
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior”
- This article is helpful for us all. https://baptistnews.com/article/too-many-pastors-are-falling-on-their-own-swords/
- If you are clergy, and need help for the journey, please go to nccumc.org, click on the A-Z list, and look for
“Clergy Resources” under the letter “C”. Counseling is available and it is ANONYMOUS
- Please know that you can reach out to me
- Resources for Pastors – Destressing during a Pandemic (pdf sheet)
- The NAMI email list is helpful. They offer classes, training, and general assistance about mental health and suicide prevention. https://nami-wake.org/
- Video Resource from NAMI: Managing Anxiety in the Midst of Covid-19 (1:13:29)
- psychologytoday.com find a therapist
- Suicide Prevention Help Line: 1-800-273-8255
Holding you in the light of God’s love and thankful for you,
If you would like to view past editions of Grace for the Journey, follow this link: