People are hurting. How do you know this? Well, you are probably one of them. If you have ever been hurt, then do not find it far-fetched that someone else is hurting. Just like physical pain, mental and emotional pain cannot always be seen. The abused wife or husband who wears long sleeves in the summer to hide the bruises, the teenager addicted to pornography to cover the pain of sexual abuse, the man clinging to alcohol to hide the pain lingering from seeing the traumas of war – they are all hurting. The young girl whose tender face lies deep below layers of make-up, that teacher who yells at his/her students without cause, the one who has it all together but sobs quietly in the car on the way to and from work or church – they are all hurting.
Do not get distracted by what you see. Remember it is not about what you see but who you see. Look past the addiction, the provocative attire and makeup, the anger, or the nice clothes and jewelry. Take time to get to know the people in your life – the people who cross your path. Are you missing the opportunity to save a life? Are you so consumed by what you see that you overlook the person?
Suicide is real! Addiction is real! Pain is real! Feeling lonely and forgotten is real! Many people are walking around aching on the inside because they feel there is no one who really knows them. They feel no one really cares about their wellbeing. Yes, they hold some responsibility. They are the ones who are hiding the truth – right? They are the ones “faking it” – right? Look behind the mask. Why are they faking it? Society tells us that we are to look good at all times. We are taught very early to “never let ‘em see you sweat”. Social norms make it acceptable for us to wear symbols of emotional wealth when in fact we are emotionally impoverished.
Who would dare look behind the mask of “I got it all together” covering the pain of the person sitting next to them in church, their cubicle mate at work, the student or teacher in the class next door, or even the mother, father, or child sitting in the room wishing they could disappear without dying? Are you willing to use your pain as a GPS leading to the place of someone else’s pain? Or… Is that person you?
If you are that person, sitting in the dark, wondering why life is how it has been – remove the mask. Find someone, anyone, who will allow you to be yourself. Find someone who will let you cry on their shoulder. It is easier said than done. But, once it’s done, it gets easier. It is up to you to choose life. It’s up to you to say “I will not give up. This cannot last forever.” Choose not to “bail out” before you have the benefit of seeing your victory. You have gone through so much. You deserve to see the moment where you officially win. You deserve to be able to tell people “I MADE IT! You thought I couldn’t, but I did!” That moment is your right. Death cheats you out of that moment. Choosing death ensures your story will end with pain. Suicide takes away your chance for a happy ending. People and circumstances have cheated you out of moments (days, weeks, or years) of happiness. Do not cheat yourself. You deserve to write your story – do not let the person or people who hurt you win. You are strong enough. You made it through yesterday and you made it to the point of reading this post. You must keep making it. Every moment you live, you are living through it and eventually out of it and past it.
It’s time to live! It’s time to live life abundantly! It’s time to write your future. Every step into your future you are changing your past. How? Well, your future will one day be your past. What has happened to you is not all that will happen. The good in your future will one day be a part of your past. That good you must see. That is your destiny!
If it is not you facing the choice of choosing life or death, look behind the mask of another. See past the nice clothing and see the mother who cannot feed her children. See that she hand washes her clothes so that they do not fade. See past the father who is always there for his children. See that the mother is not doing what she is supposed to do. See his hurt as a single father or struggling husband.
Somewhere there is a girl or boy cutting their flesh to tackle life pain for pain. Somewhere there is a mother laying in the fetal position hurting too badly to cry over the hospitalization of her youngest child. Somewhere there is a man hitting his wife or children because life has beaten him beyond the point of where he can recognize himself. Look behind the mask of judgment and help!