His heart raced and his mind wandered. The entire school day, he’d carefully processed exactly how the next hour was going to play out, and as he stepped of the bus the only thought running through his mind was ‘And my time starts…now’. Step-by-step he walked the two blocks to his empty house still thinking. As he approached the front door, tears welled up in his eyes. As he turned the key, his heart broke from millions of pieces to trillions. The door swung open and the smell of his house overwhelmed his senses. He imagined these moments all day and tried to prepare himself for these feelings, but how did you honestly prepare for this? He’d say to himself, ‘Travis, you’re doing this to free them, not to hurt them’. Travis threw his backpack by the door; no point in doing his homework. He checked the time; fifty minutes until it was too late. He walked to his computer and opened Word to start typing the letter that he’d been planning out in his mind all day, but as the line flashed at the top of the page it erased every pre-planned word in his mind. Tears again overwhelmed him and after trying to stifle them back, sobs broke from his lips. He thought to himself, ‘I shouldn’t type this. This kind of thing needs to be hand written.’ Then he wondered, ‘Since when were there rules for this kind of thing?’ Oh well, it felt better to him to write it. He found a pen and some pretty, baby blue stationary that his mom used to write official letters. The pen was firmly gripped in his hand, but he couldn’t control the shaking to be able to legibly write a single word. He thought for a second then in the best handwriting he could in his state wrote:
THIS ISN’T BECAUSE OF YOU; IT’S FOR YOU. I DON’T WANT YOU TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS ANYMORE. I DON’T DESERVE YOU.
I LOVE YOU,
He had thought all day about what he was going to say, but these were the only three sentences out of the book in his head that he could manage. He glanced at the clock. Twenty-seven more minutes until his dad would walk in the door. He knew that if he was going to do this, and he was, he had very little time. He walked into his parents’ room, tears still streaming down his face. He stumbled to his dad’s nightstand and opened the little wooden box that kept his dad’s most prized possessions. Through the tears, he frantically searched for a small silver key. He couldn’t find it and almost thought that this wasn’t going to happen today until he moved a letter that Travis had written him in fourth grade for Thanksgiving. He thought that soon that baby blue piece of paper would lay there beside it. As soon as the thought came through his mind though, he shoved it away. He grabbed the key and half ran out of the room. He walked into his garage with the baby blue letter in his hand. The scene was almost set. Slowly and suppressing more sobs, he opened his dad’s gun cabinet. He looked through the many hunting guns that he owned, but quickly glanced past them until he found what he was looking for. He saw it, sitting there, promising him relief. He picked up his dad’s police gun. His dad was a cop, but on Thursdays he stayed in the office and did paperwork so he never took his gun. That’s why Travis knew that it was now or never. Rarely, did he get this opportunity. He did what he saw his dad do thousands of times at the shooting range. It was a little harder because of his blurred vision. He opened the gun to load the bullets that conveniently sat on the shelf below where the gun had been. He opened the box of ammunition and a chill went down his spine and an almost scream broke from his lips. He carefully picked up two bullets and with shaking hands lodged them in the chamber. He thought for a second about why, during lunch, he had decided that two bullets were necessary. He had thought, ‘What if the first one only leaves me in pain?’ That’s when he decided that he need two…just in case. Now as the gun stood, loaded, in his violently shaking hand, he realized that it would really be needed in case he would miss. Sobs overwhelmed him for a moment, but he regained composure when he realized that his dad would be home in ten minutes. He turned the safety off. Glanced at the shaking gun. Bit his lip. Lifted the gun to his head. Paused for a second. Took a deep, uneven breath and suddenly, the garage door opened. Travis’s best friend Brandon stood on the other side smiling, but only for an instant until he fully took in what was about to take place. He ran up to Travis knocking the gun out of his hand and tackling Travis to the cold cement floor. Travis sobbed, “STOP! STOP! LEAVE ME ALONE!” Brandon, now breathing heavily screamed, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING, MAN?!?!”
I think most of us has seen someone going through a rough time and ignored them. I know I have. Sometimes, it's just easier that way. It's easier to look at your shoes as you walk past them in the hallway than to stop, talk to them, and try to just sit there and listen. Honestly though, when I was in a low in my life, all I wanted was for someone to go out of their comfort zone, put their arm around me, and just listen. The best prevention of suicide isn't accidentally walking into the scene like Brandon in the story. The best way is to get out of our own little selfish worlds and look around and see what we so often don't want to see. My challenge is to do what the Bible says,
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.I have definitely struggled with this. It's hard to see what you don't want to see, but by opening your heart to being compassionate to the situations of others, we learn to love like Jesus loved. By doing this, I hope that this whole idea of depression in our world can end and that the suicide rates would drop to nothing. Love saves lives. The love of Christ has saved our lives for eternity, but the love we can give someone on earth might be able to save their earthly lives.
Laying Down Myself