Suicide is an answer to a problem. Unrelenting despair and pain consume us and our attempts to mitigate the effects seem fruitless. Without hope, our last hope is found in a turn to the final solution, an eternal escape from our tiring, soul crushing world.

One aspect of suicide that can be misunderstood by those standing on the outside is that suicide is often a very logical, well-thought-out plan to terminate pain and suffering. It is why many feel better and find some temporary peace when they make the decision to end their life. It is a solution, and once committed to, a sort of numb acceptance and peacefulness can be found.

In this void, we walk a tightrope of hope over a valley of death. The gun to the head, the rope around the neck, the straight blade and the bottle of pills become therapy. You put that barrel to your temple and you waken, “that’s right, all I have to do is the pull the trigger and it’s over. I guess I can make it to another day. Let’s see what the morning brings.” And this merry-go-round continues, day after day, week after week, until life aligns with the plan – we lose a job, get in a terrible fight with a loved one, suffer more pain, become completely overcome by loneliness, etc. – and on that day the trigger is finally pulled, the pills are taken, the knot is tied and our fateful leap is made.

Here in the darkness we find eternal night, or, believe it not, a reason to live. The kind of hope that leads to life. It is the hope that I found many years ago rubbing the hard edge of a .357 magnum barrel into my temple while I stared at a bedside table stacked with bottles of pills.

Staring into the abyss one night desperate for deliverance and thinking the Smith & Wesson was my only avenue, it dawned on me, in an instant, that if I was willing to pull the trigger of a gun pointed at my head, what else was I willing to do? Not for death, but for life. Buy a motorcycle, drive to Alaska, talk to the first pretty stranger that I met, go on an adventure, read every good book I’ve ever wanted to read, maybe write one of my own and on and on my imagination went. What did I have to lose? I HAD A GUN TO MY HEAD!

So I started to make small choices of life over death. I bought a guitar. Then a few weeks later I sold my car and replaced it with a motorcycle and soon thereafter took to the road where I didn’t look back. It was here, on the precipice of suicide, I found life. My despair became a gift, a realization that the only logical choice to make in a world filled with pain and despair was to move forward and live. Over 20 years later and now surrounded by my own loving family and a career where I’m blessed to help others, I can truly say the risk was worth it and every day I am reminded that even when you’ve put a gun to your head, you have nothing to lose in taking a chance to move toward life. Stumble, ride, run, walk, crawl, whatever it takes, grace and desire will move you towards meaning.

Move forward. Live Free. Little steps lead to deep meaning and joy. That is my suicide solution.

April 10, 2018

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