Finding harmony when your world falls apart
My heart, my mother’s heart, goes out to the Rick Warren family who son died by suicide last week. That people could even think of posting heartless and cruel judgments on blogs, Facebook pages, etc. is despicable. With a 27-year-old daughter myself, the pain would be unthinkable at any age. We weep with the Warrens and pray healing and consolation in due time.
For Christians who still haven’t wrapped their heads around the major cause of suicide being mental illness, I can only hope more people will be educated and wake up to that reality. My own education came about through work on the Fierce Goodbye documentary by Mennonite Media several years ago; the documentary aired as recently as this past December on ABC-TV prompting, again, callers in much the same shoes as the Warrens.
I went back and found “production notes” from when our team worked on this ground breaking program. I don’t think that’s hyperbole, because for many of us on the team and many viewers, it was the first time we really came to grips with up-to-date thelogical positions on suicide and getting past the stigma that many still associate with suicide. At the time, not a little unharmony was unleashed when mental illness advocacy groups at first protested the Fierce Goodbye program to Hallmark Channel (who aired it first) fearing it would continue misguided or outdated views on suicide. We did some more editing; in its final edit, the documentary still conveys the Orthodox church’s position on suicide, but offers more pastoral and enlightened views from other religious denominations. That’s what documentaries are for, to present a variety of viewpoints.
For those of us who had the oportunity to interview and learn from families who have endured this pain, the education was long-lasting and helpful as we’ve lived through our own encounters of loss and grief among family and friends. I pray that will happen for the Warrens as well, and their official email release on the topic is a witness to their long journey with the mental illness of their son.
Fred and Gail Fox, one of the families in the documentary from our local community, continue to make themselves available to help other families dealing with the grief of suicide.