He was pointing and gesturing to look behind the car I was sitting in with a friend.
In the rear view mirror I could see a young man lying on the ground. Jumping out of the car I could see him at the foot of some steps he had come down.
First Aid skills kicked in and I made sure he was safe from traffic, breathing checked, help enlisted from others etc.
At first I thought it was an epileptic seizure but when we found the empty pill packets we knew this was a suicide attempt. Emergency services were called for and soon an ambulance arrived. Police arrived too as they had been told about his distress and were out looking for him. He was soon receiving the best of medical attention.
Finding this young man was a completely random event. I just happened to be there at the right time.
It shakes you up.
To see the absolute desperation and confusion of a fellow human soul. To see the shocked and pained responses of those gathered around the body.
From my experience of working in Mental Health I knew what would happen to this young man. He would be shipped off to hospital, stomach pumped and then handed over to the psyche team for assessment and therapy consisting of medication and skills training.
He would learn coping strategies for life so that when the negative thoughts etc. came along he would have some tools in the tool bag to get him through the pain. He might be assigned a some social worker that could help with finding work, accommodation etc.
All of this is good and needed, but as I sat next to his prone body on the asphalt under heat of a summers day, I wondered who would attend to the care of his Soul.
Was any one doing this at the moment? Who would breath some Spirit (Holy) life into him?
The medical well-being of the body was being scientifically treated. He would be given a hospital number and a little white wrist band along with a diagnoses to categorise his behaviour.
Everyone reading his file notes would know something of his life, they would form judgements and boxes for him to be in.
His Soul was a place of desperation.
He desperately needed connection with maybe a few others that believed in him. That could walk with him, help him to check his perspectives and would, now here is dangerous word, love him.
He needed people that would help him make connection with a loving God.
People that would not see him as a client, a patient, a body, an appointment, or a problem to be solved. This young man was and is a human being, created in the image of God to be both a recipient and participator of community.
All the medication taken and skills learnt may well help him to function, but still the ragged raw need for him will be connection.
Connection of the Soul I have found is needed at the base of every suicidal person I have come across.
People needing to know in their souls that they have value and worth.
This quote inspires my Soul.
Beneath what our culture calls psychological disorder is a soul crying out for what only community can provide. I see a healing community as a group of people who place connecting at the exact centre of their purpose and passion. Connecting with God (worship), others (loving service), and ourselves (personal wholeness). All else is either a route to or a result of connecting. Loving God and loving others lie at the core of God’s intention for his people. Larry CrabbWho will tend the soul of this young man? Who will provide Soul care to him and those around him?
Could it be you?
Question to Consider:
- What fears bubble up in you as I ask this question?
Image: D Sharon Pruitt Creative Commons Flickr
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