A Rock Feels No Pain

In despero , obscurum ; In Diligo , Lux lucis. (In despair, darkness; In Love, Light). -Me

One section down, one to go

Well, I did indeed finish the first section of the training, 40 something hours of study, and at the end a “test that is given to masters candidates in the area of suicide screening and intervention, which on average, 13% pass”.

I passed, thank you very much- but then, I’m not doing generalized psych courses at the same time, and the test is given to everyone, not just those focused only in this area and probably not after an intensive round of lecture/study in one very small area. However, I can at least say I’m as qualified (academically, not yet practically, that’s next) as the screener at most emergency psychiatric hospitals, if they even have one.

Next up, the clinical training and evaluations, and training in the nuts-n-bolts of how we’re going to do things like find local referring agencies, or consultation support, work scheduling, etc.

Otherwise, my time has been filled with work, and bathroom renovations, and kids, bathroom renovations, and family, bathroom renovations, and church and bathroom renovations.

Did I mention that I’ve had to renovate a bathroom? Yeah, our shower control valve decided to become less-than-watertight, which is a royal pain- because living in the dark behind the wall, as they like to do, we didn’t *know* it was leaking, until enough time and water had passed to rot through the subfloor, drip onto the sheetrock of the ceiling below, and then work through *that*, too-

Which means, open the wall, to get at the plumbing, and since I’m doing that, may as well replace the tile that we’ve never liked; and since I’m doing that, we may as well replace the (extremely shallow, like 8″ water-depth) tub that we’ve always hated, and since we’re doing *that*, and I have to replace sections of the subfloor, may as well re-tile the whole floor, and since we’re doing *that*, we never liked the vanity and sink, either, cheap-o builder’s grade crud…

Yeah, I figure I’ll be done about 2020, lol- or maybe 2021, or maybe not. ughhh.

Here’s hoping they get the clinical training scheduled fast, so I have a nice, quiet, intellectual activity to offset the messy, noisy, grunt-work of remodeling!

 

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Filed under: suicide, , , ,

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

I can’t begin to tell you how moved I am, and amazed, and in awe of everyone of you, that read, clicked and cared-

 

In less than 24 hours, your outpouring of generosity in Prayers, Thoughts, Emails- and money- have raised MORE than I need, to get the certificate to work with IMALIVE…

I truly am so touched, I have tears of joy & gratitude pouring down my face- I don’t even know what more to say…

THANK YOU!!!!

Dave-

Filed under: suicide, , , ,

Help Needed

Dear Family and Friends;

I hope you’re well, and having a nice fall, getting ready for winter and some snow & skiing and such, whatever you may be planning!

I’m going to be right upfront here and now: This is a begging letter. No getting around that, really. But, I do assure you, I’m begging for an important, serious reason.

The reason is suicide.

Many people die every year, every day, because they feel the problems they face are not solvable, that there is no help for them, and that nobody cares. Well, that isn’t true. There is help and people who care, and I’m involved in a project that is attempting to get that message across, in places that it needs to be, so we can over-rule that “nobody cares” thinking.

There are hot lines, and crisis centers, and doctors and churches, and such, and that’s all good. But what there isn’t, at least not so far, is an online central point, with trained and available contacts for anyone who may need that help.

There are plans afoot, through the Kristen Brooks Hope Center, to change that. If you’re not familiar with it (many aren’t!), Kristen Brooks committed suicide, and her husband Reese, founded the center and put together the first nationwide phone line, 1-800-SUICIDE, in her memory and honor. Now, the Center is planning the first online version of this service, which will be staffed by volunteers around the globe, to be a resource for anyone that needs it.

Which is the reason I call this a begging letter: I have thought long and hard, and talked it over with friends and family, and have come to the decision that this is something I think I can be good at, and would like to offer to people that are struggling. But, in order to do this, there is requisite training and certification I have to have, first.

I’m in need of raising $250.00 for this training. I would dearly love to just write a check, but can’t do that, at this time. So, I’m asking for your help. If you click the link in this letter, you’ll be taken to my personal IMALIVE page, which has been setup to receive donations from people, on behalf of a volunteer.

If you can, I’m asking for your support in this, in whatever amount you can do, no matter how much or little. I’m hoping that in this way, I can help make a difference to someone, and we’ll have a few less kids wandering around wondering what happened to Mom or Dad, or husbands and wives thinking, “if only”, and we don’t need Mom and Dad wishing they had another chance with their child.

The second part of my request is simply for your prayers, in whatever way you do that, for anyone and everyone that is struggling with this, that they can find the help they need, and the peace they deserve, without resorting to dying to achieve it.

Thank you, and all my Love-

Dave

**Editing this to remove the link, as your incredible generosity has already surpassed!! the goal- and thank you so very much, all of you, for your prayers, and your wonderful giving**

Filed under: suicide, , , ,

Not My, but Thy

(This is really long, and rather wandering, but I needed to write it, and post it- so my apologies in advance)

I’m jumping back again, back to the fall of 2006. This would be post suicide-by-truck-into-bridge-averted-by-some-other-powers-hands-on-mine-that-saved-my-pretty-useless-carcass-for-some-reason (at the time) unknown-to-me timing. This would be post drop-the-kid-off-for-his-first-year-at-the-university timing. Post (or during?) the find-out-about-things-in-our-relationship-that-are-not-so-good-to-find-out-about timing. Anyone following that? No? Me either, but that’s okay.

The important parts, of the whole time period then, are varied- it’s sufficient for some of it, to simply note that a whole lot of garbage has been worked through, sorted, thrown away and is gone. A lot of ripping out of the deadwood, to leave behind what is real, and true, and valuable, in my relationship with Lynn. Of course, there is the minor detail that I’m still alive and around to care about this stuff, which along with our caring about one another again, is an ongoing process, as well as an ongoing commitment.

But something very very interesting happened, in the midst of all of the yuk. There was a time, a moment when my heart was breaking, when I honestly couldn’t have given odds that I would ever be whole enough to care about anything. But, once again, I was feeling those warm hands, that so soft voice- and because of that, I did something I hadn’t done in years.

I left my house, and went to church. Not on Sunday, not for a service, but just because I needed to be there.

I went to the church we’d found back in 1999, when we moved to this teeny village. The white clapboard little country church, where we’d found a spiritual home. Granted, I’d spent intervening years actively avoiding it, granted that during that time I couldn’t have, (or rather, wouldn’t have) acknowledged that God existed, much less cared- that didn’t matter. I knew, in the same way that I’d felt those warm hands on mine two months before, that I needed to get my ass to church.

I prayed there, sincerely, and for the first time in a long long time, I prayed the one prayer that I believe God likes to hear more than any other. Pretty much, I said, “Show me what YOUR will is here, show me where I need to be going, because I don’t know; I need you to show me what path YOU want me on. If that means I lose my marriage, my life, my place in this world, so be it.” YOU know- the whole, “Not my will, but Thy will be done” praying.

And, much to the chagrin of the part of me that had been running from it, for so long, so thoroughly, He did what will always be done, if we can but listen, if we can only see. He told me. He showed me. He made it very very plain to me, that despite all of my best efforts, He was there and waiting, patiently, for me to wake up. He made it plain, that my first job now, was to get my house in order. Then, he wanted to talk to me some more. (Know how it was, when your dad or mom would say “I want to talk to you?” Yeah, that’s the tone, right there).

At that point, there was still a lot of work to be done, of course. A ton of work, a lot of tears, and anger and frustration and ready to quit. A lot of learning, and relearning, and all the work of restoring trust, and rediscovering one another, and relearning about one another. (No, I’m not talking ’bout marriage here, although that was true, too- no, I meant between myself and God).

That growth is ongoing, of course, and will be forever. I started by making the simple changes I needed to, in order to make the opportunities for communication to happen. I started getting to church, and becoming more actively involved there. I began to make time to pray, and study, and think, again. I spent time reflecting on things that I’d heard, and known-but-denied, and acknowledging that sometimes, other people might know us better than we know ourselves.

And so, eventually, I took an opportunity to explore some things at the Seminary in New York; I jumped into some things at church that I’d never done before, and they were amazing. I started teaching the high school classes, as I’d done years before. I started working with various groups, and these days, I’ve found myself on the vestry- whodda thunk THAT, five years ago?

I’ve struggled, and still do- and probably will, forever, with wanting things that aren’t good for me, aren’t what God wants for me; and, no doubt, I will succumb to those temptations, and beat myself up for it, for not being stronger, or better, or whatever.

But, I’ve learned something that I can cling too, that I grasp, that I hold dear to my heart, and that I thank God for each and every day, each and every time I pray. I’ve learned that I am much happier, much more complete, much more than I used to be- if I remember to pray “Thy will”.

There is a whole range of things I can think of, and point to, and reflect on, that let me know that I am finally heading where I’m supposed to be, that at least I’m at the beginning of the right road for me to take. I’m not going to try to catalog them all, I’ll spare you that.

But, one of the steps that I took last week, is a huge one. A letter was sent to a carefully, prayerfully chosen group of eight people of our parish. This letter is the biggest thing I’ve ever tackled, and the most important thing of all, in so many ways- so, I’m placing it here, as well as in my heart and the hearts of the ones that received it in the mail.


To: ***
From: Father ***
Date: Ash Wednesday – 2009
Re: Discernment Committee – David ***

Dear Friends –

I write to ask your help in serving on a discernment committee for David ***. David has a strong sense of calling to serve in ordained ministry in the church, and has over the past two years begun the work of testing that calling by taking some classes at General Seminary and by substantially increasing his involvement in various church ministries here at Christ Church. The time has come to assemble a parish level discernment committee on his behalf.

The work of a discernment committee varies with the candidate they seek to serve, but always involves hearing the story of the candidate’s life and sense of calling, and helping the candidate reflect on their experiences of both church ministry and ministry in the wider world. Discernment committee work is typically prayerful, deep and nourishing for all involved. This committee will meet to assist and support David until he either moves beyond the parish level in the “process” of formation for priestly ordination, or until he is clear his vocational calling lies in another arena.

If you agree to serve on this committee, you can expect to meet about once every six weeks, usually on a Sunday afternoon. Past discernment committees have typically shared a simple lunch together after church, meeting for about an hour and a half. We will convene for our first meeting of the group at some time early in the Easter season.

You are receiving this invitation for very specific reasons. I trust you will honestly and prayerfully consider serving with this group. Your presence would be a blessing to us all, and David in particular.

I will call soon to answer any questions and see if you’ll be joining us. Thanks in advance for your kind consideration.

Faithfully Yours –

Father ***

Obviously, I don’t know for sure where this will lead. I think I do, and so do many others- but the point is to help discern that. But that’s okay, right? Cuz I get to say, “THY will…”

Filed under: depression, emotions, God, learning, love, lynn, marriage, suicide, , , , , , , , ,

Shiney Sharp

Always, in my toolkit, is a box of single-edge razor blades. They’re incredibly useful, for scraping, for shaving wood or fiberglass, for stripping and trimming wires. The other day, I was using a razor blade to work on a computer power cord, and I found myself almost overwhelmed by a cold rush of fear. I actually dropped it, as if it was burning my fingers, as if it was a snake that would lash out and strike. Just picking up this simple tool, this inanimate object, gave me such a horrid, cold feeling that I can’t really describe it.

Why? Because the lowly blade was going to help me, back in the dark, to find a way to stop hurting. Scary, to look back now, and see how close I came, more than once, to permanent darkness- for although I do believe in God, and heaven, I’m not so sure about getting there personally.

Thank God, thank Frank Warren and PostSecret, and Cassie of the 1-800-suicide story on that website, I’m not in that darkness, not now. No, these days, although I have my moments (probably too many of them), I’m able to laugh, love and function, I can get on with my days most of the time, and I can continue to seek out ways to shove the Black Thing back and away.

And, best of all- I can pick up that blade, that bit of shiny stainless steel, and use my hands to guide it, and repair a computer cord with it- and when done, put it away where it belongs, a useful tool that doesn’t have any larger place in my life, anymore.

And that’s a good feeling.

Filed under: depression, frank warren, postsecret, razor blade, suicide

Post Secret Friday night

Secrets, Secrets, and more Secrets. I spent the evening learning secrets, and it was fascinating. Yes, I was one of the lucky ones, that arrived at Ramapo College early enough to get a seat, at the PostSecret event that was held here Friday evening.

I don’t know the seating capacity, but the school enforces a capacity code, and some unknown number of people were unable to get in. Frank Warren, the creator and artist responsible for the whole PostSecret phenomenon is a great speaker, with stories and insights of his own, but truly, the secrets do speak for themselves.

It’s a mind-opening experience, to sit and listen to him speak, and share with the world his reasons for starting the whole project, and his reasons for continuing it. The hall was full of people, many carrying copies of one, two or even all three of the PostSecret books, but I truly think everyone there was fascinated by thinking that, however briefly and indirectly, their own secret might be shown to the world.

I know for me, the project, the first book, and Frank’s work with the art and 1-800-suicide have had a major impact on me. It was the first book, which had that number printed in it, and the website, which I had been reading often enough to remind me that the number was available, that saved my life one summer day last year.

Funny, about that- I did call the number, and it was answered- but, I really never spoke to the person on the phone, at all. I was so emotionally, spiritually, wrecked, I think I just said something like “Oh god, I have to go.” But, that was enough, for the moment. The simple little phone call, the person on the other end, just saying “Hi, what’s going on with you today?”… was enough to keep my hands from turning the wheel any further, and the bridge stanchion didn’t get to claim a life that time.

This was the second time I’ve gone to see the presentation, actually- the first time, I went into New York, with Lynn, and watched. I bought both books two and three that night, and we stood in line to have them signed, and to speak to Frank. In the end, I asked him to sign them, said something about the first book saving my life, and started to feel so overwhelmed with emotion I couldn’t speak. We left the store, and I’m not really sure if we were both in tears, or if it was just me; but I was so profoundly grateful for the acts of God that took place during that summer, that led me to being able to go and say thank you to a man I’d never met.

And now, when I think of secrets- why we love them so, why we cling to them as if they’ve become part of us, I imagine that we all have this box that lives in us, and sometime we should let them go. I know that sometimes, keeping a secret is just plain easier on the status quo, and sometimes, clutching it in ourselves might be the lesser of two evils. At least, we think so sometimes.

I made a friend last night, too, which was unexpected. I was walking in, and there was a woman who was also looking for the event, who had driven over from Connecticut. We chatted, as we looked for the room, and after the event had coffee and chatted some more. Very interesting, to realize how many, many people also feel this connection to the secrets, and the different ways that we both viewed and imagined the story behind some of the individual secrets.

She told me she’d sent in a secret, just a few days ago, and that it did feel good, to let go of it, to pass it on and give it away. Similar to how some of us use our blogs, I imagine- for me, I know that a big reason I write and post here, is to get rid of some of the baggage and thoughts and emotions that swirl around in my head and heart. (Of course, what I didn’t know, is that I’d start to meet and connect with other bloggers, and form interesting friendships that way- but I’m thinking it’s a wonderful part of it).

Pretty great evening, all in all- a fun way to start the weekend.

Filed under: depression, frank warren, friends, postsecret, suicide

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