A Beautiful Life

IMG_2244 - Version 2Soul Food:

Psalm 27

“I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” ~

In the movie A Beautiful Mind, John Forbes Nash, Jr., who won a Nobel Prize in spite of a life-long struggle with mental illness, concluded, “Perhaps it is good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to discover a beautiful heart.”

I haven’t spoken directly about the circumstances surrounding my husband’s death on September 16, mostly due to the shock and unfathomable heartache, but also because mere words have failed so badly; some things cannot be expressed adequately in this life. However, today I feel compelled to share some reflections; like most of my thoughts, they may sound a little jumbled because our lives have been turned upside down. Many people have asked, “What happened to Jerry, and did you see it coming?” … The abbreviated answer is, “Jerry committed suicide, but, no, we did not see it coming.” … To those of us who knew and loved him, the day seemed perfectly normal – it was a beautiful, September day; we did not have a clue that he was considering taking his own life. My husband was loving, out-going, zany, intelligent, driven, intense, compassionate, generous to a fault, and perfectly human.

The love and outpouring of support that our family and friends have received has been, at times overwhelming, but also inspirational; never have I experienced the presence of God in such real and tangible ways. That may seem odd coming from a minister and life-long follower of Christ, but your compassion and a larger sense of community have sustained us through the darkest moments. We are seeking help from pastors, counselors, other professionals, and loved ones; thank you for your genuine care and concern. Our focus and goals are much more simple now – In time, we will find a way to understand … and, then, discover ways to experience a life that is good again. 

A colleague and friend Scott Colglazier recently wrote, “You are trying to make sense of something that will probably never make sense. … He (Jerry) was a good man and a broken man, which means he was like all of us. … Beyond any physical or chemical explanation, I have thought for some time now that a person takes his or her life because they know they need to change their lives, but they just don’t know how to do it. And so they do the IMG_2459only thing, in that terrible moment, that makes sense to them. Because of this, I have always felt as if God is the only one who understands such brokenness and desperation.” 

Another friend Greg Barron reminded me of something that I wrote to him a couple of years ago, “Greg, I was so sorry today to hear about your friend’s death; it was the second suicide this week – a young man in Weatherford also took his own life; both have saddened me. Many people will agonize and wonder, ‘What if?’ and ‘If I had only known…’; others will contemplate their places in eternity, wondering if God really is big enough to handle depression that deep. I have held a lot of men and women who have lost loved ones, standing at bed-sides when the last breath of life has been exhaled, and I am convinced that God always finds a way to bring his beloved children home. {When Jesus gave up his life, the two men on either side both begged in their own ways, at the last minute, to go with him.} Depression is a sad illness that renders a person incapable of thinking clearly; however, I know that the Lord draws his beloved in – just as the Apostle Paul says, ‘For we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words…'” ~

Many of you have asked what I believe now, following my husband’s death; it’s a fair question with complicated answers: But, basically, I believe in God, Creator of the world with all of its brokenness and goodness; I believe in Jesus Christ, Redeemer and Savior, through God’s grace and love; and I believe in the eternal power of God’s Holy Spirit that inspires life, light, and hope out of darkness and death.

I’ll close this morning with a few more words from Scott Colglazier, “The day will come when you will remember Jerry not for his brokenness, but for the beauty, goodness, love and kindness that he brought to the world.”  I do and I always will … And I continue to thank God for him every day.

Peace to you and yours ~


2 comments on “A Beautiful Life”
  1. Jennifer Green says:

    Katie – you were so comforting to me after my uncle’s suicide. You were the beacon of light in a time when my family was getting such terrible responses from clergy. Love and hugs to you, Katie. I can’t say anything that you do not already know, or have not already said to comfort so many other people who have walked this terrible road before you.

    1. Love and hugs right back at you! I miss you, by the way!

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