Daring to Care

aliciasummers56 By aliciasummers56, 19th Feb 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

An encounter which I met with a few months ago that made me stop to think. Let's just say, I never thought it would happen to me, or anyone I knew...

I Never Would Have Known

She wouldn't have told me otherwise. I can't help but wonder if life for the both of us would have been different if I hadn't stayed an extra five minutes in the small chapel within the high school building that day in October.
A good friend of mine--we shall call her Michelle--and I visited the chapel everyday before lunch to thank God for the meals we were to eat and just to talk to Him about struggles, triumphs, and blessings our day had brought us to that point. Michelle usually sat in the back of the chapel, while I sat in the front, and either prayed the rosary or sat in meditation.
Also with us most every day was another friend--"Devin"--who was also a devout man of prayer, or at least, as devout as one could be at the age of 18. Devin sat wherever he pleased, which usually was anywhere in the back on the opposite side of where Michelle would sit, and lead the occupants of the chapel in a brief but concise prayer of thanks.
On that day, as I mentioned, I had stayed only a few minutes longer than I usually did, because I had something I needed to tell Devin, which to my memory wasn't too important, and was probably a little story or remark about something we both were interested in. So I made my way beack to where he was and sat a few seats next to him. We both laughed as i shared with him and he gave his two cents about the subject I brought up.
Michelle had been observing this interaction and turned to face the two of us to ask a question that had arisen from her observance of our joy. With a little smile etched with irritation, she asked, "How is it that you two can be so holy all the time?" This question confused both Devin and I; So much so, we found it hard to see how our supposed holiness could be the cause for our laughter at the present time.
She went on to explain that it seemed as if nothing could ever bring the two of us down, we were simply always happy. Devin and I assured her that we each had our moment of feeling depressed and down and out, and that the reason wh we never seemed sad or unhappy was because we chose to overcome any negative feelings by trusting that God would help us through it all--and He never did fail to. Michelle coudn't understand that. She was a faithful to the rosary, the divine mercy chaplet, and all such prayers but one thing had been a setback for her. It was what she explained to us as being "trusting in God but not trusting her own trust" in Him.
After a few minutes of discussion, Michelle had revealed to us that this mistrust had led her to, perhaps, taking matters into her own hands--almost literally.
You see, Michelle was an A-A+ student, and one who was easily disappointed with herself if ever she were to sink below that range. Likewise, Michelle had applied that mindset to her faith life. There was no room for errors in her mind, and any errors must be corrected. In other words, Michelle had resorted to cutting herself as a punishment for sins she had committed.
My heart sank. I couldn't beieve someone so talented, so devout, so loved, could be reduced by guilt so much as to self-inflict pain to make up for sins that had already been forgiven. Devin and I spent the rest of our lunch period trying desperately to help Michelle realize that her form of "punishment" was unnecessary, and that the very God she prayed to everyday had sent His Son to die on a cross with the sole purpose of forgiving all sin and to bring us life.
This attempt brought forth an even more dismal revelation: Just a year before, Michelle had been suicidal. She had planned her death to the last detail, and, like most in this state, had not believed she would be missed the next day. But someone had told her, just before she left school that day, that they wanted to see her alive the next day. I am certain that person had no idea what effect that statement had, but indeed it was the very thing that kept Michelle from ending her life that night.
Devin and I proceeded to give up more of our lunch periods to counsel Michelle. During one of later meetings, she admitted that she was ashamed of herself for telling us, for she would have rather dealt with it herself rather than cause us the pain she knew it gave us to know she was hurting herself. But we refused to give up. Prayer, time, counseling, more prayer, more time, more counseling. All was given just to prove to Michelle she was worth more than she could imagine.
For a month or so, the cutting ceased. In this time, Michelle allowed me to read her diary, which proved to me that this was in fact an inner, spiritual struggle. She was hearing a voice. Psychological or spiritual, I am not sure. This voice would argue with her every now and then to try and presuade her to hurt herself some more. I urged her to begin praying the prayer of St. Michael, which intercedes that Satan and all his demons be cast away.
I don't know how often she prayed this prayer, but one day in early December, she told me she had gotten into the habbit once more. This time I urged her to talk to a priest. At first she refused, and to this day I do not know if she ever did. So I began to discuss the situation with a priest, who teaches at the high school, as often as I could. With his help, I was able to steer Michelle in the right direction, and to this day Michelle has been clean of her addictions with cutting.
What lessons did I learn? Well, several, actually. But the most important one I believe both Michelle and I learned was that there is not one person on this earth that can do everything successfully on his or her own. We need help, all of us, and the greatest help we can receive is that which is given by God Himself. And it is ours, if we only ask for it.


Being A Friend, Stepping In, Suicide

Meet the author

author avatar aliciasummers56
I am 18 years old, and I absolutely love to write. I really could just write about everything, but personal issues and experiences are easiest for me.

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