By Abbot Tryphon
Life has many turns and many trials, but when we keep centered on all the good that is in our life, the trials are short-lived. Many Have Contemplated Suicide | The Morning Offering.
The Center for Disease Control has found that 1-in-4 18-24 yr-olds had contemplated suicide in the previous 30 days, and 80% of students have reported the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health. Meanwhile, substance use continues to rise. The Vashon Island Youth and Family Services counselors have seen a more than 22% increase in the number of clients in 2020, with the number of young adults continuing to grow every month into 2021.
As we Orthodox Christians confront this present pandemic, we need to be aware of how much we can contribute to the emotional, spiritual, and physical health of others. Walking through life with a smile on our face and a song in our heart is the best way to help others stay afloat during one of the most difficult periods in modern history. When we keep our mind and heart in a good place, we are empowered to be a lifeline to others. Life has many turns and many trials, but when we keep centered on all the good that is in our life, the trials are short lived.
The message from God was that he was loved, and that God had a plan for his life, and this period of despair would soon pass. Many Have Contemplated Suicide | The Morning Offering.
As Christians we must remember that smiles are contagious. Ever notice how a room brightens up when someone walks in who is always smiling, always happy, always extending a warm greeting to others? What better gift can we give another, than a sincere smile.
Contemplated Suicide | The messenger
I remember finding a young man sitting on a log, deep on the trail above Multnomah Falls, on the Columbia River of Oregon, many years ago. I’d hiked up the switchback trail to the primordial forest. As a young man I’d frequently run that trial, finding the peace and solitude I so craved.
About four miles from the top, I was somewhat surprised to find another person, sitting alone on a log. Since there had been only one other car parked at the lodge, I did not expect to see anyone. As he was deep in thought, I apologized for startling him. Sensing something was wrong, I commented on the beauty of God’s creation and asked if he’d like to share a sandwich and some coffee. He surprised me with his question, asking if I was an angel.
Sitting down on the log next to him, I opened my backpack, and offered him half of my lunch. A few moments passed when he turned to me, showed me a revolver, and told me he’d come to this remote spot with the intent of killing himself. When he saw me appear with a long white beard and hair, and dressed in my long black robe, he’d first thought I might be an angel, sent by God.
Contemplated Suicide | The Plan
He confessed that he’d been praying that God would forgive him for what he was about to do. I assured him that I was indeed flesh and blood, and certainly no angel. But I also told him that I was sent by God with a message. The message from God was that he was loved, and that God had a plan for his life, and this period of despair would soon pass.
To this day I feel blessed that God allowed me to be His messenger on that lonely trail, and I try to be available each and every day as His messenger. Many Have Contemplated Suicide | The Morning Offering.
He handed me his revolver. I emptied the gun of the bullets, and placed it in my backpack, and we had a long conversation about his life. Eventually we walked together back to our vehicles. With the promise that he would return the revolver to his father, and with the promise he’d let his father know he’d intended to kill himself, until that encounter with a monk, I handed him the gun, and we parted ways.
Contemplated Suicide | The Light
I’ve long wondered about the direction his life must have taken after that encounter in the forest, so very many years ago. I’ve also wondered what would have happened if I’d continued on that trail without stopping to greet him, without offering a smile and a shared sandwich.
To this day I feel blessed that God allowed me to be His messenger on that lonely trail, and I try to be available each and every day as His messenger. When we make a concerted effort to be centered in Christ, each and every day, each and every hour, we clear the way for our heart and mind to be a vehicle for the love of Christ to others. When we put aside ourselves and put on Christ, we become God’s messengers, and serve as beacons of light for those who have become overwhelmed with hopelessness.
With love in Christ,
About The Brotherhood of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a monastery of the Western American Diocese, under the omophor of His Eminence Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America. The Monastery is a non-profit 501 C3 organization under IRS regulations. All donations are therefore tax deductible.
We depend on the generosity of our friends and benefactors. You can donate to the monastery through PayPal, or by sending donations directly to the monastery’s mailing address:
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
P.O. Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA
Another small way to contribute to the monastery if one already purchases items through the amazon.com website is to use the smile.amazon.com link associated with our monastery. Purchases will accrue a small percentage that will eventually be given to the monastery in time. For more information, please go our website page here: https://vashonmonks.com/using-amazon-smile
By: Abbot Tryphon | The All-Merciful Saviour Orthodox Monastery on Vashon Island. Washington, United States
Delivered to you by COPTICNN™ | Coptic News Network on 2020-03-01 from Washington, United States
Columnists: COPTICNN™ award-winning columnists are a fundamental pillar of our coverage. They range in their interests from orthodoxy, faith, politics, to world affairs, to business, to the arts, to the way we live. No matter the issue, they are always in the middle of our Christian discourse. They are trusted by our readers and followed by many Coptic Orthodox Christians worldwide. Influential, provocative, and engaging, our columnists provide insights and analysis that can’t be found elsewhere, making them a prime destination for WORLD readers.