Shades of what could have been….

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So I know it’s completely random that I’m posting for the first time in like a week……but I saw something today that caused my soul to tremble and my stomach to go queasy.

The story was horrible enough, Jamie Hubley, a 15 year old Ottawa resident committed suicide over the weekend. This was a gr. 10 student struggling to find acceptance, friendship, and love.

It wasn’t the news report itself that got to me…..but rather, visiting the blog that he maintained.

I forewarn you that the images contained on his site are very dark…. as are the contents of the posts.

Reading through this child’s life, I felt my heart literally break. Not only that, but I was forced to remember my own sense of helplessness not only as a teen but as a young adult.

Jamie’s story differs significantly from mine….and I’m not even going to pretend we were in the same league in terms of struggle. He was openly struggling with an addiction to cutting, while at the same time trying to understand and accept his sexual orientation.

I never came close to cutting…..So I’m not even going to attempt to talk about that…. but thinking of suicide was a regular feature of my life from about 13-17….and it wouldn’t have been very hard to accomplish either…….

With my Mom on strong narcotics due to her Lupus and fibro-mayalgia, all I had to do was sneak into her room and grab a fistful of oxys while she was out running errands.

Depression and suicidal thoughts weren’t entirely unique to my teen years either. As strange as it may sound, my thoughts of ending it all came up most strongly when I moved to London and started seminary. 😛

I know it sounds crazy. You would think that someone who is dedicated to God and the service of others would be immune to these kinds of notions….but (for me at least) it was quite the opposite.

I had never been quite so isolated in my life. No family. No friends. And a class full of seminarians who were in committed relationships….something I had longed for since I was 14, and never really got to experience to that point in my life. 😦

Now that I lived on my own, and had purchasing power….it would be super easy to purchase and register a fire-arm. It would be quick….and for once I wouldn’t feel bogged down by the weight of my tears. 😦

Through all of that….something held me back. Part of the biggest deterrent for me was (and continues to be) my nieces and nephews. As much as I can sometimes hate my own life, I absolutely adore theirs. <3.

As much as I sometimes want peace and quiet and rest for myself…somehow that doesn't seem worth the price of not being able to see them grow and learn and love.

So why am I mentioning this on a site that is supposed to provide spiritual guidance and uplifting??? I suppose the simple answer is this: I could have been that 15 year old suicide stat. Depression is real and it hurts. Cutting is real….and it hurts. Loneliness is real. And out of those three, it's loneliness that seems to hurt the most.

While faith can provide hope, support, love, and healing….that doesn't take away from the reality that loss is both real and tragic. 😦

Any one of us could be struggling with mental illness, physical pain, or emotional torment on a given day….and sometimes…..that suffering is well hidden.

For all of you who are dealing with sadness, apathy, frustration, a sense of uselessness, a feeling of being insignificant to yourself and to others…..you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to cry…..don’t be afraid to talk about it….don’t be afraid to share your feelings…

’cause the person you talk to might be the one who holds up the light for you. The person you talk to may be the one who wraps you in their arms and says I love you. And even if they aren’t….please know that there is a blogger in London, Ontario Canada that is thinking of you tonight.

Tonight we remember Jamie Hubley and all who are now at rest. Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let light perpetual shine upon them. ❤ +

An Evening of Nostalgia: Part 2-“Remember Who You Are…..”

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Given the fact that I have seen the Lion King so many times…..even memorized it…….it came as a shock last night when I saw certain scenes, and heard certain lines in a completely different way then when I was 12.

The Lion King is a fairly deep movie….with a lot of intricate themes. While it is not an overtly Christian movie…..like say, The Matrix Trilogy ……it does strike me that the story of Simba is one of redemption and anamnesis.

These two major themes are set up by the main crisis of the film: Simba’s overwhelming sense of guilt and shame over Mufasa’s death.

Through Scar’s emotional manipulation, the young cub comes to view himself as a horrible person.

If developmental psychology has taught us anything, it’s that a child around Simba’s age would be highly susceptible to that kind of thinking…especially in their quest for acceptance within the family unit and by others.

This skewed sense-of-self, and Simba’s earnest desire to forget his identity as the crown-prince of Pride Rock affects the way he grows up and perceives himself.

Don’t believe me???..Check out his thoughts, body language and facial expressions while at the river with Nala (1:05)

Simba’s guilt is so pervasive, that he feels unworthy of being loved and embraced. Up until now, he has been able to forget himself, and is further convinced that the problems of the world don’t have to involve him. He acknowledges that the past can’t be changed…..but he doesn’t think there is anything beyond it…or at least anything worth holding on to….

Hakuna Matata, right????

Enter Rafiki. Through this encounter, Simba learns that–as much as he may try to escape it–the past is a part of his being…..and he must remember the way in which it has shaped him….otherwise the guilt will never go away……

What struck me the most though is Mufasa’s message: Look inside yourself…..You are more than what you have become….Remember who you are! You are my son and the one true king. Remember who you are! Remember……Remember…..Remember…..

In Christian understanding…..anamnesis…..the act of remembering……is never a one way street…..It not only entails who God is….what He has done and how He has shaped us and made us….but remembering who we are .

While we still have the propensity to sin and make mistakes…..we are more than what we have become….While the past may haunt us and be filled with horrible things, they are not the whole of who we are.

Unlike Simba, we are not the True King… BUT we do bear his image. We–like Christ–are called to be priest, prophet and yes… even kings and queens :D.

The notion of faith bringing us a crown of glory is not foreign to the Christian tradition. Check out Rev 4:10 or the words of Emily Dickinson writing in the Puritan miluex of the 19th century:

Too little could I care for Pearls
Who own the ample sea—
Or Brooches—when the Emperor—
With Rubies—pelteth me—

Or Gold—who am the Prince of Mines—
Or Diamonds—when have I
A Diadem to fit a Dome—
Continual upon me—

In the end, the Lion King comes to accept that the past is an integral part of who he is. While he is not defined by it….and while it still causes him intense pain…there is something beyond it. We can learn from our past……and add on to it….finding our way back home…..and claiming our rightful place in life.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again……I ❤ this movie! Thanks be to God for movies that can make us feel like children again and that can still speak to us even after 17 years! 🙂 +

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