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Written by St. Jude

Maybe it’s enough to just feel the sun on a given day, or feel the rain bouncing off our bodies. While we go about our days worried over our choices of religion and how it’s affecting our relationships with our family and with God, we become completely blind to the day and the moments that surround us.  We wrap ourselves in worry, guilt, and fear, insulating us from the very simplicity we seek--the moment we stand in. We don’t own anything in this life. Families transition as easily as the landscape of up and coming cities as well as dying ones. We can only claim two things as our own in life: The moment we are currently in and space we take up within that moment and both are in constant transition.

I have spent endless hours poring over my faith and how to define it. More often I am left to wonder if I will ever define it and if I finally do settle on a definition I can’t help but wonder if it will turn out to be nothing more than a philosophy of warm fuzzies lacking just as much basis in reality as the religion I left.  I have pored over books, googled  for answers, and spent countless hours posting on boards set up to support those who have lost their faith thinking maybe I don’t have to reinvent the wheel after all. Surely people smarter than I have already asked these questions and have found the answers I’m looking for. But after losing myself in this search for so long I realize that answers only lead to more questions, more questions to more doubt, more doubt to more unanswered questions and while the cycle becomes all-consuming, life is marching past my window without me.  This is too high a price to pay in pursuit of finding answers to things that have gone unanswered long before our being here and will go unanswered long after we leave.

Maybe for some of us our time is better spent asking the questions that have answers; What does that grass feel like on bare feet, how hot is that pavement, how tight can your child or grandchild squeeze you with the biggest hug they can give, what do rocky mountain oysters really taste like, can I do one kind thing for a stranger every day for a month, how many leaves are on the branch I look out on every morning while I enjoy my breakfast…?

Two things, that is all we have, the moment, and the space we take up within that moment. At death the moment is gone and the space we take up will only be granted to us six feet below anyone’s view. Right now the space we claim has a much better view than the one will hold when we die. So what lies within your view? What’s in the space you’re sitting in right now? Is their family? Have you really engaged them today? Maybe a great view out that window? What’s the temperature of air that surrounds you right now? What sounds can you hear? Is there silence? Can you feel it?  Maybe living in the moment, asking questions that you can find answers to, is where we find God. If not, the very worst we can do is find ourselves.

I’m sure there are plenty of people who will read this and argue the importance of asking the difficult questions and the nobleness of a life spent in pursuit of those answers. If you are enjoying your journey, then who can fault you? But simple as it may seem, I have found answers to questions I didn’t know I was asking by asking the questions I could find answers to. For me, this is a much more enjoyable journey. Now, if nobody objects I’m heading outside to see if the clouds have cleared, the temperature has dropped, and can I see the stars tonight.

Reposted: Thoughts on Suicide

Few tragedies equal the loss of a loved one to suicide.  In honor of suicide prevention week The Peacewriter proudly reposts this essay by Tom Perry.  In addition to his work for The Peacewriter, Tom volunteers as a trained crisis center counselor.  His work after suffering a personal loss is inspirational.  Here are his thoughts:

I had to confront suicide of a good friend recently. I’ve been fortunate that this is the first time someone close to me has committed suicide. This was a whole new experience for me. I’ve dealt with death many times, some unexpected, some were a welcome from the suffering. What I found interesting was the unexpected emotions that I was confronted with. Anger, regret, betrayal were some of these. These are new emotions for me to tie with a death. I gotta tell you, this was new to me.

I spoke to this friend only hours before he took his own life. He left no note and his family hasn’t said much what they speculate as to what the cause may have been. I began to wonder why do we all need to find the reason, or cause of what caused him to do this? What if he had slowly been planning this? What if something completely out of the blue set him over the edge in one moment? But the real question is, why do we need to know? Is it to simply satisfy our need to calm our unclear nerves or minds? I think it is telling that all of us feel like we need to have a clear, logical answer to something that is completely unexpected and unnerving.

Suicide isn’t something that hasn’t crossed each of our minds at one time or another. As humans we all deal with emotions that involved depression. It’s not a good experience. Some require therapy and medication to cope with severe depression. I am not immune to this either. I have thought about taking my life to the extent of planning out an action to do it. I was in my teens and I was very depressed. This is nothing new looking from the outside in, but to me at that time, it was all consuming. Nothing else mattered. Nothing. I went as far as pushing the knife in causing only a small cut, but luckily I chickened out before it got really serious.

So in a very small way I found I was jealous of my friend. I know how messed up that sounds, but to be honest I still find myself with suicidal thoughts. But I never entertain those thoughts very long. As harsh as it sounds, suicide is a very selfish act and I could never put those I dearly love through something like that.

In fact, my 12 year old daughter recently told me that she has thought about suicide from time to time. This wasn’t something that I wanted to hear from her. After I calmed myself down I sat next to her and told her about my friend. I told her some brief things about him. Things like he was a father of 4 kids, had a great job and how generally happy he was. I then went on and told her about the times I’ve thought about it as well. With her eyes wide open I said, “Tell you what. If you do decide to go through with it please come talk to me before you do anything. And in return, I will do the same to you. And even after talking to me if you are still determined to still go through with it, we will do it together. Because, to be completely honest with you sweetie, I just don’t want to be around if you won’t be here to share life with me. So what do you think? Deal?” With tears in both of our eyes, we did a pinky swear on it. So the deal is now set in stone.

I’m still having a tough time coping with my friend taking his life. I wish I could have been a better friend to him. Someone he felt like he could trust and confide in. But I loved him and even if I was that friend he may have still done this. Who really knows? But what I do know is that death is hard to cope with, but suicide is something that I wish on no one. Suicide is easy for the one who does it, but the family and friends who are left. Man. That just isn’t fair. I just wish that my friend would have taken a moment to really consider those who loved him dearly before himself.

So if you are in that place, or just simply considering it, will you do us all a favor and talk to someone first? Anyone. In fact, I freely extend the offer of a listening ear. I do know how overwhelming those feelings can be.

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who we are

Welcome to The Peacewriter.

We all want to belong somewhere, to someone. It is a basic human need.

If you have ever experienced a period of doubt or questioned your beliefs in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you know that this is not a minor thing. It is tantamount to a crisis, and one that can be life altering.

Lose your testimony, and you stand to lose everything that matters.

There are those who exist on the fringes of the Church, who feel disenfranchised, even unwanted. If you are single, gay or lesbian, feminist, atheist, or uncorrelated, it can be tough to feel like a part of the community. You may feel that you do not belong.

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This is the place to share common experiences, to find a voice, to be heard. This is the place to seek after peace, and to find it in the common ties we share.

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