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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Rest (01/17/13)

TITLE: Please Bring Peace
By Emily Ritter


I once facebooked a person whose brother had committed suicide by jumping off a bridge.
“God can heal this somehow,” I said, and immediately regretted the message. What can be said to a person who has endured such tragedy? I had wanted to encourage him to rest in the reality of God, a reality I know he had encountered in college, but drifted from when he met and married his wife.

The sight of him worshiping God at college was stunning. I can picture him now—the bad boy from our high school, the one who used to sneak fellow 17-year-olds (of the female persuasion) up to the catwalk to indulge in the type of physical quieting that comes after fast beating hearts and missing clothes—kneeling at my window, openly acknowledging God in front of me and my roommate, as he prepared to make a bed on the floor.

He had always been attractive and mysterious, but in the way that would lead a rule-follower (like myself) down a path to suspension. But now his mystery hung in the warmth of his smile. The way he seemed to feel deep satisfaction from simple laughter with a friend. He masterfully witnessed the reality of God’s personhood to me (an agnostic) just in the peacefulness of his demeanor as he emerged from silent prayer, and his boldness to do something odd, to interrupt the normal flow of the evening, kneel, with everyone staring; he wasn’t going to miss meeting with his God. And the richness of his commitment was something I couldn’t get close enough to. I wanted more.

As I facbooked him that night, desperate to remind him of the peace he had once bowed and received, I prayed for God to help me not belittle his inconceivable pain. At his brother’s funeral I stopped moving, breathing, and blinking as I noticed his refusal to participate in the receiving line. The frigidity flooded my body as if I were slowly dipped in a murky cold lake. My brain stopped; my breath stopped, to make room for his pain.

I found him outside smoking with friends, and wanted to hug him. I wanted to hold him so badly, the way I had when we danced and sang in my dorm room. But his retreat was too evident to approach. It was as if he were standing on a different planet from me.

To this day, three years later, I still wonder how he eats an orange for breakfast, puts his shoes on and heads for work, knowing that his brother fell to his death on purpose, leaving a note of explanation. I guess life continues. We keep noticing the rise and fall of inhalation on our own chests; we keep grudgingly falling to sleep, and filling our mouths with perishable delicacies. Somehow God can heal this. Somehow.

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This article has been read 299 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Bonnie Bowden 01/24/13
God can bring peace out of tragedy, but sometimes situations can be difficult to deal with.
Myrna Noyes01/24/13
This is a very poignant and touching story, and you drew me in right away. Your writing style is descriptive and engaging. I really liked your ending, too. Good job! :)
C D Swanson 01/26/13
I really was pulled in to this entry, immediately. The subject of suicide is never easy to write about, but you managed to do so with finesse and class. Your ability to entertain on such a sad subject is not easy to do.

I am surprised you are in this level, you will not be here long. An altogether excellent piece with thought provoking moments.

God works in ways beyond our understanding. He'll always give us beauty for our ashes. I'm sure somehow the young man found God's grace as he goes through life.

Excellent job!

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/27/13
I have tears in my eyes as I read the story. You brought the characters to life for me and the pain was so real it jumped off the page. Suicide is such a tricky subject to talk about. So many people fear saying the wrong thing that often those left behind do not receive the solace that they so desperately need. The first and biggest thing you can do for a relative of a suicide victim is pray for them. Often people say well the least I can do is pray, but in actuality it is the most one can do. Your words will touch the hearts of many people. Good job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/31/13
Congratulations for ranking 11th in level one!
Beth LaBuff 02/04/13
I too, was touched by your story and the helplessness that is felt by those wanting to sympathize with the family. Our God is big, may He somehow reach through all the circumstances and draw your friend back. Keep praying and don't give up on Him.