It is customary, when deciding to die, to write a suicide note.
Before I write the note, however, you need some background.
I was little and lying in bed. The light of a streetlight shining through the curtains dimly lit my teddy beside me. The bedroom door quietly opened and he crept in. My heart pounded as he climbed into bed beside me. He was telling me that he loved me, but doing things to me that were not loving and that hurt. I did not understand. He was my fun uncle, taking me fishing, teaching me football and treating me at MacDonald's. He said this was just a different kind of fun. When it was finished he told me to keep it as our secret and left. I was so confused. Was this really another kind of fun? I felt dirty and ashamed, but I knew he was right. It had to be a secret.
I dreaded the times my uncle came to stay and the stealthy night visits resumed. As I grew, I burned with a black anger, becoming moody and morose at times, shouting at my parents and slamming doors at others. When I was sixteen I ran away from home, running from my uncle, but also from myself. But how do you run from yourself? Wherever I went, the stain and shame followed.
Then my uncle was transferred and I went home. My parents were delighted, yet the pain in their eyes added to my shame. I know they prayed for me. We went to church each Sunday but I knew I was too dirty for God.
My solace was the piano and I had a talent for it, playing in local concerts and becoming well known. But if they really knew me, I thought, and the loathing I had for my uncle they would jeer, not cheer. I went on a self-destructive course I did not understand, cutting myself deliberately and taking long walks in sleet and snow with thin clothing. The freezing numbness did not help.
In desperation one night I decided to end it all. I checked into a multi-storey hotel with access to the roof. I would jump from there at midnight. Meantime I needed to leave a note, but what to say?
Distressed, I reached in my pocket for a tissue. What was this? Oh, yes, a pamphlet thrust at me at the end of my concert. Certain texts seemed to glow as I read them:
"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Is that true, God? NO condemnation?
"...the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame."
NO shame? Can You actually like me?
"He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."
My mind was in turmoil as I read, but, almost apprehensively, excitement was rising. Hope stirred. Perhaps I was not too dirty or worthless for God.
At the end of the pamphlet was printed a prayer. I knelt at the side of my hotel bed and prayed it. There was no bolt of lightning, but I felt washed and whole; good for the first time in my life, and valued.
I slept like a baby and arose the next morning a new man with a new sense of purpose.
One month later, here I am writing this. I have joined a church and love being God's child.
Oh! And the suicide note? ...... Not from the hotel room, of course, but I am being baptised next week and here is my note:
"Jesus says, 'Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.' Paul says, ' offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.' and 'we who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into His death.'
I want you to know, family and friends (and strangers reading this) that I am going to die. I am dying to the shame of my past, to the hatred that I felt, especially to you, Uncle Bob and to the irrational things I did to hurt myself and others. Goodbye, cruel world. You have no hold over me now, for I am a new creature in Christ. The old has died, the new is born and there is nothing that can separate me from His love.
I invite all those in despair to join me in entering a brave new world."
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