Two celebrities took their lives last week.
Since then, our country has been heartbroken and spinning and sad.
And so have I.
I’d venture to guess that in some way, so have you. This may have hit way too close to home. If this topic is sensitive and raw for you, know that the following words are not without you in mind.
You’ve probably seen the gajillion posts that have been thrown around on social media. It feels like I must have read every one. They’ve said – check on your friends. Check on your strong friends, your quiet friends, every kind of friend you have.
They’ve said – reach out and ask for help. Others countered and said, “That’s not enough. YOU reach out.”
All of it’s true. All of it is the right response.
How can we be fighting about this?
I’ve felt so unsettled. It’s broken my heart that someone actually acted on the state of their heart enough to end their life. And there are people who will think they are sad because they’ll no longer be able to buy a new purse or watch a CNN special.
These people are people. Every celebrity, every addict, every bullied teenager. One is not worse than the other. One is not worth discussing over another. Each one is a daughter, a brother, a best friend, someone’s mom.
So I sit back, as probably so many of us do, and wonder – what can we do? What can I do?
The answer doesn’t feel like much. The answer feels generic and vague. It doesn’t take away the loss people have to process through, but it does change how they process.
The answer is love.
If this doesn’t feel like enough, then we’re missing it.
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35
Are there actions we should be taking, too? Yes. Faith without works is dead. The world is tired of “thoughts and prayers” without action. I’m not talking about feeling an emotion.
Love is not a passive thought. Love says – I see you. You are important. You are valued. You are not defined by the things you do. You are worth my time. You are worth my sacrifice. You are worth something, even when I have nothing to gain.
I am challenged with this every single day. I have to choose to act on love – not just to strangers or people who rub me the wrong way; but to the people I actually love the most. I have to choose to show love to little people that run around my little house. I have to choose to show them love when I am burned out and running on fumes. The man that I vowed to give my heart to; I have to choose love when we are stressed and running in a million directions.
God is love, and so He gets to say what it actually looks like. And here’s what He says about it:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
This is not just meant to be read as a spiritual tie-in on your wedding day. These words are how the world will know God. Through us. Through me. And through you.
People of all backgrounds, whether in the spotlight or living on the streets, are choosing to act on the hopelessness that they feel. And as one person, it feels helpless. Meaningless to try to help.
But oh my gosh, we are not helpless. Jesus saved us so that we would spend eternity with Him, live in freedom, and bring others in.
If you call Jesus your Savior, love is your weapon and a safety net for you to throw out. It is the rock you can stand on and the rope you lower down to those who think there’s no way out. It is the furthest thing from generic, weak, or insignificant.
Love. Love God, and love what He values. People. You. Them. Kate Spade and the elderly veteran. Anthony Bourdain and the homeless addict. Love believes and hopes and toughs it out.
I believe the world has created a stigma and has made it difficult for people to get help. But I also believe that oftentimes, we can be our own roadblock in actually stepping out for help.
So let’s do it all. Reach out to those around you. Check on people and ask the hard questions. Love the jerks you don’t know and love your family who tests you and takes advantage of you.
And if you’re the one; the one who needs someone to check on you, with as much sincerity as the internet will allow me – try. You can. Call the hotline. Comment on this post. Text your friend and tell them you’re not okay. Take the hard, impossible step.
Reaching out for professional help was one of the wisest and healthiest things I’ve ever done. What about for you? Let’s have our own #metoo moment. Love often looks like vulnerability. Putting yourself out there in hopes that someone else might feel less alone.
If love feels generic, too vague or broad, and even if it doesn’t – ask.
Ask God how you can love in the spaces you occupy today.
Love fearlessly, recklessly, thoughtfully, intentionally.
They may not know it yet, but someone is searching for the love that has rescued and taken hold of you. So give it away.