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Guest Commentary: Fingerprints, A Treatise on Hope
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Look at your hands. Look at your fingerprints. Where have they been? Where will they be? We never know who we are going to touch or who will need our help. What is the door that YOU will be opening? Because of who we are, and who God has created us to be, we are called to go forth, with courage, to face the difficulties of our generation with a strong faith and determination, having the awareness that Jesus stands by our side with the power of His love. God is always present in our lives to give us the measure of grace we need in order to triumph and overcome our difficulties.So with that, go impress your fingerprints upon the world and smudge love all over. It's what God's called us to do.and what Robin Williams and so many others would want us to do with their legacy.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - As America continues to grapple with the death of Robin Williams, some pundits have taken it upon themselves to become experts on suicide and depression. One "expert" wrote an article with the premise that the author "understood" depression and Robin Williams' death had nothing to do with the disease he was suffering from, but was rather a conscious decision he made. While I can't actually claim that I know what the author has gone through or what individual people have gone through, I do know that if addiction, depression, or other mental illness have completely consumed your mind and you see no other way out of the crushing, suffocating darkness than death itself then you are not making a conscious decision out of our own free will. That is a decision based on a lie that your subconscious is telling you. Anyone who believes differently has never been there, or never known anyone who's had to suffer through that.
Just last fall, someone close to me took his own life. When I talked about it with friends, some of them said, "That's the third I've heard about this week." And then in another conversation with a high school student she rattled off a list of people in the area high schools who had taken their life, or almost died from cutting. I also talked with a college student who told me that in the 2012 Fall Semester there were five suicides on campus. In response to this, the school opened up a suicide prevention office on campus and there was only one suicide the following semester. Then, in October, there was a man who wrote into a radio program who was in the process of taking his life, left in despair after struggling to find work and having his wife leave him. Luckily the staff caught it in time and they were able to save him. These are just a few of the countless stories out there.
There are many reasons a person finds themselves contemplating suicide: fear, stress, depression, addiction, or mental illness. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2011, the latest CDC reporting year, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for Americans with over 39,000 cases reported annually. And for every one suicide, 12 people attempt to harm themselves or attempt suicide.
It's hard to talk about it. It's hard to read about. Someone who is in such darkness that they see no other way out of the pain, loneliness, and isolation, than to take their own life is a hard reality to face--to end the pain with such finality. But we need to. As Christians, this is just the type of situation that we need to discuss because the greatest darkness requires the greatest light. Not only do we know the greatest Light, we have an awesome message to share, and a responsibility to share it.
There is a tendency in society today to think of ourselves just as creatures of Earth, just like any other animal and to think that there's no purpose to the pain and suffering we endure. Because of modern technology, we seek instant gratification constantly. So naturally some turn to drugs, alcohol, and suicide as ways to escape the reality of their pain and ease their suffering.
But the reality is that we are so much more than just lonely creatures searching for meaning. Our meaning is written into our soul. It was formed before we were created. Pope Benedict XVI once wrote, "We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary." Think about that. There is someone who is always with us, who loves us so much that He loved and willed each person into existence. Not only that, but if He ever stopped loving us, we would cease to exist.
And, in the midst of being willed and loved into existence, He also gave us unique gifts and a unique mission to carry out: we are necessary for society to flourish. To symbolize that unique, one-of-a-kind mission, He gave us our own fingerprints to impress upon the world. Remember those cool "mission impossible" type movies? One fingerprint fits to open the door to win the day and save the world.
We have been chosen and created to achieve great things in God's plan. He has chosen us for a purpose and if we follow His lead, His illuminating light will be the guiding light in our lives.
Katy Perry recently released a beautiful song called "By the Grace of God" on her latest album, Prism. In it she talks about being in the lowest point of her life, but "by the grace of God (there was no other way)/ I picked myself up (I knew I had to stay)."
Even Katy Perry, the woman who seems to have it all, was in a place where she couldn't withstand the pain of what she was going through anymore, but yet, through the grace of God, "I know I am enough/ possible to be loved/ it was not about me/ now I have to rise above. Yeah, the Truth will set you free."
For those of you who are searching for hope at the moment, I want to share something with you: I once listened to a beautiful homily on the Our Father in which the celebrant highlighted the need for us to ask for "our daily bread." This does not just mean the daily necessity of food or money to buy food, but for the all of the necessities in life. God never forgets about us. He's always with each of us, waiting for us to ask him for things we need. Not just the everyday, "Help me get this report in on time," but the higher things, those things for which we are sometimes afraid to ask such as love, kindness, compassion, peace, and the grace to face life's hardships, among many others. He wants us to come to him in Church or in adoration to be with Him so that he can give us those things which our heart longs for.
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Also, never be afraid to reach out for help. Even the best have to ask for help, advice, and prayers at some point in time. That is why God created us as social beings. We were created to live in community and depend on each other. We were created in the image of God to live in Trinitarian Love where there's a lover, the beloved, and the act of loving. Sometimes we can share and receive that love over social media and sometimes in person, but however you accept or show that love, the fact is that everyone needs it.
Look at your hands. Look at your fingerprints. Where have they been? Where will they be? We never know who we are going to touch or who will need our help. What is the door that YOU will be opening? Because of who we are, and who God has created us to be, we are called to go forth, with courage, to face the difficulties of our generation with a strong faith and determination, having the awareness that Jesus stands by our side with the power of His love. God is always present in our lives to give us the measure of grace we need in order to triumph and overcome our difficulties.
So with that, go impress your fingerprints upon the world and smudge love all over. It's what God's called us to do.and what Robin Williams and so many others would want us to do with their legacy.
Mary Powers is a recent graduate of the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas. A native of California, she currently resides in the Washington, DC area. Mary has worked within conservative pro-life politics since 2009 and has written articles for various publications including The Washington Times.
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