All Posts Tagged: suicide

Mental Health Monday—the power of listening

Lord, You listen to the desires of those who suffer. You steady their hearts; You listen closely to them. (Psalm 10:17)

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” —Epictetus

The first duty of love is to listen.” —Paul Tillich

“Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking our words more seriously and discovering their true selves. —Henri Nouwen

“Empathetic listening is an awesome medication for the hurting heart.” —Gary Chapman

“With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing.” —Catherine Doherty

For many years Sergeant Kevin Briggs had a dark, unusual, at times strangely rewarding job: He patrolled the southern end of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a popular site for suicide attempts. In a sobering, deeply personal talk Briggs shares stories from those he’s met, standing on the edge of life. He relates how the encounters helped him learn the therapeutic value of listening.

Homeward bound

“There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. I’m on my way to get your room ready.” (John 14:2)


C. S. Lewis made this observation about human desire: “The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.’Paul agreed: “The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better.” 

In brokenness the human heart longs for wholeness in FATHER’S HOME! For the suicidal the voltage of “going home” is greater than the power to remain on earth. I would not presume to supply a rational explanation for such reasoning! My only proof is this: Jesus arose to prepare a home for the broken! Beyond and outside of that Gospel fact I have nothing to offer!

Jesus’ program remains firm. He saves losers and only losers. He raises the dead and only the dead. And He rejoices more over the last, and the least, and the little than over all the winners in the world. The Gospel is the announcement that God finds us not in the garden of improvement but in the desert of death. It’s precisely from death that we are brought home.” —Jason Goroncy, in Hope And Homecoming

This parable (Luke 15) is about coming home. It speaks to us about the nature of lost-ness, and about the necessity of experiencing lost-ness if we are to experience homecoming. As one writer put it, ‘Weary or bitter or bewildered as we may be, God is faithful, He lets us wander so we will know what it means to come home.’” (Goroncy)

In Luke 15 we are given a picture of the nature of such a God, an insight into the purpose of history, and a glimpse of how history ends—of how your life ends and of how my life ends, and how the lives of those we love and of those who have made life hell for us, will end—with celebration, with a banquet, with the extravagant joy with which God welcomes the found and eats with the, … with homecoming.” (Goroncy)

Here’s a song that expresses what I’ve attempted to communicate—

In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing and the sky is clear and red,
If you find it’s me you’re missing if you’re hoping I’ll return,
To your thoughts I’ll soon be listening and in the road I’ll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing as my journey nears its end
And the path I’ll be retracing when I’m homeward bound again.
Bind me not to the pasture; chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I’ll return to you somehow.
In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing I’ll be homeward bound again!