Blessed are those who mourn

“So I have some good news. I don’t feel like killing myself anymore, but…”

I don’t think I wanted the but to slip out. I felt and believed it, but I don’t think I wanted to vocalize it. After all, I was telling friends that I no longer feel suicidal. Who would possibly include a “but”?

For I’m not sure how long I felt like killing myself nearly everyday. Anytime I would cross a bridge I would want to drive my car over the side of it. Or I would think about driving into oncoming traffic. Other forms were more passive like having some disease.

It was so strange. I had depression in high school. Nothing felt worthwhile. But this wasn’t like that. There were so many things I loved. I loved reading the Bible. I loved working with kids. I loved interpersonal relationships. But I wanted to kill myself. I won’t dwell on the point. I’ve read a decent amount about suicidal tendencies and have not found anything that fits what I felt.

“But.” I was kind of sad to feel that way no more. To me, the idea seemed rational. There is simply so much heartache in the world. It’s just super unlikely that anything will seriously change. No one really cares anyway. And what can I do about all of that? I don’t know that there is any real flaw in the thought process. It’s not that I think my vision was distorted. I think I saw clearly.

And that’s why there was the “but.” Because I felt like I was losing something. In Lament for a Son Wolterstorff talks about seeing the world through tear-filled eyes. Maybe by looking at the world that way he is able to see things he couldn’t before. That’s what it was like. I thought I was seeing truly. Now it was gone.

In doing some random reading the other day I came across some quotes from Stanley Hauerwas. I think they were from his commentary on Matthew. In talking about the beatitudes he says that not every Christian is meant to exemplify each one. Some will be mourners, others meek, and so on. For some that might seem more obvious, for how are we supposed to somehow make ourselves into people who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake? But does Jesus really mean that some of his followers will hunger and thirst for righteousness but it’s totally cool if others don’t?

And so with mourning. It’s not something we do well. I mean, when stuff affects us, maybe. But being heartbroken over the brokenness and sinfulness of the world? Nah. Are we like the Psalmist in 119 whose eyes are filled with streams of tears because people do not obey the law? Not a chance. Not really.

But blessed are those who mourn. I thought I finally understood it. Now I think I don’t. It’s not that I miss suicidal ideation. But (there’s that word again), I do feel like something’s missing. So I kind of want to go back. To feel what I felt, even if I don’t want to have the thoughts those feelings drove me to.

Blessed are those whose hearts are ripped out of them, for they will be comforted.

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