Rick Warren on his late son: “Matthew was not afraid to die…he was afraid of pain”

Rick Warren’s response to his son’s question, why can’t I just die is painful. We lose too many people to suicide every year. Some call it selfish. Some see it as escape from pain. It makes me hurt deep within. I weep for the parents that bury their children. Having spent time as a Chaplain Intern, I saw the effect first hand. It might provide a way out for the victim of suicide, but it destroys those left behind. There are more questions than answers, and I don’t pretend to have any of them. But if this describes you or someone you love, please get help. It is never too late to ask for help. It’s not about judging someone or trying to “fix” someone, it’s about meeting them where they are, and loving them, no matter what.

Piers Morgan

Less than six months ago, well-known American evangelical Christian pastor Rick Warren lost his son to a self-inflicted gunshot wound, an emotional and heartbreaking end to a life defined by battles with mental health.

Joined by his wife Kay, this evening Warren joins “Piers Morgan Live” for the couple’s first media appearance since Matthew’s passing, describing in great detail the demons their son battled:

“Matthew was not afraid to die. He was afraid of pain. I remember 10 years ago, when he was 17, he came to me sobbing,” reveals Warren, offering an absolutely heart-wrenching story about his late son. “He said, ‘daddy,’ he said, ‘it’s really clear, I’m not going to get any better. You know, we’ve gone to the best doctors, the best hospitals, the best treatment therapists. Everything … prayer, everything you could imagine … good support.’ And he says, ‘it’s real clear I’m not going…

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A Crazy Little Thing Called CPE…

“Only Christ could have brought us all together, in this place, doing such absurd but necessary things.”–Kathleen Norris

If one were to write an essay about what one did over their summer vacation, anyone who read mine would ask for a do-over.  For eleven weeks I wondered semi-purposefully around St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, as a Chaplain Intern.  This was the last requirement for my master’s degree.  That’s right, me, a master’s degree.  The term “Intern” is used to mean unpaid, as well as clueless.  So six strangers set out on an adventure to discover who we really are, who God wants us to be, and how we respond to tragedy and help others deal with it.

 CPE, Clinical Pastoral Education, might be genius, but if you tell my supervisor, Sister Barbara, I said that I will deny, deny, deny.  First of all, Chaplains don’t go around trying to save people’s souls or waving Bibles at people.  I saw Bibles in the hospital while I was there, but they were not carried by Chaplains.  Chaplains have very difficult jobs, and are some of the strongest people I have ever met in my life.  Consider that they are meeting people at some of the most difficult moments of their lives.  We (they) are not there to take the place of your pastor or shove Jesus down your throat.  We are there to meet you where you are, not to judge.  I found that to be the most beneficial thing I could ever do.  Somewhere during the process of 400 hours in the hospital, you find yourself changing.  I had stood at the side of the bed with enough people as they had taken their last breath, watched family members agonize over what course of treatment to take with their loved one, that I figured out what was important.  For me; 

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind

2. Live until you die

Indeed, it is absurd that one should ever hear the following statement from a child, “I don’t want to die.”  What is more absurd, is that the statement requires a response, not because it is a fear, but because it is reality.  It is absurd that parents should have to bury their children, because that is not the natural order of life, now is it?  So often I heard “It just happened so fast.” or “If we just would have had more time.”  No one ever say, they should have worked more hours at the office.  I heard their regrets.

Do you have regrets?  Well, you aren’t dead yet; so, live.  Live until you die.  Come together with fantastic people like I did and do absurd things.  Grow.  Learn.  Challenge yourself.  Do those things that are hard, and sometimes hurt like hell.   Live until you die and hopefully you won’t be disappointed at the end, I know I won’t be. 

People Change

Sunrise At Galilee

People do change; not very frequently, but every now and again something so profound touches a person’s life that they can no longer remain who they were. I am one of those people. The person who I previously thought that I was, no longer applies. On December 28, 2012 she boarded a plane for Israel, and she allowed herself to be immersed in a country. She forgot to be afraid of everything, and so she hiked the Wadis and the Tels, swam in the Dead Sea, and went exploring in the torrential rain. She made new friends. She let someone in her life; when he asked her what was wrong and actually wanted an answer, she gave him one.

What comes next? I haven’t a clue. I keep moving forward, but I am forever unpacking my journey to the Land we call “Holy.”

Me and Mellencamp

Well I was born in a small town………not by choice
And I live in a small town……and I am ready to leave
Prob’ly die in a small town…..not if I can help it
Oh, those small – communities……are killing me!!!!

All my friends are so small town……no offense to you if you love living in small town USA
My parents live in a same small town……Rugby makes them happy, and that is fine, for them.
My job is so small town……well, it’s Indianapolis but you get the point!
Provides little opportunity, hey!……Mellencamp left and now he’s dating Meg Ryan! Can’t I go too?

Educated in a small town…..Thank you Hauser High School.
Taught to fear Jesus in a small town…..Not a bad thing at all!
Used to daydream in that small town….I used to dream about leaving!
Another born romantic that’s me…oh, aren’t we all?

This is where Johnny and I differ….
I know where I come from, and I love where I came from and the people that made me who I am today, but I never felt like I fit in when I was here. To be quite honest, I think that is my problem. I have been looking for a place all my life that felt like home, and for me, there isn’t one.

The thing is, I want something different for my kids. I want them to feel connected. I want to feel like they belong somewhere. So, I may just have to suck it up and live the small town, fish bowl life style for them.

Everyone has a story

I went to pay for my daughter’s violin today. No big deal, like every month, I walk in to see Mr. Pickett. He doesn’t call you if you are a few days late, because he is far too busy to do that. No, he counts on you to be a responsible person. I was the only one in the music store today, and he and I were chatting and he was telling me about a mission trip this man went on.

It seems he had met a gentleman who was going on a mission trip several years ago when he came into the store to buy a trumpet. The man knew nothing about trumpets. He didn’t play the trumpet, nor did he know anyone who did, but when he was packing for this mission trip he couldn’t shake the need to he had to purchase one. So he did. The man went off on his trip and went to several churches in South America taking the trumpet with him. No one in any of the churches had any need for a trumpet until the final church he visited on his final night there. After the service, the man noticed a boy speaking to one of the interpreters and the man walked over to the interpreter and asked him what he was saying. The interpreter told the man who the young boy seemed to think the man had something for him. The man walked back to where is guitar case was sitting and picked up the trumpet case sitting next to it. With tears streaming down his cheeks, he handed the trumpet to the boy who was also sobbing. He said through the interpreter, “I’ve been waiting. God told me you were coming.”

See, everyone has a story!

More than a handshake

A handshake may seem simple to you, but for a mom of a child with Autism it is huge. We were leaving church today, and I was in line to shake our pastor’s hand. Jacob doesn’t stand in line, because lines bother him. He always slides out the side door. Today, Pastor Dave called, “Hello, Jacob.” Jacob turned around and said, “Hi!” What he did next, nearly knocked me off my broken foot! Jacob walked over to Dave, and shook his hand.

I am sure there are people who are asking why it is such a big deal that my kid shook someone’s hand? The reason is, my son is Autistic. He doesn’t do things like that. I am a proud momma! I made sure I told him how proud I am of him too. I don’t take moments like that for granted. He is doing so well. We have found a church that loves him for who he is. For the first time in his life, he is participating in Sunday School and Youth Group. I am just so thankful.

We went to see an Endocrinologist this week about his pituitary issue. He has was is called Partial Sella Syndrome. We are waiting on lab results. What happened at the appointment was amazing. Dr. Sanchez looked at Jacob and told him that he could be anything he wanted to be. He could be a doctor or a scientist, and his Autism is not an excuse. He told him to help his mother and treat his sisters politely. In his old age he will need them. They will be the ones who always remember his birthday, and who are always there when he needs them. How I wish I could keep Dr. Sanchez forever!

Hitting the Wall

Most days I am asked how I manage to do all the things I do.  Usually my answer is something along the lines of, “It is what it is.”  You may quote me on that.  Everything that I have in life is mine to deal with, and there is fat lot I can do about it.  I can ignore it, but it isn’t going to go away.  So how do I deal with life as I know it?  One step at a time.  One moment at a time.  One breath at a time.  Some days, I roll over and put one foot on the floor at a time, and the only thing I can find to be thankful for, is another day vertical.  For me, that is enough.   It is okay.  I don’t want everyone to feel sorry for me.  I can do this.  I have been doing this for a long time now.  I like to stay busy, over-thinkers need to stay busy.  Otherwise, they end to find themselves thinking too much, which leads to trouble (not that I would know).

 The truth is that I go and go until I hit the wall, and then I stop. Then I rest, but that is because I am forced to do so. Sometimes friends invite me out to have fun, and when they do, I go.  I know it is good to have time away, so I do.  That is why I have been exercising so much in the last three months; it serves as a good stress reliever.  That, and I insist it is time to lose some weight for good (down 29 pounds).

Here is the thing.  I can be angry about things and situations when I need to be, because I know that with everything that happens, God is in control.  I can yell at God. God can take it; really big shoulders you know.  When things don’t make sense, it is really okay.  There isn’t anything I can do about it, except let it go.  Let God make sense out of the nonsense, and when I hit the wall, stop, pick myself up, and go again until the next time, knowing that there will always be another wall around somewhere.