Suicide and The Dance

by: Larry Davies | Oct 24, 2010
                 And I, I’m glad I didn’t know
                The way it all would end
                The way it all would go.
                Our lives are better left to chance
                I could have missed the pain
                But I’d have had to miss the dance.
I have always enjoyed Garth Brooks, “The Dance,” but the song has a new meaning now because it plays a small part in a special story of human tragedy and courage.
“I’m going to die!” were the first words of a young man, barely thirty who met me at the church. He had just been told by doctors about a rare form of cancer along with other medical complications that would make it impossible for him to survive more than a year.
I didn’t know what to say? What could I say? What mere words could possibly ease the pain and suffering this young man faced? For a while there was only silence and soft weeping.
But, what he said next sent a cold chill down my spine. “I don’t know if I can face what is going to happen over the next few months. Maybe I should just end it all now!”
What would you say to this young man? What advice would you give?
Would it be so bad to allow him and others to prematurely end their life of suffering? Is suicide such a bad option? Emotionally you would be tempted to say, “Yes, suicide may be okay, but read on.”
The debate on suicide, “mercy-killing” and euthanasia is an intense one and should be continued but a certain young man crying in a small church did not want to hear a theological discussion. He wanted honest answers on how to face an extraordinary tragedy.
A verse in the Old Testament written by the prophet Isaiah says, “If I walk in darkness without one ray of light–” Is that what this young man felt: Darkness without a single ray of light anywhere?
Some would see this as a Biblical signal to end it all, but read the rest of the verse: “If I walk in darkness without one ray of light, let me trust the Lord, let me rely upon God.” (Isaiah 50:10) Far from giving up, Isaiah is implying this is the very time to place our lives totally in the omnipotent hands of God.
Suicide is never the right choice because it is the ultimate denial of our trust in God. I believe God can forgive anything, even suicide but there is another way to face tragedy. What happened next demonstrates how God can work miracles in the midst of misfortune as this young man found his courage and learned to fully trust and rely upon God.
·         He put his affairs in order, took a vacation and spent time with his family.
·         The rest of the family pulled together to help him deal with the crisis.
·         The church and the community began offering help of every kind.
·         He came to know God, to really know God as few of us do.
A dying man changed and as he changed, his courage became a witness for the family and for all of us. Everyone in our church had a chance to celebrate and cry one Sunday morning when he and seven other members of his family came forward to be baptized. His life became a testimony of courage and faith.
And I, I’m glad I didn’t know
                The way it all would end
                The way it all would go.
                Our lives are better left to chance
                I could have missed the pain
                But I’d have had to miss the dance.
It was a difficult year, but the medical profession controlled his pain and a hospice program prepared him and his family. His final months of life illustrated occasional fear followed by a quiet acceptance and trust.
The funeral service following his death, ended with us bowing our heads and listening to Garth Brooks. The words still burn in my heart. “I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”
God’s answer and comfort in the midst of catastrophe. Trust in the Lord: Rely upon God!

2 Responses to “Suicide and The Dance”

  1. Nate says:

    I cannot listen to that song anymore. When I was a police officer in the 90s, I went to the suicide of a young man, a college senior, president of his fraternity. He had killed himself and left a note about the breakup with his girlfriend. He had left eh song “The Dance” playing on auto in his room. So for the next few hours as we worked the scene, the song played on around him. I had to notify his sister of his suicide. To this day, that is all the song now reminds me of.

    • larrydavies says:

      I am so sorry. I have been involved in several local suicide scene in this area and all of them were horrific. I admire your work and your dedication. What you do makes a difference. Please know that I am praying for you today.

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