A reason to live

thAt the Academy Awards last night, Graham Moore won Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Imitation Game,” about the life and achievements of the late Alan Turing, the British mathematician and cryptanalyst who helped solve the Enigma code during World War II. Turing was later prosecuted for homosexuality in Britain and died by suicide in 1954 at 41 years old.

After thanking everyone he worked with on the film, Graham Moore mentioned how unfair it was that Alan Turing never got the recognition he deserved for helping end the war, and yet here he was getting recognition for telling his story. Moore then got very personal: “When I was 16 years old I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different, like I didn’t belong — and now I’m standing here. And so I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird, she’s different, or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes you do. I promise you do. Stay weird, stay different, and then when it’s your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.”

It was a truly arresting moment. Certainly not what anyone was expecting. I can’t ever remember anyone on such a public platform admitting to trying to take his or her own life. His courage was palpable, and his comments earned him a standing ovation from the shocked and surprised audience. Marti applauded the television.

This is the kind of thing that should make us more aware of the people around us who are often invisible — people who are not included because they are weird or different. It may be that someone right next to us is feeling these things — perhaps close to suicide — but no one knows because no one cares enough to find out.

Someone gave Graham Moore a reason to live. We need to give the people around us a reason to live by noticing them, caring for them, and trying to find out their story, not by judging them or trying to get them to change who they are.

Our prayer team is praying for a teenager who is refusing to eat. Anorexia is complicated and hard to overcome. She needs a reason to live. That can’t come through a message, or through a doctor’s or parental warnings. It can only come through a live human being who cares that she lives. It has to be real and tangible.

Everybody needs a reason to live. There are certainly biblical reasons to live, but those reasons can’t be known unless we live them out for someone else. A scripture verse isn’t going to do it. Give the people around you a reason to live. Let them know how important they are to you. Make a difference in someone’s life today; you may actually be saving them.

I just went outside to get the newspaper, and the sun was barely up on a rain-washed neighborhood. Beads of water hanging from branches sparkled in the sunlight. It was one of those “Morning Has Broken” mornings that can give most of us another reason to live. But for some, a beautiful morning isn’t going to do it. It’s going to take something more. It’s going to take a person, and who is that going to be if not you and me?

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16 Responses to A reason to live

  1. Kim says:

    Good article. We all have to come out of our comfort zones and become vulnerable in order for people to see how we are suffering. I have been going to a bible study for years and never disclosed my depression and anxiety until just recently. It was hard to say, and I felt I might be judged for it, but I am glad I did. Now it is out there. Someone who looked normal all along really was suffering .. and I wonder how many people I see every day are going through a depression or terrible anxiety and don’t tell anyone. I am glad the guy who won the award was able to say that he was so vulnerable at a time in his life that he contemplated ending his own life. I just hope the people who take his advice have the support they need. It is one thing to say it now that he is doing so well … how many people don’t ever reach the heights that he has of popularity and fame and need to know that is okay. I pray that he finds God, the true answer to his problems!

    • bobenearSeattle says:

      We don’t know that Graham Moore hasn’t ‘found’ God or that God hasn’t ‘found’ him.
      It’s these sorts of little nuances or innuendos we innocently blurt out – or express in other ways – that are perceived as judgmental and rejecting when we ourselves think or believe we’re portraying the love of Jesus and/or the Gospel of Welcome to other individuals…

      • Kim says:

        I guess I wrote that wrong. I don’t like to assume that a person has not found God … but really – we all need God more than what we have – even the most faithful of us. So let’s leave it at that!

      • jwfisch says:

        Kim – I think Bob and most of us understood what you meant, but I do think his point is important. We do have to be careful how we frame things. There is a lot of “evangelical speak” that reveals incorrect assumptions, or that says things we don’t mean to say to those unfamiliar with the language. We have to be careful. Check out today’s Catch “Making room for the gospel” as a case in point. Thanks for taking part in the discussion.

  2. “It may be that someone right next to us is feeling these things — perhaps close to suicide — but no one knows because no one cares enough to find out.” I know what you’re trying to say, and yes, we all could make the world a better place if the world was more about other people today rather than being so self-focused. And I ache for every person that sees death as a better alternative but you remarked about it being because no one cares enough to find out – I’ve done to many funerals for suicide victims and they left families that did care and had no idea, I know too many loving friends that “just had no idea” – and it wasn’t because they weren’t there. As terrible as suicide is the greater victim is loving friends and families that do care and had no idea.

  3. I agree with you John and it is true that no one cares and it is common that people lean on the old conversation of Hi! How are you? And the responder answers: Fine, Good, ect. and You? If a person really honestly answered the question, who would listen? I have seen this where a person dared go there only for the “friend” look at their watch, interrupts and says: Well good seeing you, but I must be going! So yeah, not many care for others as were are directed to do. I was in this pub one time and met 3 ladies. They wanted to incorporate me into their hopping seen, where I just smiled and knew it was not a good idea, however, when 1 of the ladies departed the other 2 complained, chastised, and made fun of her. (See how I knew it wasn’t a good idea?) Anyhow I left and a few days later, showed up at this establishment after much contemplation. The place was crowded, but saw ‘that’ one lady sitting there at the bar portion of the pub, anyhow, I went up to her and spoke with her when she started crying. (This is what her friends complained about) Well, I had to have ears to hear to understand she was hurting and invited her back to my house, we talked, played music, and I talked to her about Jesus. I didn’t encounter her again until about 2 weeks later and her ‘friends’ where there now chastising me! You converted our friend! Sure enough this person walked into the establishment Praising God and Jesus. We went on the deck to smoke and talk. She grabbed my hand and called me her angel ( something I am certainly not)! However, that night that she explained to me #1 she learned who Jesus was, and #2 she had planned on going home to kill herself, so she could be with her husband who had died 6 years earlier, because she missed him terribly. Whether people agree or not where I was I believe God put me there just in time, because even though she goes through difficulties, she is still among us! Great story John! 😀

  4. I have to tell you another story which occurred when I worked in a hospital. I had to work Christmas day and I use to make gifts for the patients (I hope this story is not out of context for your story, but thought about, since we are speaking about understanding and trying to learn of others who are hurting). I always waited until the last discharge of the day and then after would personal give the gifts. The Holy Spirit showed me how during the holiday season that many forget their loved ones here, after all it is a dying hospital, sort of like where elephants go to die.(Isolated and alone). This was my third year doing this and I had to retrieve a sample from an elderly man and when I walked in the room started yelling and showing his disdain about my presence. He was so nasty that I thought to myself, “There is No Way, I am going to give this man the gift I made! (I crocheted booked markers with an abstract cross and let everyone believe what they saw. It was awesome, some saw snowflakes, however it was just for them to enjoy). Anyhow, I finished the procedure and as I bandaged up the puncture site, I heard, “Give him the gift.” I in returned said, “I am not going to give this grumpy old man a gift after he chewed me out!” I was now on the opposite of his bed leaving when again, “Give him the gift.” I am like “No way am I giving him the gift!” I get to the next bed which was empty and I could just feel it. God was not going to let me leave this room until I gave this man the gift I made! I could scream and my thoughts were like, “Why should I? He chewed me out, was not very co-operative and complained to the end!” I could sense that He was not going to let me out of this room until I obeyed, so I turned around and walked back to this older gent, pulling out the gift that I had stored in my lab coat and said, “Here, this is for you! It’s not much and it is something I made, but Merry Christmas!” This man’s whole face lit up like a child and asked, “Is this for me?!” I answered, “Yes, just don’t tell anyone!” It was then when I learned that even in our dislike of either words or actions, that one little gesture can show you a child in a grown person that is hurting and in need that we can make a difference! So the problem lies with, who wants to listen? learn? act? or see? Colleen

    • jwfisch says:

      You are nailing me with these stories, Colleen.

      • Lol John, believe me I have tons of stories. I just want God to receive the glory for the goodness He has had upon me. After all I could never have done this with out Him and all this was prior to my mistake. Yup I made a doozy and I have a hard time with it like you wrote: Drag me out! Hopefully in time He will (smiles) 😀

  5. A little while ago, I was talking with one of my friends on the Downtown East Side (Vancouver’s Skid Row) who was concerned about one of her friends. Suicide in that area is often not a conscious action, but that long, inexorable plunge, through substance abuse and self-neglect. That was the case with Denise’s friend (whom I also knew). Suddenly, the Lord put into my mouth, “tell her how much we would miss her.” It was as if the light came on for both Denise and me: as far as I know, she did tell her that. Since then, I’ve said that to others I encounter there, and it does seem to give them a hint of a reason to keep going.

  6. Drew Snider, I just love,love,love this!!!

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