“I would have been the first one to run into that barbwire fence and just end it.” she said to me.
I listened silently to the lady we had met on our Auschwitz tour.
“It would be pointless to let myself suffer when I could just kill myself,” she continued to say.
I was at a loss for words. How do you kindly disagree with someone you don’t know at all? Where do you even begin?
It brought me back to a vivid moment from high school. It was 11 pm on a Wednesday night (my curfew on school nights was 10 pm). I picked up the phone to my friend sobbing uncontrollably. I knew something was seriously wrong.
“I need you to come get me,” she said through tears.
“Of course. Where are you?” I replied in a concerned voice.
“I’m on the side of the road.”
“Okay I’m on my way.”
I clicked the phone off panicked. What the hell was she doing on the side of the road at 11 pm? Is she out of her mind? I snuck out and drove to pick her up. I found her, got her in my car and just let the silence fall between us.
Finally she squeaked out through the tears, “I just couldn’t take it anymore. All the suffering, all the stuff my family is going through, all the stuff and school, it all became too much. I figured why should I suffer when walking out in front of a car and ending it all would be so simple?”
What do you reply to that? In moments like these, the truth of life being sacred and things getting better leaves your thoughts, and you freeze in a panic.
Fast forward to the lady on the tour and that same feeling of panic. I stood there frozen. What do I tell this lady? That she is wrong? That her outlook on life is wrong? That there is always hope? That life is full of hardships but they can be overcome?
I chickened out on saying anything and just continued on quietly with the tour. We got back on the bus, and I couldn’t shake what she said. Her words kept spinning through my head.
‘Shut up mind‘, I kept telling myself, but there was no silencing my thoughts. I turned to my friend and asked if she heard the same thing. She immediately replied with the exact moment I was thinking of.
“You mean when she talked about running into the barbwire fence and just ending it all?” I shook my head yes, and this spiraled into a lengthy conversation on hope.
The lady on the tour had completely lost sight of hope. She couldn’t see past the present moment. Which really got me to thinking, how often do I not see past the present moment? How often do I act like the end of the world is coming because I didn’t get the grades I wanted or didn’t get the job I wanted so I throw the towel in? I completely give up. I refuse to move past this moment, and I lose all hope completely.
It just made my heart saddened that it took this lady’s sarcastic comment about ending her life for me to realize how often I too lose hope.
Friends, I just want to encourage you. Do not EVER lose hope. Hope is what carries us through the hardest of times. It carries us to the place where things are better. Put your hope in Christ, because hope does not disappoint.