A conversation the other day got me thinking about some of my classmates from High School. Now to be blunt I was not Big Man on Campus or anything remotely approaching such a description (Big surprise there right?). I was far from the bottom of my class social pecking order but I was also a long way from the top. I got along quite well with most of my classmates with a few exceptions but only one of the three I want to discuss really bothered me at all.
That was John. He was a second tier jock with decent but not great grades and an all around jerk. He was one of those people who were up a ways in the social order but felt their position needed to be secured by belittling others. There was a student who I think was two years younger than us with a minor speech impediment which John enjoyed mimicking whenever the two were anywhere near each other. He would rub the biceps and go "Oooh" to anyone who wasn't of Jock caliber (a treatment I got a couple of times from him, but others got it far worse.) Yet in spite of his cruelty to those he considered, or needed to consider, inferior to him he was fairly popular, but not as popular as he thought he should be. When our homecoming court was selected my senior year he was stunned and angry because he was not selected for it and could not understand why.
Another student was Darrell. Now unlike John, I liked Darrell and got along with him quite well. In fact we were lab partners in Chemistry for a quarter. Now he too was a second tier jock with decent but mediocre grades, but unlike John he was genuinely popular. He was nice looking, athletic, and genuinely friendly and, being an only child of affluent parents, he had a lot of cool stuff. He was also our senior class president and the girls loved him.
And then there was Dave. Now Dave started out alright being a first tier jock, one of my class's best basketball players and a reasonably good Wide Receiver in football. He was also a pretty decent student and quite popular but after our freshman year he went downhill - - - badly! He discovered speed and by my senior year he was barely passing his classes, was no longer an athlete and had pretty much became a burn out. I liked him alright and we got along okay, but I was often troubled by how a student could begin their High School Career with such promise and end up a doper.
These three classmates of mine all share something.
All three of them took loaded guns, put them to their heads . . .
and pulled the trigger.
For John it was two years after we graduated. He had gotten a brand new car for graduation and a couple of years later he wrecked it. Since he still lived with his parents, he went home, took a gun, went into the basement and did it; he was found by his parents. When I was younger I intensely disliked him, for obvious reasons, but now I think about the times I heard him say to various students "I would rather be dead than you" or "If I was as ugly as you I'd kill myself." or "I wouldn't want to live if I needed religion to be happy." I realize that he had real problems and now I feel sad as I think about him.
For Darrell it was just a few years ago when we were in our late 40s. Straight out of High School he married a very pretty local girl and they were together until they reached their early to mid 30s, then he divorced her and married another pretty girl in her early 20s. That lasted until just before he did himself in when he divorced her and made a serious effort to land a girl young enough to be his daughter. When she rebuffed him he killed himself. Apparently he couldn't handle the fact that he was getting on toward middle-age and was no longer able to attract pretty real-young women.
Dave did it a few months after John did it. I am really not sure why he did it, but several of the gang he ran with tried to commit suicide and he was one of a couple that were successful. All I know is that he was higher than a kite when he did it. Maybe it just seemed like a good idea at the time. I really don't know.
Three lives wasted.
They say everyone considers suicide at least once in their life and I know I thought about it some 20 years ago. What stopped me is that I didn't want to hurt my family and I really didn't want to die. I just wanted the pain I was feeling to go away.
Oddly, I only know one of my Bible College classmates who committed suicide and that was a bizarre circumstance. After a traumatic event he was given anti-depressants which didn't work, but drove him into a deeper depression and he killed himself. I was not around at the time but all who were close to him said he should not have been put on that medication.
What troubles me is that all three of my classmates did themselves in over nothing. Wrecking a car is certainly no reason to kill yourself and getting older is also a dumb reason as it happens to everyone. Dave was just a wasted life in every sense of the word. It's also a sad reflection on what makes life worth living and what we can't live without. Yet when one begins think that, not only is there no real hope in this world, but that this world is all there is - - - thus existence is hopeless - - - well I guess it could lead to that.
I can't imagine existing without any hope. There is not a lot of hope in this world, but it is only a proving ground for the next one where hope is real and eternal. That gives me light in deepest darkness, stability in chaos, and a measure of contentment even in the most depressing of circumstances. Life in this world is not endless joy yet I have the promise and I know He will keep it.I don't know why I wrote this posting, but felt a compulsion to do so.