When The Lightkeepers Get Lost In The Dark

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He was a Pastor for 25 years of one of the most well-populated churches in the town. His sermons were heard on the local FM radio stations every Sunday morning. He was like a Father or Brother to so many. I can still hear his voice encouraging me, preaching the word, saying “Well, alright, Tonia.” to me every single time after I sang a solo in church. He was a father of two, a husband of one, a good man to all. And he loved God. And he knew the bible. And he killed himself last week.
I don’t even know where to go from that point. How to write anything more after that sentence.
Pastor Ed Trull was loved by so many people, myself included. But I stop and wonder how much of that love he was possibly unaware of.
You see, there are two types of love we all require, and we al, at one point or another, will come to doubt a bit in our own lives. One is Gods love for us. The other is peoples love for us. Im not talking peoples approval or popularity or any of that. I am talking honest to goodness, someone really gives a crap about you enough to give of thier time and energy to keep you in their life. True CARING.
The first love, Gods…..well, those times when we doubt it….that’s our own issue. Because He never fails. Never has, never will. Even when we have ourselves convinced he is light years away and doesn’t care at all and maybe doesn’t even exist. Well, I’ll tell ya, God doesn’t need you to approve of His existence in order to exist. And He never stops loving us.
So, if Ed struggled at all with feeling like he had slipped out of the loving embrace of our Father, that was an unfortunate belief in a lie. Even in his darkest moment when he accepted defeat and left this earth, God was still loving Ed.
But that other love? That one about others? That’s a tough pill to swallow right now. Because it leaves me looking in a mirror wondering how I failed. I just wrote a few days ago about why I live my life to show others they are loved and that they matter. And here in front of me lies the pieces of another broken life. Suicide wrenches my heart so violently. Because my entire purpose in living, aside of my sons, is to share love, to make a difference, to make sure those around me do not feel alone and hopeless. Ken died with a belief in his heart that no one cared and no one would notice if he died. I have made it my determined mission in life that any person I come in contact with knows they are worth so much more than they may realize, that they are treasured, valued and cherished.
Did we do enough? As a family of Christians? As a community? Did we recognize the struggles in his heart? Did we take the time to ask how HE was, instead of just inundating him with OUR problems? Did we SEE him as a man, and not just as the label of preacher that he wore?
Who is there around you? Who do you come in contact with every day? Every week? Those folks who seem to have it all together. The ones who you know people (maybe even yourself) can rely on because they seem to know all of the answers. Maybe we need to start asking “How are YOU doing?” And then maybe we need to stand still, make eye contact, offer a reassuring smile and actually listen to their reply. Show them we care. Show them we see them and hear them.
Im not saying anyone failed Pastor Ed. I am sure many people, especially his family, are struggling with hurt and guilt right now. I in no way mean to exacerbate that. I only am saying how this tragedy got me thinking, how suicides make me feel.
We need to begin to wake up and realize no one is immune to hurt. No one is safe from the darkness of depression or self doubt or anxiety. We are all in this together. We need to begin to hold onto one anothers hand. To seek help when we need it and not be ashamed because no one is immune to hurting. And when we are out in the light and things seem A-Okay, we really ought to reach our hand back and fish around in the darkness til we find a hand to clasp and help pull it back out with us to the light. We are called to be brothers and sisters in humanity. To love one another.
Jesus Himself said it best, narrowed it down to two basic principles of living after knocking all the other junk to the floor.
“Love the Lord, your God with all your heart, mind and soul. And love your neighbor as yourself. ”
Go tell someone you love them. Because you never know when they might so desperately NEED to hear those words.

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