The Jumping Off Place

A woman jumped to her death from a balcony in the heart of Buckhead Wednesday, Atlanta police said… Police were on the scene at 1:11 pm. More details were not immediately available.” This was the headline for the story in the local newspaper, minutes after a woman in her 20’s presumably took her own life.

I watched them load her body into the coroner’s van. I saw the police, fire fighters, detectives and medical examiner pack up their things, shake hands and get into their cars to leave. All in a day’s work.

Just like that…a life abruptly comes to an end.

“Who was she? What was her name? What was so bad that the only option was death? Was it an accident? Does she have a family? Husband? Boyfriend? Anyone?”

I wonder what the last thing was that was said to her? What was her final thought? Was she scared? Did she immediately regret her decision?

Things seemed to move in slow motion as passersby continued to talk on their cell phone or with the person in the car with them. People were smiling and laughing, oblivious to the fact that just minutes before, out of desperation, a human being had plunged to her death.

It’s weird, right? I mean, I don’t even know what this woman looked like and yet I feel in my gut as if I just lost a friend.

I wonder if she knew that there was a church just feet away? I wonder if she knew that there would have been multiple people eager to come to her rescue?

In staff meeting today, our amazing campus pastor encouraged us to recognize that there are thousands of people, right here, who don’t know God and have not heard the name of Jesus.

“Was she one of them?”

Just minutes before this happened, several staff were in a meeting discussing reaching people and who we want to be as “the only church that some will ever see.” What does that look like? How do we turn that from just a really great idea into something tangible?

As I turned from the window and walked slowly back to my desk, one of the first things that came to mind was, “The enemy prowls like a lion, ready to devour anyone within reach.1 Peter 5:8.

Honestly, if this did not happen right in front of me, it would have been just another headline. If I had not watched the woman who witnessed the fall weep while recounting the details to authorities, I probably would not have even read the article.

This made real what Billy was saying earlier in the day. We must go out and reach the seemingly unreachable. We can’t assume that someone else will.

Just before the course of the day changed, our staff was spread throughout the auditorium praying for each other, those who have yet to be reached, those who are inside and outside our walls, the rooms in which we meet…

One could argue that this happened because we were intentionally praying for those right outside our door. A jab from the evil one? Perhaps?

Darkness is real. It is lonely. It is haunting. And it is brutal.

The only thing to combat the darkness is light.
As Mother Teresa said, We must love without getting tired. Love does not have to be extraordinary. It must be tireless. Love = Light.

Do you have a jumping off place? You know, the place where your toes (metaphorically speaking) are just beyond the edge. I was standing, looking down from that very place almost 10 years ago when I faced the option to recover or give in to my addiction and allow it to take my life.

What wants to take your life?

Please friend…I beg you…before ever succumbing to the lies of the darkness, bring whatever it is out into the light. There is nothing too awful…nothing…that the cross is not enough to cover.

Have you been effected by suicide or a sudden death? What is the one thing you would tell someone who is walking through unexplained and tragic loss? What can I pray with and for you in this moment and throughout the day?

8 thoughts on “The Jumping Off Place

  1. Pingback: Where Faith and Facts collide | Even A Girl Like Me

  2. This is a beautiful post, and I can feel your heart aching in your words. You have so much love sweet girl.
    But I have some awesome news for you – Because you care so much and because you shared in a small part of this girl’s existence, you are now able to bring more love into the world through her final moment. You are reaching out to others, your group at church is discussing this, people are reading about her sadness. All of these small moments help change this world to a better, more loving place.
    Thank you for celebrating this poor little sad girl with such compassion and caring. That is genuine honor and tribute to her memory.
    Simply and completely beautiful.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting. I thought it would get better, but as the days pass and the thoughts flood my mind, it is haunting and I find myself not wanting to go to sleep.

      Who was she? What was her story? Could we have helped her? Where is her family?

      All things that are out of my control, I know, but powerful images nonetheless. I am praying Psalm 91.

      • I really believe that you are part of her story – that this whole moment you are in is part of her story. She did not die in vain although of course you and I see through human eyes and would want more for her life than an end with a jump of desperation. I feel very strongly that she is at peace now. I believe that her final moment during the immediate decent was different than the moment she took the step leading her there. Take comfort sweet girl. She had a different path and she was lost, but she is home now. Really. You have so much love in you. Pray for her peace and pray that this will make you walk stronger in your faith. I know that it will. 🙂 Hugs to you sweet sweet girl. Jo

  3. Joy, this is a beautiful post. I am so sorry for what you experienced. I’ve been close to that jumping off place myself, more times and more recently than I’d like to admit. I know i have an enemy that only exists to rob, kill, and destroy. And I now know it’s not dreams or visions or hopes that he wants to kill, it’s me. Satan, the accuser, really does want me dead. Those of us that are a threat to his plan are more susceptible to his oppression, and if we are to defeat him, we have to recognize him and know how to do battle, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.

    • Well said, Tammy.
      Thank you for your comment.
      For me, the more I realize what I am truly up against, the better equipped I can be. I am so thankful that I know who has the final say.

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