We may present our worldview to others in abstract and rational terms, but our views on religion, politics, sexuality, suicide and much more are mostly informed by our experiences. Sharing our stories will help us understand each other far more than the sterile philosophies we spout. Our beliefs are not usually the rational, calm, self-willed creations we’d like to think they are — they are pregnant, stretching and changing with our unspoken experiences.
Below is a set of experiences in my life that have formed some of my opinions on religion and suicide. David Hayward’s cartoon to the right triggered my memories this morning.
When I was around 20 years-old, I had a good female high school friend who introduced me to her charismatic house church. Her father (a physician) was the pastor/shepherd of the group. At that time, I had just dropped out of my university (unsure of what to do in life), my mother was in-and-out of hospitals with severe depression and my parents were breaking up. I had embraced Christianity three years earlier after finding my best friend dead.
My woman friend’s family was so cool, so loving, so strong in their faith and certainty. The house church worship meeting was wonderfully alive, powerful, emotional and yet still intellectually solid. So I added them to my growing Christian circles that were supporting my life at that time. My friend, was a bubbly, beautiful soul who quickly introduced me to others and I was welcomed with open arms.
Five years later, my friend had married a preacher and one day when her husband was away, her home was broken into and she was raped and became pregnant. I heard hurtful speculation said about her in the few months afterward by this Christian community. But she stopped the stories as her guilt and sadness made her take her own life (and the baby’s).
Heidi, I miss you.