Tonight the movie To Save a Life was shown at our church by our somewhat local radio station.
I knew prior to attending the movie it would have a huge impact on me. The previews alone left me weeping every time I heard them. The main premise to the movie itself was one that wrenched my heart. It was something I could relate to in my own life.
This movie took my heart and squeezed it hard, rendering me into a semi-permanent state of crying throughout the movie.
That kid could have been me.
Not Jake Taylor, the hero of the movie. It was his old friend Roger, the one who pulled the trigger that could have easily been me.
While I doubt I would have ever been able to get a hold of a gun, I did attempt suicide my freshmen year of high school.
In the movie, Jake finds a final blog from Roger, in which he expresses his feelings of loneliness and worthlessness. The feeling of being invisible to all, of knowing anything you do or say will continue to go un-noticed.
Hearing it was like hearing someone read an entry out of the journal I kept that year.
I was, in a way, Roger. Only my life was saved.
It only takes one, but over the years, I have had many.
Following my first suicide attempt, I started planning to try it again. Fortunately, there were people who took the chance and stepped out, not knowing anything other than that they felt they needed to.
The first was a boy. I had met him at a youth group, and fell into crush mode immediately. He was wacky and strange and seemed to go out of his way to make all feel welcome. I was pretty sure he had no idea I existed, even though we had exchanged a few emails prior.
The night I was planning my second attempt at suicide, for whatever reason, I decided to check my email before doing anything.
Waiting in my inbox was an email from that boy.
Though I do not recall the exact wording, the e-mail was short. He said that he was not entirely sure why he was writing this, except that he felt I needed it.
He wanted me to know he thought I was awesome, and to remind me I was loved.
I didn’t attempt suicide that night. Those words touched my soul, because it meant that someone had noticed me. That somehow, despite being camouflouged into the furniture, someone had not only noticed me, but cared enough to send me a message of love for no real reason at all.
Another day, I had a friend call shortly after I got home from school. She was worried because I had been acting off and wanted to make sure I was okay. That I knew my friends were there, and that they loved me.
That year, for my birthday she gave me a large teddy bear, and told me whenever I was feeling hopeless, sad, or unloved, to hug him tight. To let those hugs remind me I’m loved. I still have that bear.
I can’t even begin to express the gratitude I have for those two people for trusting their instincts.
They were the difference between my being here today and the chance for me to be nothing more than a statistic.
The moral of the story? Never-underestimate the power of a few kind words to someone, whether it’s something you’d do normally or not. Those words might just save a life.