Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Elephant in the Room

There is an elephant in the room. No one wants to acknowledge it. We carefully maneuver around it. We don’t talk to or about it. Yet the most amazing thing about elephants is their memory and their emotion.

For 12 hours, two herds of wild South African elephants slowly made their way through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of late author Lawrence Anthony, the conservationist who saved their lives.

The formerly violent, rogue elephants, destined to be shot a few years ago as pests, were rescued and rehabilitated by Anthony, who had grown up in the bush and was known as the “Elephant Whisperer.”

For two days the herds loitered at Anthony’s rural compound on the vast Thula Thula game reserve in the South African KwaZulu – to say good-bye to the man they loved. But how did they know he had died March 7, 2012?

Known for his unique ability to calm traumatized elephants, Anthony had become a legend. He is the author of three books, Baghdad Ark, detailing his efforts to rescue the animals at Baghdad Zoo during the Iraqi war, the forthcoming The Last Rhinos, and his bestselling The Elephant Whisperer. You can read more here.

The elephant in the room I refer to is suicide. I’ve written a bit lately on the “dark night of the soul”. That darkness that permeates the soul where you just don’t think you will ever see light again.

I have a dear, dear friend, The Deaconess, whose twin brother took his life recently. This tore through her soul like a frail sheet gets ripped in a gale force wind.

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life recently experienced this when his own son took his life.

We had an officer take her life this week. We were personally told of this by administration and offered counseling should it be needed. P.E.R.I.O.D. No formal announcement by the agency, no notification of services or memorial services, not donations for food or flowers or…

Suicide is the elephant in the room. No one wants to speak of it. No one wants to acknowledge it. Visit this spot on FaceBook:

So, in the Jewish tradition, I find myself sitting Shiva yet again… for The Deaconess and her lost twin… for the Warren Family and their lost son… for the officer, her family and those who worked directly with her.

Suicide is not the unforgivable sin. Matthew 12:31 reads: Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.

Suicide leaves hurting souls in its wake. To not acknowledge it is like picking the scab. It may heal, but there will be a scar.

Author Mark Spragg wrote a novel entitled "An Unfinished Life". It was selected as the One-Book-Arizona one year. It is about a life cut short, too short and lives that are affected by the death.

Today, I ask that you remember the families of those who have taken their lives. Remember their pain... remember their hurt... remember their unanswered questions and lift them up in prayer.

Even so... Amen!

Simply yours,
2 Corinthians 1:3  New American Standard Bible 
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,


  1. As I have a friend whose son committed suicide, I also join you in remembering the families....

  2. This is very close to my heart. I will remember those families affected too. xo


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