Too much.

Two highly visible suicides this week bring that subject into the forefront for the time being. For survivors (family and friends left behind), suicide will always be with them. For those who live with depression, thoughts of suicide are often there.

For the rest of the world, well, we’d just rather not think about it, right?

I’m not practicing professionally right now (I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker), but keep my license current and never stop learning. Suicide prevention is a subject that people will ask me about, and I know in at least some instances they ask me because I’m NOT currently “working in the system.” So I urge them: If someone has verbalized thoughts of suicide, take it seriously.

How often have you heard “I just can’t see how someone can do that?” When someone takes their own life, they’re not thinking right. It’s not a rational act, no matter how much the Suicide may rationalize it. “I have no way out.” There is always a way out, a way through that doesn’t entail leaving this world.

Remember, that person is in a dark, dark place. If you can’t see how someone can do that, you don’t understand the darkness. Be glad you’ve never been there. And if you ever find yourself there, I pray you’ll hang on to a glimmer of hope that things can get better, and seek help.

Hope – and help – is always on the horizon.

If you’re one who believes that suicides are eternally damned, I ask you to reconsider your view of (and relationship with) the Divine. I recognize that this is a long held belief in many branches of Christianity, that suicide is “the unforgivable sin.”

That’s just bull. The God I know isn’t like that. The God I know can – and will – forgive anyone! Is the soul’s journey over at the end of human life? Of course it isn’t. The body’s life is done, and so are the physical limitations of the body. I believe one can ask forgiveness even free from the earthly body. I don’t believe that God says “too late, had your chance, muffed it” and zaps the soul into eternal hellfire.

Besides, deep depression has a physiological component. I’ve heard news-chatter over the past few days that “more people are taking antidepressants than ever, but we have more suicides than ever, so…they’re not working?” That’s a pretty simplistic way of looking at things. There is a great sense of despair, confusion, and uncertainty in the world – and we’ve become a more secular society (to the point of forcing God out of everything as much as possible).  Hmmm, could the two be connected? The almost total elimination of the Divine from our public life is a far cry from “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.…” We don’t have a state religion, but God has been shoved aside in public life because heaven forbid we should bring, um, heaven into the discussion!!

beauty 2

Take time.

The explosion of antidepressant use has many reasons, and I think that one reason is that it’s no longer as much of a stigma to seek help for depression. Another is that we live in a sea of stress. Fr. Matt recently gave a sermon on keeping the Sabbath. We don’t really do that anymore. Even for families who attend church on Sunday (or possibly on Saturday afternoon for my Roman friends and family), the rest of the day is often taken up with work. And if you enjoy Sunday dinner, someone had to cook it.

The point here isn’t that taking a day off will prevent suicides. But perhaps reshaping our societal values so that we value down time and use some of that down time to reconnect with the Divine would help to ease the stress.

beauty 1

When was the last time you noticed the little things?

Take time to relax. Get outside or dive into an art museum. Read a book. Go for a walk. Go fishing and enjoy the world God made for you. Do something nice for someone else. Tell someone you love them. Listen for the still, small voice inside of you. That still, small voice may guide you to be an angel to someone else who really, really needs an angel. God can, and will, use us if we allow it, and if we listen.

Be kind. Smile at friends and strangers alike. Sure, we can show the love of God in big ways, but it’s the little opportunities that come up a lot more often, so smile because you’re a beloved child of God. Smile because we’re all in this together. You never know the inner battle someone else is fighting, and a simple smile just might make all the difference.

 

It’s National Bubba Day!!

I just learned that today, June 2, is… (drum roll)….

NATIONAL BUBBA DAY!

Seriously. I don’t know who comes up with these things, but on the National Day Calendar website, June 2 is listed as National Bubba Day.

Now, this is cause for celebration of All Things Bubba. You see, Bubba is the other “B” in B & B on the Rock, my Gospel duo that performs the Women at the Well program and other spiritual music. You may have encountered this particular Bubba in this blog in the past in this post and this post. However, since it’s #NationalBubbaDay, this post will celebrate Bubba-ness.

its a southern thing

First, a bit about Bubba-ness in general. Bubba is usually a Southern Thing (sort of like the word y’all), and is sometimes looked down upon by folks in other parts of the country who don’t understand. (Bless their hearts.) “Bubba” usually came about as baby-talk from a sibling who couldn’t quite say “brother.” Everyone usually has a few Bubbas in their life, and they are almost always the nicest guys you know. Sometimes the quirkiest, too, which is a good thing. In Louisiana, Bubbas make you think they’re just a good ol’ boy, and then Cajun-engineer a solution to a problem that you didn’t know you had…and you’ll thank them. Or laugh your head off. Or both. Seriously, Bubbas are usually very, very smart – and hide it from you. Never underestimate Bubba.

The particular Bubba in my life, my brother-from-another-mother, Joshua “Bubba” Murrell, is extremely intelligent and creative. He’s a loyal friend, great music partner, and certainly is…entertaining. He’s also a Grammy winner.

Bubs grammy

This guy can make music with just about anything (even a straw) but builds guitars.

Bubba carbon fiber guitar

He also builds virtual rollercoasters and theme parks for fun, but watch out if he gets around a go-cart or other fun, driveable thing.

bub polaris

What, you can rent one of these? ALL IN!!

He’s a computer geek and enjoys a good conspiracy theory. Be careful when you ask him a question, or you may get an answer that leaves your head spinning and you wind up in the “BubbaZone.”

I’ve known Bubba for a long time, and we’ve embarked on many a creative venture.

Bub Cedartown

At a Women at the Well concert at St. James Episcopal Church, Cedartown, Ga. (Photo by Fr. Kemper Anderson)

He’ll take inspiration and run with it. My husband once built a potato gun – one of those lovely PVC pipe creations that shoots potatoes. Bubba got inspired and built one as well, and painted (camo) and added a laser scope. Ah, the Bubba-ness!

tater gun

David (hubby), Bubba (with potato gun) and Greg (brother)

Then, there are the bonfires. Every few years, when the weather cooperates and we can acquire the wood, we have a family bonfire that seems to have grown bigger and bigger.

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Building a bonfire. I’d call it Bubba-engineering, but this is a team effort between Bubba, Greg (above) and David, so we’ll call it “Cajun Engineering.” They’re very similar, anyway.

Comedian T. Bubba Bechtol, also a highly successful public speaker, explains the essence of Bubba-ness and even has a “Bubba Code” at www.tbubba.com. He’s also (like the Bubba I know) a wholesome guy, not given to shock comedy or the like; it’s clean and funny.. He points out that “T. Bubba’s Church preference is “Brick”. Which pretty much sums up the essence of Bubba-ness: Live and let live, it’s all God, don’t be afraid to explore, and don’t be afraid to be crazily creative.

Today, celebrate #NationalBubbaDay with your favorite Bubba! And if you don’t have a Bubba in your life, well, bless your heart, you poor thing; you just don’t know what you’re missing.