Hamlet’s troubled pondering has been repeated endless times through the ages since Shakespeare first set it to pen. Hamlet’s conclusion was: It’s not worth the risk! It was a wise decision.
       Often times in the passage of life in materiality we find ourselves in situations that seem "unbearable" … the loss of the "love of our life" (either by rejection or by death) … severe financial loss … the loss of youth or health … etc. Such situations seem to always be something that is considered as a personal loss. As long as there is success, prosperity and fun, life is rosy and treasured. When events that are considered as "disasters" occur, we are ready to "shuffle off this mortal coil" and end it all. But, like Hamlet, the consequences need be considered!
       These words are written with the voice of experience. My first thoughts of "ending it all" came to me when I was about 16 years old and recurred at various stages of my young life … all in the name of love or the lack thereof. Plans were formulated and a couple were halfheartedly attempted. There were always reasons why I should not end my life … I could not cause others to feel blame or shame … I could not bring grief to my grandmother … my family … my friends. I survived to learn a higher Truth.
       Part of the hope that lingered in my heart was that the cause of my despair would change to provide me with the joy that would bring me eternal happiness, as I saw it. It never happened! But continued life DID bring further lessons, many with joyous and uplifting experiences. None were all "wine and roses" but results were well worth the effort.
       One advantage of living a long life is that, in retrospect, one can look back and better see the WHY that could not be answered when a tragic event occurred in the past. After a "failure" in ending life, one suddenly finds themselves thrust into a new and unexpected life that can bring peace, hope, joy and understanding.
       The Easter Season is a period in church liturgy that brings back to us the most tragic and the most glorious events of Christianity … the Passion and Death of Jesus on the Cross and the Resurrection of our Lord. It is a time of deep reflection … a time when we should remember two points:
       Jesus had a human nature and a Divine Nature.
       Jesus’ all-inclusive commandment was:
               Love God above all else.
               Love neighbor as oneself.
      Jesus, the man, prepared the way for his ministry by submitting to the laws of the One God as presented by the heritage of his earthly ancestors that he might fulfill the Old Laws before providing the New Law. As a child he was impatient: "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" (Luke 2:49) As a young adult attending a wedding feast he knew that it was not yet his time: "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." (John 2:4) To accomplish what was yet to come, his human nature required further refinement.
       I believe that Jesus, the Christ, was truly and completely true man and true God. The man, Jesus, although born from the purity of the Virgin Mary, still had a will that was "free" of the Father and, for his ministry to be complete, the man’s free will needed to be completely in tune with that of the Father so that they were One. When it was time, it was time to transform the world.
       Even though it was time, it was a very difficult time for the human, Jesus. At the last minute, he begged in the garden: "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." (Matt 26:39) Imagine the agony in those words … Jesus knew what was about to happen and his human nature did not want it to happen … but he, as human, submitted fully to the Will of the Father.
       Again, just before he expired on the Cross, his humanity once again cried out in total despair: "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matt 27:46) For a fleeting moment the reality of his Father was removed from his vision … a most terrifying experience. But the Truth was quickly restored: And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and gave up His spirit. (Matthew 27:50)
       For Christians this was the event that gave Divine and Supreme Atonement … The final blood sacrifice to be perpetuated in the bloodless sacrifice of the Eucharist for all future generations. The Old Law, containing prophesies of the New Law, had been fulfilled … the New Law was now in effect.
       Consider the consequences of any one of these events being altered by the human will of Jesus! A start of his ministry before it was time … a choice to flee the scene before the crucifixion … allowing Peter to use his sword … a call to arms for his followers to force a kingdom on earth. I believe he, as human, had those options but others may not agree. I believe that Jesus, as human, must have had those options but he demonstrated the need to place human free will in accord with God’s Divine Will.
       Jesus taught that his kingdom was not of this world. Yet we persist in speaking of God’s Kingdom as if it were of the earth … the Armageddon, the Millennium (on earth), etc. Jesus taught that we must lose all things in order to gain all things: "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:35-37)
       This does not say that one should make a decision to end their sojourn on earth … quite the contrary! God gave life (spirit) to the human body for a purpose. As Jesus had his Divine Purpose, so each of us have our "assigned tasks." For some, it may be to simply be here as a good example and a helping hand. For others, the journey may be more complex. For all of us, we have every obligation to remain here until God deems it time to come home to our reward.
       To do anything that would hasten our demise would be in violation to the command of God. God did not place us here for us to toss that gift irrevocably back into the face of God. Sure, it can get rough but it was rough for Jesus, too. (Remember, Jesus was also human.) We never know what wonders are around the corner or up the street. No individual should ever do anything that would terminate their opportunities. To do so is to indicate that they have no love, trust or faith in family, friends or God.
       As for myself, I have a "Living Will" in which I specify that I wish no extraordinary actions be taken to preserve my life in case of unquestioned impending death. This is not a matter of taking my own life … it is a matter of letting God act in my behalf without outside interference. For that same reason, I do not want others to pray for my unlikely recovery but, rather, to pray that God’s Will is manifested. If it is God’s Will that I recover, so be it. If it is God’s Will that I give up the spirit into his hands, so be it … with great joy.
       This message is written in the wake of the tragic mass suicide in Rancho Santa Fe, California. Trying not be judgmental, I do not believe that our Loving God would ever condone such teaching or such action. This is a matter of human submitting their free will to the will of another human rather than to the Will of God. Sheep stray on their own … sheep are led astray by influential (charismatic) others. But sheep need to be protected from the wolves, placed in pastures of nourishing grasses and lifted from the holes in the earth that have swallowed them. Most of all, they need to be loved for being sheep … not for how much money they will bring on the market. Could this be part of your mission in your earthly life? If so, what are you going to do about it?
TO BE OR .... NOT
by Richard [April 1997]