[1]
supporting beef industry friends

Opinion: A Friend Contemplates Suicide

I had a disturbing call this week from someone I know, but didn’t really know. After looking at this article, he gave me permission to talk about this, because it made me realize just how important it is to connect with others.

This individual is a friend, but I don’t know how to explain our relationship. We’ve shared a few dinners, had some good discussions about genetics and cows, and we have a shared love of our kids, etc. While we might talk once a month, it never was anything too personal.

So, I was surprised to get a call from him saying he was at the end of his rope, sitting in a motel room, and contemplating the inexplicable. Before I go further, let me report that he didn’t pull the trigger, and I pray he finds the strength to see the light. Still, it hit me hard, and I still don’t really know all the details.

Like in many cases where people just get overwhelmed, it was a combination of bad decisions by my friend, and mistakes that compounded to the point it seemed there was no hope. He was looking at losing the people he loved and his identity, and he was desperate to make things right. Not able to do so, he was at the end of his rope.

The experience and situation underscored for me the beauty of the Christian faith, [3] a place where one can find not only unconditional love, but forgiveness and hope. There is the promise of a new beginning and, more importantly, the strength to overcome.

In my weekly writings, I often address the thrill and beauty of ranching [4], but it can be a high-stress [5] life as well. We all have a lot of responsibility – for ourselves, those we love, our animals and resources, our family legacy, etc.

I have no training in counseling and I didn’t say anything profound to my friend during that tense call; I just listened. Thankfully, that was all that was required. I just want to say that, as bleak as things might look, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. That isn’t original, of course, but the point is that no matter how hopeless the situation may seem, there is always a way out and a way forward.

Anyone struggling to find such light needs to find someone who can help them get there. Like a drought [6], the rain may be too little too late, but eventually it will come. The key is finding a way to get to the next rain or shower. Recovery can be slow but it will come with work, patience and love. 

I, for one, will be striving more to not only look for the light in my own life, but for those who are having trouble finding it in theirs and feel swallowed up by the darkness. Let’s look out for one another.