"To be, or not to be -- that is the question
," asked Shakespeare's Hamlet. "Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them?"
In those immortal words the character of Hamlet contemplates suicide. This speech is not very different from the internal dialogue that many of us go through when we consider our sorrowful circumstances. Many times our minds are harrowed up, tormented day and night, with thoughts of ongoing misery and how to end -- simply END -- that torment.
But it is a final step, from which no recovery is possible
. Suicide is never, ever the answer
to that great and final question, echoed by Hamlet.
"To die, to sleep -- no more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd. "
As Hamlet says, an eternal sleep could put an end to our ongoing heartache. But in trading a known today, for an unknown tomorrow, we may be prematurely cutting off the prosperous and positive future that is in store for us
"Ay, there's the rub."
Most of us who believe in God also believe that there is a better place awaiting us when we die to this Earth. No matter what your spiritual beliefs, some version of heaven or spiritual oneness with a supreme being, where we live in a state of perfection, peace and joy, is held up for us as our potential destination when our current life ends.
When you are in emotional, physical and spiritual pain, that may seem to be a very attractive option.
But I firmly believe we are on Earth for a purpose
. Our Creator placed us here for a reason
, -- not for his benefit, but for ours
. For our education, our growth, our spiritual evolution.I know how hard it is to believe that now
. In the deep pit of your despair, it is almost impossible to be able to see any light above. The pain seems never-ending. And if you have suffered tragic circumstances for years, and years, you may have decided that if God cares so little for you that he subjects you to this misery, then you don't much care what he's promising.
I believe God does love us. Just as the perfect parent would do, he lets us stumble and fall, learning how to pick ourselves up. He doesn't immediately rescue us from any difficulties because we would then not learn how to help ourselves or rely on each other
. We would not become stronger
from the challenges that were placed before us, if we were always saved from them.
We wouldn't want to imprison our children in a bubble, where they would indeed be protected but not able to experience the highs, and yes, the soul-crushing lows, of life.
As crummy as life can be, it can also be beautiful and rewarding. There are many stories of miracles, of people surmounting the most horrendous odds to succeed. If anyone else on the planet has been able to overcome what you are experiencing, YOU CAN TOO
You may not be able to do it instantly. You may not be able to do it today. But as long as you keep going, one day or even minute at a time, you will be able to get through that tunnel and see something better happening in your life.
The important thing is to decide to keep going
. Many years ago, I felt that I had absolutely no choices in life, and there was no way anything was going to get better. But deep within me I knew that I had something the world needed, even if I didn't know what that was or how to use it to benefit anyone else.
I knew that ending my life would solve nothing. Quitting has never been my style. Even though it would have been a lot less painful to just quit on life, I carried on. And I decided -- I made a conscious decision as an operating principle of my life
-- that that's
what I do -- I GO ON
Make a decision now
, that you will continue to strive. That you will never
resort to taking your own life in an attempt to stop your pain.
Once you have made that decision, if you ever are faced with the ultimate question again, you don't even have to think
about it. You don't even have to consider your response -- you already know your answer. You will go on.
I guarantee you that the rewards for continuing to exist are worthwhile, and yes, even worth any ongoing or future pain. Where there is life, there is hope.
It's an old saying, but it's true. As long as you are alive, you can muster up enough hope to keep fighting. You can hope that tomorrow will be a better day. That just around the corner there may be many wonderful blessings awaiting you. And if you personally have no hope, then lean on the hope that others have for you. Let me help you have that hope.
Sometimes just making that decision will ignite a spark of light in your darkness. You begin to know who you are. I decided long ago that for me, suicide is not an option. EVER. It is not who I am. It is not what I do. That is not the kind of person I am or want to be.
Therefore I rather "bear the ills I have, the whips and scorns of time, the weary life", in the faint hope that indeed, a better day will come. And in the meantime I will grow stronger with the trying, and be valiant in the attempt.
I'd love to be able to tell you that from the moment I made that positive no-going-back decision, everything got better. It didn't. In fact, since that time, I have experienced even worse circumstances, and for longer duration. Sometimes life just goes like that. If nothing else, it has given me the wisdom and experience to be able to share these thoughts with you today. If just one person is positively affected by what I write, then it's all been worth it
Answer the final question for yourself today. Make it a life-affirming answer
. And I promise you that there will
be a better day, if you just go on