The rise in the suicide rate in this country is alarming to me.
In 2010 there were over 38,000 suicides.
Way up on the national norm.
What accounts for the hike?
Are more head traumas from returning soldiers the reason? With brain injuries up from explosive devices, soldiers continue to be victims of the consequences of embattled nations.
It seems that meaning, and, one's search for it, is key to wellness.
The thirst for Meaning, for God, pervades one's life. Otherwise, others thirsts get in the way in the lust of money, power or sex.
That's why the search requires companions on the road, so to speak, and, mentors, parents, spiritual directors, significant role models.
The Trappist monk, Thomas Merton's No Man Is An Island was popular while I was in high school.
Communion intertwines each of us with one another. When classmates, among others, said they didn't need anyone, I wondered. Such statements stem from hurt or injustice and anger about relationships.
"Therefore the meaning of my life is not to be looked for merely in the sum of my own achievements. It is seen only in the complete integration of my achievements and failures wit the achievements and failures of my own generation, and society, and time. It's seen, above all in my integration in the Mystery of Christ. That was what the poet John Donne realized during a serious illness when he heard the death knell tolling for another. "The Church is Catholic, Universal," he said, "so all her actions, all that she does belongs to all...Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon occasion rings? But who can remove it from that bell which is passing of piece of himself out of this world?"
Suicide is very much like cancer's growing within someone. Often, however, few, if anyone knows of suicidal ideations in those we live or work with daily.
Helpful comments from Merton about meaningfulness, include:
"It is useless to try to make peace with ourselves by being pleased wit everything we have done. In order to settle down in the quiet of our own being we must learn to be detached from the results of our own activity. We must withdraw ourselves, to some extent, from effects that are beyond our control and be content with the good will and the work that are the quiet expression of our inner life. We must be content to live without watching ourselves live, to work without expecting an immediate reward, to love without an instantaneous satisfaction, and to exist without any special recognition."
"We have to learn to commune with ourselves before we can communicate with other men and with God. A man who is not at peace with self necessarily projects his interior fighting into the society of those he lives with, and spreads a contagion of conflict all around him."