This is the third in the “Let’s Eliminate Negative Thinking” series, and this is the one that I have had the hardest time motivating myself to write. Last week I scratched the surface in dealing with Negative Thoughts and how sometimes those propel us to use unwise solutions. Yet there is a need to further elaborate, which has been my hesitation…

Life sometimes presents challenges that seem greater than we can bear. The news is quick to say how bad the current situation is, truth be told, this is not new and we all go through bad times. Then life seems so unbearable, and some chose a fatal and final decision. That decision can never be undone.

The thought crossed my mind many times over the years, yet ending one life only leaves holes, and hurts, and problems for others. So at various times when I hear of a suicide I grieve for both the ones left behind, and the ones who will never know the value of that life.  In the past weeks I’ve realized how close I stood at that cliff and how important a life is.

Our lives are like spider webs, spreading wide with almost invisible threads, touching more than what we see and more than realized. A suicide is like ripping that spiderweb down, the connections ever changed. Maybe you think your life is small, insignificant. Yet, your family needs you, and is touched in both big and small ways. Your friends see reflections of themselves in your life. Your existence brings joy, comfort and happiness, even when you don’t see it. But your life hardly stops there.

The people who you call acquaintances, who see or hear from you semi-regularly, feel your presence in their routines. While seemingly minor, it isn’t. A mail clerk died last year, while I hated waiting in line, his happiness made the wait pleasant, and I enjoyed his smile and laughter. I didn’t even know his name. While that was a clerk I saw regularly; your life still continues forward, to people you don’t even know.

In 1996, while my then-husband and father in law ignored me, I walked to the fast-food bathroom in deep despair. A lady walked up to me, her eyes darted to their table, and back to me. She touched my hand, and whispered “You deserve better…” she paused until my eyes met hers and then smiled. Three words. No my life didn’t change radically because of those words, but I remembered them, and recalled them many times.

Janelle Kleppin shared a story with me. “I ran into a gal who remembered a song I wrote and sang in church 36 yrs ago; she said it touched her & she never forgot. I had no idea anybody remembered me, let alone remembering my song – she said she still sings it. Blew me away, totally.” Janelle’s life touched someone 36 years prior, and the other lady touches others because of Janelle.

Another friend, told me about former students who hug her and “was just shocked they made the move to hug me in front of the other students . . . tough kids don’t do that . . . emotion is a weakness and you risk getting made fun of if you’re caught doing something like that and risk getting into a fight to defend your rep, but they didn’t care . . . hugging me after six-years meant that much.”

Your life touches people, and those people touch others. And while you may have days where you think your life is unimportant, and that you are so very far from perfect, it’s not true. Let’s Eliminate the Negative Thoughts. Your life touches people near and far, in big and small ways. Your life experiences have created the person you are today, and while you may marvel at the ways someone is better than you… they didn’t have your life experiences in the same way you did. And that is what makes you … the perfect you.