Karl A. Menninger


As the world gets crazier and crazier there is a depressing trend that has its roots in the lack of faith or the ability to access faith to work through terrible problems. It is very distressing and yet understandable as more and more God and Faith are pushed out of the everyday conversation. The vacuum that this leaves is for evil and depression to fill the void. Without the spirit being tended to in ones life the opposite has the tendency to introduce helplessness into a life.

Everyday the number of our veterans that take their own lives grows. It is a national tragedy. And at the same time the number of farmers and ranchers who take their own lives is about five times the national average.

It is so easy to use euphemisms like “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” but all the sayings in the world cannot persuade someone who is profoundly depressed to seek help or change the direction that they are falling.

Does it do any good to say that the hurt that is left behind surpasses any that was felt by the one who took their own life. I can say yes because a major factor in my whole life was a suicide from someone very close. The long term as well as short term devastation is a life changing event. Maybe this also has something to do with the profound sorrow that I feel when I lose a close friend.

The things that our fighting troops see and deal with are things that no human was ever intended to see. The firefighter and law enforcement officers deal with things that cannot be erased from the mind. Even when there are ways to deal with it.

Our society has become so far removed from the farm that it is difficult for someone to see, even in the family, why a farmer or rancher should take their own lives. Many times the act comes with no warning and yet the warning signs are there.

Farmers and Ranchers live a life that is independent but there is no control over the forces that determine if they stay on the land. Imagine the pressure of being the fifth generation on a place and you are the generation that loses it all. The pressure that the option for your sons and daughters to choose to stay on the land is not there. The feelings of guilt even when you have been the best manager possible and yet it is all gone or soon leaving. Even with faith it is very hard to put trust in the future and follow the path not chosen.

A noted psychologist has said that only 2% of his patients come from denominations that have strong confessional sacrament’s. What he is saying that a lot of pressure is taken off when faith is put in the hands of God.

My good friend Barry Ward has a ministry where he is traveling all the time with his gospel, praise, and western songs. He does a lot of Cowboy churches and other Christian gatherings. I never fail to see one where his message has not done a world of good for several people. I have many times seen someone that comes up to him after a performance and unloads their burdens on him and he always has a good word and advice for them.

The most heart wrenching suicides is the young people who have been bombarded with bullying, and hateful treatment. The belittling of someone who has a problem or even has faith makes today’s youth especially vulnerable. The evil of the electronic world has invaded the home and their world. The best thing that a parent can do is take away the phone and devices and only allow what they know is going on on them.

Are you available to anyone that needs that little support? Do you know the words to say to bring some goodness back into their life? Are you there to really be a friend?

The greatest loss in this world is a life that has not fulfilled it’s mission. The loss of one is a loss to us all.

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