He handed me his gun and said thank you. I’d yet to know this pastoral moment, the one where one of your people shares his struggle of depression and his thoughts of suicide. We were talking over a pair of sub sandwiches and some chips at a local deli. I asked questions about his doctors and meds and progress.
Just a few months earlier I met with another guy, an independently wealthy single thirty-something. He hadn’t worked in several years and had no plan to work in the future. He was about 5’10’, balding, forgettable in many ways, but polite and sincere. We sat at the table at a dimly lit upscale restaurant (he was paying) where he knew all the waitresses names. He began to talk about the issues he battled. Frustration over his life and the way it has worked out flowed through his words and tears. I listened and felt for the guy. I wanted to hand him a lovely wrapped 3-ring binder, which he could unwrap to discover a list of steps for getting one’s life together. I actually tried to give him this gift. It didn’t work. He’s still struggling. And my other friend is still depressed, and his .45 is still in my basement next to our Christmas decorations.
I leave these people frustrated. I want to fix these people like I do a run-on sentence or leaky faucet. But I’m learning no matter how hard you try, or even pray, you can’t fix people. But you can love them.