I got an email last week indicating to me that the person was going to take their own life, then wanted me to pray them back to life. Um, no. We don't swing like that.
I reached out to this woman numerous times and tried to get her on the phone so I could talk her down. No luck. I knew she wouldn't let me talk to her on the phone because the number would indicate where she was located, which she wanted to keep secret so I couldn't get someone in her area to stop her.
Let me get this right. Now you have baited me but really don't want help? Um, no. We don't swing like that. I was both wanting to help this girl and ticked off. And you don't want me ticked because then I win.
In December I had a friend take their life. I was aware that he wasn't doing well, and while I did what I knew to do, if I could go back I would take his state of mind even more seriously. I would do more, until I was out of options and completely barred from the situation from exerting myself too much. I would have flown across the nation and tied him to a chair if I needed to. Why? Because he is gone now. His wife and two young boys miss him. Now when someone tells me they want to die, it isn't just a cry for help but a warning siren blaring in my ears until I take action.
Yesterday morning I got an email from the same woman informing me that "tonight is the night". I felt like she meant it and was not bluffing for attention. She wouldn't listen to anything including prayer, prophetic words, wisdom, practical advice, empathy, correction, or anything else. I knew what that meant. I had to kick it up a notch. I was NOT going to replay what happened in December.
I sighed, as what I was about to do was not how I wanted to spend my day. I was watching my three kids and wanted to spend time with them, but I knew I needed to contact someone in close proximity to her before the day was over. I had zero information about her aside from the name in the email, which meant that I had to get more information on her.
IT WAS TIME FOR AN EPIC ONLINE SEARCH. Mesh Where In World Is Carmen San Diego meets Online Bond, James Bond meets Bill Gates nerdery meets Mrs Doubtfire and you have ME. I had three kids crawling all over me the whole time but was determined. And I was still ticked. Love never fails, even if it is an angry love.
I looked for a few hours then I contacted friend and internet guru Jonathan Peck to help me. Using online magic skills akin to Harry Potter level wizardry, Jon quickly located who we believed the woman was. I stalked her on FB like an weirdo in the exact ways everyone is always worried about. I messaged every single person ever tagged in her numerous photos, asking for help. I kid you not, I called the places she worked in the past, her past schools, her college, etc. Nothing was panning out. I started to wonder if I would get someone to her before dusk. There was an element of racing the clock and it was both stressful and thrilling.
I went to the page of one of the friends that was tagged in her FB photos and saw that she was an intern at a church. I went to the church's directory and on a wild leap called the church office and asked if this young woman worked as an intern at the church. The secretary confirmed that she did, but that she was gone and on a mission trip. She said she would pass my info to the friend and hopefully she would call me. A few minutes later she called and I explained to this total stranger the reality of the tender situation. We quickly came up with a plan of calling everyone she knew until we got the family contact information. Soon we had the address where the woman was living and the landline of her aunt's house. At this point, another person I had messaged contacted me and I asked her to run by the house to check on the woman. She went by but there was no answer. I called the house a thousand times, but no answer. We did a welfare check with the local police, but no answer. Though she could have already taken her own life, we kept at it.
Then it happened. The woman's MOTHER called me. I had left a message at the girl's high school saying we had a time sensitive emergency and the school informed the mom. I told the mother about her daughter's plans to take her own life that night. The mother called the aunt and uncle, who her daughter was living with. They assured us that they would keep a close eye on her.
This morning I woke up and texted the mom. She told me that when the uncle wasn't looking, the woman downed a large amount of pills. He wasn't aware of this until during one of his routine checks on her. She was acting lethargic and threw up some pills so he rushed her to the hospital. She lived, is fine, and will now be in a facility for a year so that this doesn't happen again.
After hearing this it occurred to me that if I hadn't spent the whole day finding her and alerting her family, the uncle would not have been watching her closely. She would have taken the pills and died. It was an odd feeling to realize that she was alive because I took the time out of my day to be inconvenienced by her situation.
It is an odd feeling to spend your whole day on a person that you have never met, nor wants help. In the midst of the hours of searching I could have reasoned that I had already done my part or that she didn't even want help, so why try anymore? Instead, during all those calls I started to feel love for that woman, a stranger that I have never met. I don't know if I will ever get to meet her in real life, but if I do, I will hug her, look into her bright eyes, and tell her, "You are worth it."
I have a long way to looking like Jesus, but isn't that what Jesus did with us? He lived in Heaven, where bliss is the norm. He took the time and energy to come to the earth to be inconvenienced by our situation of sin. We had 100% gotten ourselves into a tight spot, but He nonetheless willingly laid down His life for us so that we could have freedom once again. He tell us, "You are worth it."