Saturday, October 17, 2009

For Mark

The Step
(by R.P.Edwards)

The Step
Unthinkable before
Seemed somehow sane…a welcome door
A Step from constant, pressing dread
A Step to hopeful peace, instead
A promise hiding wreckage come
To all who love this tortured son
To all who’ve tried in vain to ease
The Step obscures all thoughts…of these
And so, with weeping, weakened will
I yield to thoughts…myself to ill
I yield my limbs to demon’s threads
While whispered wooings…praise the dead
And pausing ‘fore the Step I plead
“Oh, someone save myself…from me.”

A very long time ago…I was in a very dark place.  It was a place of sadness, despair, and ultimately…depression.  And I remember…the door.  As I recall, one day, thoughts of self destruction seemed…insane.  And the next, as if stepping into a room, “sanity” became redefined .  Well, obviously I’m still here, and though that brief time was indeed dark, I believe it was merely one step on a path of self realization.  A path that ultimately led to…the cross.  However, this piece is not about me, but rather a simple reminder that walking among us, beside us, are those who are wounded…and ill.  For, just as real as are infirmities of the flesh, so too are infirmities…of the mind.

Just yesterday I was talking to a coworker and he mentioned that one of my union brothers…had just committed suicide; the result of chronic depression.  Honestly, he could have mentioned a thousand names (a lot of people work at the steel mill) and my empathy would have been genuine, but measured.  However, he told me about Mark, and a personal note sounded.  You see, Mark hired in a mere seven days after me. And, from our joint labors I learned He was raising a child on his own and, even though we later went our separate ways (as far as internal vocations) his locker was so situated that, off and on, over the last fourteen years, greetings could be offered and reciprocated.  But now, after an apparent long struggle with mental illness…he is dead. 

I suppose the reason for this offering is, in part, a memorial to a troubled soul.  But, it’s also a reminder to the many that we are, ultimately-as has been said before- in the people business.  So, let us, you and I, become aware.  Let us dare to look beyond the cliché, and the polished facade, and see if the soul that resides…is troubled or not.  And, upon finding…let us reach in, if we possibly can…to aid.

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