Suicide Prevention Day

Blitzing Striped Bass
A nervous bird eyes a school of blitzing striped bass in Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

It seems that every day, thanks to social media, now has some significance, and some are more serious than others.

Yesterday, I discussed “celebrating your weirdness,” but today seems to bring a more pressing and difficult issue to the forefront: suicide.

Whenever I think about loving the water, the outdoors and fishing, I can’t help but think that part of it, even if we don’t realize it, is that it connects us to something ancient, instinctual, and animal.

Thousands of years ago men pulled fish from the ocean, not for sport or recreation, but to survive. To survive.

That is at the heart of our love for the outdoors: An ingrained, ancient need for survival.

D.H. Lawrence wrote: “I have never seen a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.”

Lawrence, I think, was speaking in admiration of an animal’s singular focus on staying alive, no matter how it went about that process.

Human beings are more complicated. We explore deeper questions, asking “What is my purpose here? What am I meant to do, or be? Am I succeeding to that end?”

Lawrence’s bird, I think it’s fair to assume, never questioned its purpose. From the moment it was born, to the moment it took to the air, searched for its first meal, and right up until the moment it fell frozen from the branch, it knew, instinctively and without hesitation, what it was and for what it was meant.

We can posit that the bird never wished that it were a fish, or wondered why it weren’t a giraffe. We can guess that the bird, until its death, accepted its bird-ness and did its best to stay alive, care for its young, and, perhaps, if animals can be said to experience these things, it enjoyed soaring over some beautiful country.

My point is this: perhaps it merits consideration that you are not supposed to be anything that you’re not, you’re not supposed to want more than you have, you’re not supposed to be taller, smarter, richer, skinnier, bigger, more tan (certainly not), more popular, better looking, worse looking, you’re not supposed to be able to play two instruments, or speak three languages…

Perhaps is merits consideration, that you are supposed to be… exactly the way that you are, even if the reasons for that have yet to be revealed to you. Maybe, like the bird’s destiny to live its life as a bird…

Your destiny is to be you, and you are in the process of shaping that future.

I think it’s worth considering that all of the great and terrible, beautiful and difficult, wonderful and heartbreaking things that happen to us are supposed to happen so that we can be created to be, exactly who we’re meant to be.

And that you, through everything you’ve experienced, endured, suffered, enjoyed, loved, hated, and dreamt of…

Are meant to be… you. And that our most singular focus, our one job, mission or goal… should be to become that, stay that, embrace that and be grateful for that, even if we don’t always understand it.

And since the you that you are is here, reading my blog… I just want to say thank you, and please, keep being you.

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