For Toby - with love
What do you live for? When you are young and those around think you have everything to live for, what DO you live for? He told me he couldn't think of any good reasons not to throw himself in front of a car as he walked along the street.
I can't answer his question. When I was young, suicide was a sin. The fear of judgment was some deterrent even if life seemed bad; the thought would not seriously have occurred to me. Innocent bliss- although life seemed hard enough at the time! And even though I couldn't work out what I was here for, I was sure there was a reason; I just hadn't found it. Not until I was older did it occur to me to seriously wonder if there might BE no reason. By then I had responsibilities, and it was too late. How many men keep going simply because they have wife and children depending on them, but no reason of their own. Besides, I had in some ways begun to enjoy life, too- just enough to believe that if I hung in there during the depressions I might one day come back to the enjoyment.
I was fortunate; my depressions were slight compared to those of some people, and I had family and friends who cared for me.
But to be young, with few friends- how hard! From where will one draw strength? What good is a meaningless God in which you don't believe, and who does not touch you? How do you resist the acid cynicism dripping into the soul from disillusionment with cheap and shallow politicians? How do you keep going when you have no answers, when so much seems evil, and there seems so little you can do? How do you keep going through all that when it spreads itself thickly upon a depression of nothingness, or a depression of despair, and your own self judgement has no mercy upon you? It frightens me that I do not know. I am frightened for him- no, I fear deeply for him. Am I am also a little frightened for me? When I am too tired, and the chemicals have gone wrong, I will still have no answers. Tonight, I am not worried for me- but so afraid for my son.
Posted April 2005