Mental Illness, The Death of a Child, and Human Hostility – Pastor Rick Warren’s Son Commits Suicide

This story really upset me to the point that I have had real problems writing this.  This is like the fourth draft of this post.  All my regular readers know that I have been very open and honest about the fact that I suffer from a mental illness; major depression.  I truly believe that all people have crosses to bear in life, and this is one of mine.  Sadly, Pastor Warren’s son unable to bear his cross, he ended his own life on Friday night.  Simply tragic.

Another cross I had to bear in my life was the death of my best friend when we were teenagers.  She was killed in a car accident on her way to an amusement park one summer day shortly after her 15th birthday.  Luckily, her family and I have remained close.  I not only still talk to them, they are my family on an emotional level.  I watched what that family went through after her death.  It was horrible.  It almost devastated that family.  They were able to find their way to the other side, but it took years.  Honestly, they are likely not the same people they were before the accident.  The wounds went that deep.  I know the affect it had on my life and we were not really family, just childhood friends.  She and I shared the things that little girls share as they are trying to find their way to adulthood.  I often wonder how different my life would be had she lived.  But my point being I watched parents trying to find their way after the grief of losing a child.  I firmly believe that is a pain like no other, it is not the natural order of things.  You are not supposed to bury your child.

It took little time for people to show their inhumanity after the news was released.  The hate was just awful.  To make matters even worse is that it came from both sides.  Look, I have issues with Pastor Warren and some of his views.  But, does that justify this?

“I am a Christian and this guy was no Christian. … Purpose driven life my ars. The kid couldn’t be helped by a cult-like atmosphere and false teachings.”

I think not.  This family is burying a child.  The fact that he was grown doesn’t change the fact that they are his parents.  Matthew Warren, besides suffering from mental illness, was also a son, a brother, an uncle, a friend, a co-worker, and many other things as well.  Doesn’t that matter in our culture anymore?

The left has come out with the theory that he was gay and due to his father’s stance on same-sex marriage caused him so much pain he had to take his own life.  There is no proof of this, but this is theory that those that are pre-disposed to hate any and all Christians have come up with.

“Rick warren hates all homosexuals. Look it up! His own son couldn’t change his mind. Do you think for a minute that rick is in mourning? His son was gay! He is rejocing. What a pathetic excuse for a human being.”

Hmm, he hates all homosexuals.

Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

There is a huge difference between hating someone and being against gay marriage based upon tenets of one’s faith.  Not only does the left not get that, they don’t even make the attempt to.  Or maybe they do get it and just don’t care.  I am not sure.

Pastor Warren’s work around the globe for AIDS patients can’t be touched.  He has done amazing work not only giving medical care to the stricken, but also caring for the children who have been orphaned because of the disease.  If he were so full of “hate” he wouldn’t be doing this.  Unless you are being intellectually dishonest you cannot disagree that AIDS is primarily an illness based upon behavioral choices, such as gay sex and promiscuity.  If you practice  abstinence until marriage and remain faithful the chances of you getting AIDS is almost nonexistence in the world today.  That would be life choices that Pastor Warren would prefer that people make.  Yet, there he is out in the world trying to make a difference to those that are suffering from that illness and helping the children who have become second-hand victims.

But sadly, simply talking about living a life based upon biblical teachings is enough to get you labeled a hate monger.  Standing by your belief system seems to justify being targeted within hours of the one of the most painful experiences of your life.  Even worse is when other “Christians” join in on the attacks.

Nothing is being said about the horrors that people with lifelong depression face.  The darkness that permeates far too much of their lives and takes away hope.  So let me say it.  Let me try to describe to you what this is like.  I am not a doctor and I can only talk about my own experiences, but from what I understand mine are not all that different from the others who suffer from this.

It has been described to me that on a scale of one to ten, most people fall between a 6 and 8 on any given day.  They will have days of fluctuation of course, but generally speaking this is where the average falls.  I happen to fall between a 4 and 6 on any given day.  My good days are your bad days.  I live in a constant funk.  I feel like crying for reasons that I can’t explain.  I have described this to people on several occasions that I feel like I am in a body of water and I can’t see land and no matter how much I swim I am getting nowhere.  Think of how exhausting that is.  That young man likely didn’t feel all that different.  He couldn’t find his way to land.  30% of all people who take antidepressants on a regular basis will have the medication just stop working.  There is no rhyme or reason for it, so you can’t prepare for it.  When this happens your depression will of course get worse.  I have no way of knowing if Warren’s son happened to be in that 30% or not, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he were.

People with long-term depression get very good at faking it.  At least to a point.  It eventually will catch up to you.  During one of my down cycles I used to go to work everyday and do my job with no issues.  But that was about all I could accomplish.  I went straight home, turned off the phone and sat on the couch in a daze until I went back to work.  I got through it by taking my car a few miles away during my lunch hour and sit in my car and cry for an hour.  It released enough of the emotion that I could through the afternoon.  Once that episode began to fade, I then had to clean my condo, which was a mess.  My poor dog got little attention during this cycle.  She was an amazing comfort to me during the time, she seemed to sense my down moods and would snuggle with me.  She used to put her head on one shoulder and her paw on the other and lick my face.  She was giving me a doggie hug.  She really did help me get through the bad days.

The point that I am trying to make is that depression is a horrible, horrible illness.  It is an ILLNESS.  It isn’t a choice.  It requires medical attention and in most cases medication to balance out the chemical imbalances in your brain.  His son couldn’t find his way out any other way.  Is it cowardly?  Maybe.  But if you lived with this pain and darkness day after day for the majority of your life , you would see it a different way.

Our inhumanity to man is very sad to me.  Questioning Pastor Warren’s belief system is fair game as he is in the public eye.  But to purposely hurt a man who is about to bury his own child can only be described as inhumane.  There is no other word for it.  Shame on those who did this.

Grieving is hard.Grieving as public figures,harder.Grieving while haters celebrate your pain,hardest.Your notes sustained us

I hope that Matthew has found the peace he was unable to attain in life.  I also hope that the Warren family continues to get notes to sustain them through this horrible ordeal.