Dead End

Advent 2012: Setting Captives Free 

…from depression to wholeness           

Jim left a generous tip on the table for Joe, his favorite waiter, and headed toward the front door of Lucy’s diner.

“Have a good day, hon. Go home and take a hot shower,” Lucy said as Jim helped himself to a toothpick.

“Afraid there’s no time for that. I need to go check on my mom,” he said.

“Well, tell her I said ‘hey!’”

The snow was melting into a soupy mess as Jim drove to the hospital. He glanced at himself in the rearview mirror and tried, unsuccessfully, to smooth his greasy hair with his hand. His eyes were looking less hung over.

The hospital had an unusual buzz when he walked into the lobby. He had spotted several news vans out front and wondered if perhaps someone important had just died. He approached the information desk.

“Could I have Carol Jacobs’ room number please?”

“I’m sorry. I’ve already told some of the other reporters we’re not allowed to give out that information,” the volunteer said rather sharply.

“Reporters? I’m not a reporter, I’m her son, Jim Jacobs,” he answered rather confused and indignant.

“I apologize, Mr. Jacobs, but when the news got out about your father, everyone from the sheriff’s department to the news reporters have been trying to see your mom,” she said, handing him a small piece of paper with his mother’s room number on it.

“What on earth are you talking about?” Jim asked loudly.

When the volunteer realized Jim was in the dark about his father’s death, she excused herself and called the chaplain for assistance. But it was too late; Jim was already headed to his mom’s room in a sprint. He shoved his way past the deputy standing guard and barged into her room unannounced. When he saw her bruised face, he broke down in tears.

“What’s going on, mom? What happened to you and dad? They’re saying there are news reporters wanting to talk with you,” Jim asked without pausing for any answers.

“Your mother can’t answer you. She was given a sedative earlier and still very groggy. Besides, her jaw is broken and wired shut, so she’s unable to talk.” The voice came from behind him. Jim turned and saw the deputy who had followed him into the room.

“What’s going on, officer?” Jim demanded.

“Your father was found dead at his home this morning, single bullet to the head, and your mother was admitted this morning after being discovered passed out behind the wheel of her stalled car,” the deputy said with zero emotion.

Jim turned back toward his mother, who just stared up at the ceiling, her eyes as red as his had been earlier. Jim stood paralyzed for a moment and then walked up next to her bed and whispered in her ear.

“Mom, do you know what happened to dad?” he asked, trying not to show his suspicion of her.

She turned toward him and pointed her finger back in his face.

“What are you saying, mom? You think I shot dad?” he whispered, glancing over his shoulder toward the deputy. “I didn’t do it, even though I’ve thought about it a hundred times. What about you?” Both mother and son stared silently at each other, questioning their own suspicions while studying each other’s faces for signs of guilt.

Just then, the deputy got a phone call. It was from the sheriff. They had found a suicide note.

Anyone who is among the living has hope.              Ecclesiastes 9:4

Advent Application: Depression affects nearly 10 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year, or more than 24 million people. That’s more than coronary heart disease (17 million) or cancer (12 million) or HIV/AIDS (1 million). Over 60 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent. Those who attempt suicide have given up on any hope, but the Bible says that anyone who is among the living still has hope. All living people have hope, but those who end their lives do not. Don’t allow depression to make you hopeless enough to end your own life. There’s help. Call your doctor. Talk with a pastor or counselor. Memorize Ecclesiastes 9:4 or

1 Peter 1:3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

To read this story from the beginning, click here.

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