With head bowed low as if he was praying, this middle-aged inmate sat on the blue chair, anxious and a few beads of sweats glistened on his wrinkled forehead. He wasn’t sure why he was called to the Clinic. With both wrists handcuffed, it made him more uneasy as he could barely move and started complaining of left shoulder and left wrist pain.

Facing him, I lifted his shirt to find a well-healed scar that ran from the top of his left shoulder down to the front of that joint. Grimacing a little bit as I asked him to move forward, it was really difficult for him to move around.

Not sensing any danger or threat, I had requested the deputy if it was okay to undo the handcuff. He immediately took it off upon my request.

“Ahhh…Thank you nurse! That’s better! It really hurt me. I had a previous surgery on my left shoulder when I had an accident one time,” his face still filled with doubts as to why he was summoned to be seen by the nursing staff.

“I know, Sir. I’m glad you told me. Do you know why you’re here?” I politely asked.

“Hmm..Not really Ma’am. But I’m scared. I don’t know what’s going on,” he replied.

“Sir, you had put a sick call request saying that you wanted to kill yourself.”

“What?,” an astonished answer echoed. “How did it sound with what I wrote?,” he asked.

“What do you mean what did it say? You’re the one who wrote it, right? Not unless someone else did it for you?” I queried with the determination to find out if another inmate was playing a joke on this poor, anxious man.

“What did it say again, Ma’am?”

“That you wanted to kill yourself!,” I patiently repeated.

“I am so sorry, Ma’am. I don’t really know how to read and write. I could not find anyone to help me write for me so I tried my best. My real problem was that I had been having nightmares since I got here. I was also hearing voices telling me not to sleep. So, those sleepless nights…they’re killing me!!!,” he explained. “I don’t have any intention to hurt myself,” he pled strongly with a direct eye to eye contact.

I glanced at the square note. It read: “Keent slip. I nid hellp. Kill meee.”

I couldn’t help but smile, until a soft laughter ensued. Not to make fun of him but a smile of relief that he was not really suicidal. He must have sensed that I believed in him then. I saw him became more relaxed at the corner of my eye. I heard him laugh softly, accompanying mine.

“Sir, it’s okay if you can’t read or write and that we misunderstood this request. But here, we take “suicidal ideations” seriously. I had asked your unit to bring you down to make sure that you don’t have any intention to hurt yourself. Because we’re here to help you and not allow you to do that. Sometimes, it may feel that there is no hope and help for others, but there is help available.”

“No, Ma’am. I am in no way planning to kill myself. But thank you for checking with me and being concerned,” his eyes now wrinkled from the smile he managed to give time to time.

“Well, how about this…I’ll go ahead and give you something for pain for your shoulder and wrist. But I will still have someone from Mental Health Services evaluate you so they can help you with your nightmares or anxiety attacks.”

He replied, “Thank you. I was so scared earlier not knowing what’s going on. I think I was so scared that I was praying. Thank you again. I appreciate that you did take care of my other true problems.”

The deputy escorted him back to his unit. But his wrists were without a handcuff this time. The anxious look earlier now replaced with relief and a little laughter that echoed for a few minutes.

“Suicide!” It is a big issue in the jail. When someone declares that intention, he/she is placed in a special place where they can be monitored 24/7 until the Mental Health doctor evaluates and treats them. They get released back to general population if the doctor gives an order to release them if he feels that they are mentally stable.

Suicide is what we commit when we are far from what God had willed for us. We hurt ourselves by depriving of being useful for Him. We commit spiritual suicide when we allow bad circumstances to empower us, instead of His strength and guidance to help us succeed in this life’s journey.

Apart from God, we are just existing, living a meaningless life. Our hearts are void of joy, joy that only comes from knowing Jesus Christ.

Let us not end the works marked for each of us. And we can live victoriously… if we know His will: to be joyful, prayerful and thankful.

1Thessalonians 5:16-18 - “Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is GOD’s WILL for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

John 10:10 - Jesus said, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”

John 8:51 - Jesus said, “I assure you, anyone who obeys My teaching will never die!”

Romans 6:6-11 - “Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share his new life. We are sure of this because Christ rose from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. He died once to defeat sin, and now he lives for the glory of God. So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus.”

When nothing makes sense and when troubles seem more than you can bear, remember that God gives strength. Take our eyes off any difficulties and look to God. Let us LIVE...and be joyful.

All posts/composed songs copyright by RCUBEs.