Refusing to Pledge an Oath to Life


It is…the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life…
The man who kills a man kills a man.

The man who kills himself kills all men.
As far as he is concerned, he wipes out the world.
~ G.K. Chesterton


Suicide rates in the United States have increased by 25% since 1999.

Based on the anguish of the patients I see every day,
one after another and another,
over and over again I hear
a too-easy contemplation of suicide,
from “It would be easier if I were dead”
or “no one cares if I live or die”,
or “the world would be better off without me”,
or “I’m not worthy to be here”
to “that is my plan, it is my right and no one can stop me”.

Without us all pledging an oath to life,
willing to lay ourselves down,
to bridge the sorrow and lead the troubled to the light,
there will be no slowing of this trend.

…when there is no loyalty to life, as stressful and messy as it can be,
…when there is no honoring of the holiness of each created being,
…when there is no resistance to the buffeting winds of life,
only a toppling over, taking out everything and everyone in the way,
our sad and hurting world is wiped out by one suicide,
all people killed by one act of self-murder.



When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
I’m on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I’ll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on, silvergirl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
If you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
~Simon and Garfunkel

6 thoughts on “Refusing to Pledge an Oath to Life

  1. It is very sad, but I’ve been in that place of wanting to die, because the emotional pain was overwhelming. Your words sound, to me, just a bit judgemental. In the midst of my worst pain, I had so-called friends turn their backs to me, minimizing my pain by saying things like, “You’ll get over it. Just smile and you’ll feel happy. Suck it up already. You’re not the only one in the world who is having a hard time.” Many people who suffer with Bipolar (me & my son ), major depression (my daughter) and schizophrenia (several friends) have heard a variation of those same comments.
    Mental illness is something that needs to be understood and empathized with, not dismissed with promises of “beautiful dreams on their way.”
    I made a promise to God years ago to never take my own life. Life is His only to give or take. Neither do I judge or dismiss the feelings of those who may be considering such a drastic, horrible step. Instead, I do my best to come alongside and walk with them in their pain. I try to be a compassionate listener, unlike my many, Christian friends who had no use for me unless I fit into their happy, hide-all-the-pain-behind-a-mask mold.


  2. Sheri,
    I so appreciate you writing and certainly did not want to appear judgmental in my expression of recognition of my patients’ suffering in light of their contemplation of suicide. You have, as you say, taken an oath of loyalty to the life (as terrible as it can be) your Creator gave you, so you are making a commitment that I see so seldom in the people I work with. As a clinician, I am in fact saying to my patients: wanting to die is part of your illness and I won’t stand by doing nothing while this disease encourages you to take your one precious life. I can see where there is a kind of judgment as well as the potential legal judgment of forcing involuntary detainment to a hospital if someone appears to be imminently planning to take their life. How else to stop a decision with permanent consequences?

    The reality is that I know as a physician or as a Christian I cannot say or do much of anything to compel someone to choose life when they want, very much, to die. All words fall flat. Only God has that power to change hearts. As you say, I can only be there, make sure they know how to reach me and not just an anonymous hotline, at any hour and walk through it with them.

    What is astonishing to me is not the severity of the illness and the suffering that I am seeing, but that there are so many more now. Why?

    blessings to you in your walk with those who are hurting,


  3. Thank you for replying! I didn’t realize you’re a clinician. I need to apologize for hasty words, then.
    I don’t know why there’s been such an increase in suicide rates either. I’m not a clinician, by a patient with an opinion, as simple as it my be: It’s a sign of the times – all creation is groaning, and more and more precious souls are looking for a way out.


  4. An excellent post…yes, we all need to pledge an oath to life (similar to physician’s Hippocratic oath?) and show compassion to those who are struggling…it could be any of us. I think with abortion seen as a “right”, we have ushered in a culture of death where many lives are devalued.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.