This evening brought the news that Pastor Rick Warren's son had taken his own life.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Pastor Warren and his wife, and their church community.
There's almost nothing harder on a family, and a close-knit community, than suicide. It always begs the question - "What could we have done?"
And the answer is always the same.
Mental illness is an illness. Some forms are curable, some are not.
And some forms are fatal. Like some cancers, some forms of heart disease - some mental illnesses will, inevitably, result in the death of the sufferer. That death occurs by his or her own hand makes no difference whatsoever. It's exactly the same as a cancer that chokes the air out of one's lungs.
There are those who would differ, who would say that it is a choice. There are those who say that suicide shows up a moral flaw, implying or baldly stating cowardice, and selfishness. Those who came back from the brink themselves, and make that claim, seem particularly compelling, except...
...if you came back from the brink (and I'm delighted you did), you didn't have it as bad as it could have been - because you're alive to tell the tale.
The young man who took his life walked alone we dare not imagine.
And that we never dare judge.