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By Mark Brewer


Bearing one another’s burdens Staff Sgt. Dan (last name withheld),


a National Guard member, was called to active duty in the Middle East during a tough time in his life. His marriage was on the rocks, and it got worse after deployment. “It wore on me more and more, and


after awhile I got into a deep depression,” he said. “I started to think about suicide. When [actor] Robin Williams died I was jealous that he was out of his pain and I was still stuck in a mess.” After his 12-hour night shift and


regular workout, Dan was drawn to music coming from the base chapel. As worship started, “they sang about love and it made me feel worse,” he said. “ I could hear my children laughing, and I was scared that I would never see them again.” Dan, who works in a prison back


‘ They sang about love and it made me feel worse.’


home, listened to the story of Paul, who was imprisoned for preaching the gospel. The part that really stuck with him, he said, was when “an earthquake flung the jail doors open. The jailer drew his sword to kill himself. Paul shouted, ‘Do not harm yourself!’ ” “[That passage] hit me like a ton of


bricks,” Dan said. “The music led me to hear about a jailer who was so overcome with grief that he was about to kill himself.” He knew then that he was headed


in the same direction as the jailer and needed help.


“ You don’t have to be a mental health professional to reach out and save lives,” said Sherry Bryant of Lutheran Suicide Prevention Ministry.


If you or anyone you know has thoughts of ending a life, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).


36 MAY 2016


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