Posted by: everynation | August 23, 2007


by Garry Senna

Garry Senna

What was a picture perfect afternoon was pierced through by another shattered life. Had a sense that the call marked private (police dispatch) on my cell phone was going to confront me with the fragile nature of life once again.

As I drove to the house, my heart was aching knowing that I was facing a father who had committed suicide and was found by his teenage daughter. When I arrived all I could do was embrace this young traumatized child and let her cry and cry. As I held her next to her mother I begged that God would use my weak and frail arms to surround her in His Father’s embrace.

What could I say? Words were so trite. She now faced a future with two things – life without a father and a life traumatized by the vision of what she saw. As I let her weep in my arms I thought of how just four days earlier her pleasant smile and engaging personality took my order at the local espresso shop. I can still see her smile and innocence behind that espresso counter as she faced a future filled with adventure and life, and now I hold her trembling with uncertainty for a future selfishly thrust upon her.

Mental health issues, like depression, can be so difficult to deal with. Because they are not visible they can go undetected and untreated in many people. Yet the consequences of ignoring them impacts so many people. Suicide at its root is a mental health issue that manifests itself in selfishness. A person is so emotionally unhealthy that they see no way out of their problems and life becomes unbearable so they find an escape route. They can think of no one else at the moment but themselves, not their spouse, not their children, no one but themselves and their pain.

The pain however does not remain with them – it gets shared by everyone who touches them. The house that is now too painful to live in, the children who wonder why, the spouse who questions why she or he did not see the pain sooner and perhaps prevented it, the extended family, everyone now thrust violently into a future that no one is really ever prepared for.

Suicides are so hard, they are the worst Chaplaincy calls, mostly because they involve choices and decisions that could have gone a different way. What I hate the most about them however is the shattered lives left in the wake of those decisions.

Please pray for this and other families affected by suicides and please pause a bit in your daily interactions and pray for the people who cross your paths – we never know the future they will face.

Garry Senna is a husband, father, pastor and police chaplain. He is the senior pastor of Harvest Valley Christian Church and currently in training to run a marathon in December.



  1. In connection with what have been told in this article, I have read somewhere that a lot of people commit suicide because they can no more bear the great pain that they have with them. Sad to say that because of our selfishness, even the pains that are supposed be shared with others especially with God who looks beyond what meets our eyes are being kept for ourselves, stored for long time ‘till they are not bearable anymore…
    God who is the God of Love and not just the God of the Law, always cares for us, yet there are a lot of times that we won’t recognised Him because we are looking on the wrong direction, we’re looking on ourselves. Jesus is forever waiting for us to take His rest and comfort.
    So much more to say, anyway I wanted to leave a message from a journal book of Selwyn Hughes, “People will be forever restless unless they find that rest in God.”
    Thanks for the article, it’s a reminder.

  2. Hi Ps Garry, thank you for sharing this painful episode. It is a reminder that we need to take time to engage with the people around us so that we may perhaps be the one they turn to in a time of need. Kenneth (Singapore)

  3. Kenneth – thanks for the comment hope all is well in your world

  4. wow Garry, this reminds us what being a pastor is all about, and you’re the best this family could have had at this tragic time. Way before strategic planning & all the good church growth stuff, he calls us to care for His sheep… Trusting you’ll keep finding some quiet waters yourself too….

  5. Wolfi – all is well. I enjoy reading your blog. Could you however in the future be more clear about what you consider to be the greatest city in the world :)

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