My Saturday started off with the privilege of delivering the commencement speech for our Adult Education grads. These are the folks who earn their high school diploma by studying well enough and hard enough to pass a test that forty percent of high school graduates can’t pass. Certainly not the “easy way out” some folks seem to think it is. I used a Guy Clark song, “The Cape,” for my platform and that seemed to go over right well, which was quite a relief since I’d never tried that before.
During my speech but without any prior intention, I shared a story about a time when I’d contemplated suicide. It actually fit right in with what I was saying but I found myself surprised by the sharing.
After the ceremony was over, a few folks came over and expressed their appreciation for my talk. One woman took my hand, looked me in the eye and said, “I can’t tell you how much I needed to hear what you had to say today. My son attempted suicide and sometimes I just don’t know if there’s any hope for him.” I could see the mist in her eyes welling up in the corners of her eyelids. She blinked a couple of times and continued, “But when I heard you talk about your own struggle and I see you like this today, I know that there is hope for him! Thank you.”
I thanked her and could feel my own eyes hazing up a bit. I patted her shoulder and told her, “I think I have to give the Spirit credit for this one. I hadn’t planned at all to use that story but I am so glad that you let me know it was something you needed to hear.”
Whether as public speaker or private listener, I am continually amazed at the way God can move in us to help others. As long as we are willing.