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The Pain is Intense, Stay Alive

Stay Alive {Ben}

444 days. That's what the headline read the day U.S. hostages were released from Iran in January 1980. On the day of their release, they had been held hostage for 444 days. It's also the approximate number of days it took for Ann and I to really turn the corner and find release in dealing with our affairs.

Realize this process will take longer than you think. You may get to day 100 or 279 or 364 and wonder, "What's wrong with me? It's been so long; will we ever get past this?

Why do I care? I wish I didn't care. I hate that I care. We've talked about it all again and again, so why won't it go away?"

Accept the process. Some days you’ll make great strides forward and some days take two steps back. On those hard days it’s important to stay engaged with the process, which includes staying engaged with each other. There are some days you will need to take a break and rest or play. Those days are an essential part of the process, too.

When hope wanes remember each day is a step through the darkness. So keep stepping. Do your best each day. Do your best on day 1 and 41 and 101 and 281 and 401. And somewhere out there - way beyond 90 days - you'll find freedom, and you'll know that you know that you know your marriage will make it, and you will be glad about it.

Especially early on, one or both of you may battle suicidal thoughts. If either of you need someone to talk to, the National Suicide Hotline number is 800-273-8255.

Ann battled suicidal thoughts as I did. I remember seeing her in the kitchen, her hair a thatchy nest, t-shirt seemed two sizes too big on her fallen shoulders with her chin planted firmly into her collar. She pondered taking our Lab into the garage, turning the key and taking a road trip to nowhere.

At the same time, my pain was extremely intense. I'd wake up and feel great for a tenth of a second, but the pain would crash in again. Weary of the pain, I called our counselor.

He told me he could do nothing to take the pain away. He acknowledged how hard this time in our lives must be. I forced the words through my mouth for the benefit of the one who had caused the pain. "Ann's thinking about killing herself."

He had me put her on the phone. The theme of his message resembled the message from The Last of the Mohicans in the waterfall scene. “Stay alive. Call me if you think you'll do something. Stay alive. Call me if you are going to kill yourself. Stay alive.”

The words from Hawkeye to Cora echo God’s words to us. “Stay alive, I will find you. Survive. Stay alive, no matter what occurs. I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far.”

Ann did stay alive, and God did rescue and heal and reveal himself to Ann. And now, through her, He reveals and shares his story of love and redemption.

It's hard to get through this crap, especially the first 30 days, but know that you have no idea of God’s plans for you.

Stay alive, no matter what occurs. He will find you.

What wild thoughts is your pain producing? If you are suicidal call your counselor or the 800 number above.