Thesis Update: How to Save a Life

Just about done revising my second chapter. It’s weird/exciting to be so close to the end! I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself when this is all over! Probably do all the things I’ve wanted to do but couldn’t since I’ve been here.

I have the song “How to Save a Life” stuck in my head. It’s OK because it’s a pretty good song. I especially like the part where he sings, I would have stayed up with you all night had I known how to save a life.

I’ve never knowingly been friends with anyone who really struggles with depression but there was one occasion freshman year that really broke my heart. It was my friend from back home. She had moved to Arizona with her family and was now attending ASU but she would keep in touch every once in a while (and still does). She had pretty recently just accepted Christ into her life and she would call or text a lot asking me questions about certain scriptures or doctrines. I would always answer the questions either by phone or skype but they did admittedly get annoying. The annoyance mostly came from the fact that I would tell her what I believed to be true but it never seemed like she changed. She struggled a lot with sexual sin but it never seemed like she wanted to change that, just like she wanted to find a loophole in God’s commandments.

In short, I wasn’t the best friend to this girl. I didn’t always say or do the right things and I definitely didn’t have the right attitude towards her most of the time. One day she called me, telling me she had something important to tell me. I had no idea what it could be, so I sat and listened. She began to explain to me how she struggled with depression in high school. It was something I could’ve guessed so that wasn’t too surprising. What was surprising was when she told me that I had helped her get through high school. That just totally blew my mind.

I wasn’t mean to the girl – I wasn’t a bully or anything – but I wasn’t the type of person who helps other people struggling with depression. Honestly, I didn’t care enough about other people to do that. So when she told me that I literally started crying, shocked by what she had just told me. I went to my closest friend at the time and future roommate and told her what had happened but she didn’t really get it. Neither did my roommate. Probably no one really gets it. Just the fact that something I did, not even from a desire to do good, could be used for good, was mind blowing to me.

So now, a few years removed from that encounter, I still pray a version of that line. I pray that God would put me in the right place at the right time. I pray that I would be present. And sometimes I fall short. Sometimes I’m in the absolute wrong place at the absolute wrong time. Or maybe the right place at the wrong time (that happens a lot). Sometimes people get hurt. Sometimes I get hurt. But sometimes it’s right. Sometimes I say the right thing. Sometimes I get a call like the one my friend gave me.

I’m not saying that it’s OK to hurt a bunch of people if you make one smile. I’m not saying that I live my life hoping that people will call me ten years from now and thank me for a job well done. But I do think that one smile is worth a lot and a ten year old phone call is really an opportunity to tell someone about the person who really saves lives.

I think if we only knew how much we influence others, our lives would look drastically different. I know mine did after that call. And I’m glad she called when she did because in a way she helped save my life. And for that, I’ll always be grateful.


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