When I was in the eighth grade, a friend of mine killed herself. One day I was talking to her in art class and the next day she was gone. I’ll never forget that final conversation that I had with her. The words I didn’t say would haunt me for years to come.
Her suicide devastated many people. The aftermath of a suicide is not easy and certainly not pretty. It causes a lot of questions that have no answer. For days, weeks and months your thoughts are consumed with hollow questions like, If only…I should have….Maybe I could have…and the ever destructive, What if? In the end you finally conclude that none of the what if’s, should have’s and could have’s mean anything because it’s already too late and you have to except the fact that there will never be an answer to the question that you so desperately need to have answered…Why? Ultimately, you pick up the pieces and go on with life as normal. Only as with any tragedy, your normal has changed and you seek to find a new normal.
At her service, I sat with tears streaming down my face as the minister spoke words meant to comfort and bring hope and thought of how easily I could be the one in her place. I had often contemplated ending my own life. I was a troubled teenager struggling to determine if I’d ever feel normal or if I’d ever fit in anywhere. Often, I felt like no one knew how I felt and I thought I was utterly, incredibly alone.
Why do I bring this up now? Because this afternoon I watched a movie with my husband and children that brought all those feelings back to the surface. It is probably the best movie I have watched in a long time. It was also one of the hardest movies to watch that I have ever seen. This movie really cut too close to home.
To Save a Life is written by a youth pastor and addresses many controversial subjects like suicide, teen drinking, sex, drug use, cutting and hypocrisy. If you haven’t yet figured it out, this is not your typical ‘Christian movie.’ It is however, an honest look at what many of our teens in the church and out of the church deal with.
To Save a Life is not going to be a movie that all Christians will enjoy watching because it’s challenging. It addresses areas about ourselves that we don’t like to think about. It also challenges us to make a difference. This is a movie that I think you should sit down and watch with your kids because unfortunately I think we forget just how many pressures our children are faced with and yes, I am including homeschooled children in that statement.
I used to assume that because my children were homeschooled, didn’t have public schooled friends and were not active in a youth group they would never be faced with many of the challenges that children in public school deal with on a daily basis. I’ve since learned that we do not live in a bubble. If you watch TV, listen to the radio, log on to the computer, read billboards or glance at the magazines in the check out line at Wal-Mart than you already know that sex, drugs and alcohol are in our face all the time. Thankfully, I’ve learned that the best place to address those issues is in our home.
If you’re uncomfortable bringing up those hard discussions, this movie will provide just that opportunity. This trailer will give you an idea of what the movie is like but don't let it scare you, yes, in addition to the sex (which you don’t see), drugs and alcohol use, there are a handful of bad words thrown in as you’ll see from watching the clip below. Even then, I really can't recommend this movie enough.
Watch it yourself first, if you’re not sure about it, but I do encourage you to view it with your older teenagers and allow plenty of time afterwards to discuss it afterwards. If you’re like me, keep the tissues close at hand.
You’ll find an excellent review of this movie at Plugged In Online.