Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Value of Life?

I spoke with my cousin yesterday. She told me a story that I cannot get out of my head. She took Amtrak from Washington DC to NYC in March for a business conference. She rode up that morning and on her return trip that evening, there was an unexpected stop. The conductor announced the stop was due to "debris" on the track. After a while, another announcement was made that the debris was actually "a trespasser" that had been struck by the train. That reference stood out in my mind. A victim being labeled as a trespasser before an investigation had been done. It was a negative label I thought was peculiar in this context. Maybe train conductors are trained to call anyone who makes it on the train tracks "trespassers". That's kind of like saying a deer crossing the highway is trespassing. But I digress, the next announcement clarified this accident had resulted in a fatality. My cousin was dumbstruck. Someone had died? Minutes later the conductor came back to explain that since the recession their have been an increased amount of suicides from people jumping on front of a train. She didn't know any of her fellow passengers but many were conversing on their telephones by this time. She was surprised that most of the conversations she overheard were people calling loved ones to express their frustration since they would be returning home later than expected due to this inconvenience. No one seemed concerned that a life had expired. One passenger remarked that on her ride up that morning the same thing had happened. Two train suicides in one day? What are the odds of that?

I commented that we are so desensitized to death and violence in our society. She agreed. She felt like she was the only one that was emotional about it. We spoke about her upcoming visit and she said she planned to drive because she didn't want to ride the train. I understood. After I got off the phone, I have been haunted by her story. I could research recent accidents and figure out who and maybe even why someone would take their life this way. But that won't change the sad fact that someone was so depressed they chose to take their life. That person was someone's child, maybe a sibling, parent, and hopefully someone's friend. What desperate times we live in. We all have bad days. I take comfort in my faith and that helps me get through bad situations. I can only imagine the feeling of despair that person felt before they made that decision. I must assume they didn't have a spiritual relationship with God. At least not a strong one. That saddens me. They had no one to call and talk through their problems. I am so blessed to have friends and family I can count on to support me through the dark times. I pray for the depressed and lonely people who don't see a reason to live another day. And I pray for the rest of us to reach out to someone who may be feeling this way. A simple smile and "Hello" on the train platform to a stranger may just save a life.

Get Paid to Tweet!

No comments:

Post a Comment