Filling the Void

I have been thinking a lot about something that happened a year ago, this past Saturday. On June 8, 2018, author/traveler Anthony Bourdain, passed from this world. We know now that his death was a result of suicide. Several other prominent celebrities also committed suicide in the past year: Kate Spade, Avicii, Verne Troyer… While we know of these, there are countless others whom we never hear of. They are friends, siblings, sons, daughters and neighbors. And, our world is less without them.

Last week, I was at Fort Logan National Cemetery, at the honor burial ceremony for my father-in-law, a decorated Vietnam Veteran, true patriot and wonderful man. Gazing out upon the rows of marble headstones, in tight precision and symmetry across the rolling hills, I was reminded of the unknown stories of so many who gave their all in defense of our American ideals. I am also starkly reminded, according to the VA, of the 20 veterans who commit suicide every day...or, about one every hour of every day, leaving a void in our world.

With these tragic losses, it is difficult to find our way out of the darkness, sometimes, to find the light. How can we help? How can we save lives? How can we make this better?

I don’t have a concrete answer for any of these questions. But, they do get me thinking-about each of these souls we have lost. Who were they? What were they like? What did they show us? How can we learn from them? It inspires me to know their story. I want to know about their unique, God-given soul, and the journey that transpired. I have a hunch that each story is a treasure-trove of humanity, of love.

I never met Anthony Bourdain. But, I sure did learn a lot from him-how to treat others, how to respect culture, how to be curious about life and customs, how to love diversity-the very essence of our God-created humanity. These are important values that I want to instill in my two boys. These values, I believe, are Bourdain’s legacy, his story.

As people of faith, we are called to be our brother’s keeper. Since we were all created in the image of God, we are all brothers and sisters. So, I encourage us to bear each other’s burdens, learn each other’s stories, and let love be the light leading our collective journey.   

Jackson Dreiling