This blog has been quiet for almost half a year. I can’t tell you how many times over the summer I wished I could hop on here at Magdala Rising and share what was going on in my head. Unfortunately, I lost the notebook where I keep my complicated password, and when I tried to update it via WordPress there was some kind of disconnect so I wasn’t getting the emails. I prayed I could find my password notebook, my family prayed, and I even asked my readers to pray via facebook. Still… no luck.
That’s when I started thinking that maybe there was a reason. If God wasn’t showing me where to look for my notebook, maybe it was because there was something else He wanted me to do with all that pent up creative energy. Almost as soon as I started entertaining that possibility a persistent thought entered my mind: “If you start working on your book, you’ll find your notebook.”
Oh yeah… the book. The book God told me I needed to write over two years ago. The book I had shut in a cupboard in the corner of my mind gathering dust. The book that I publicly announced a year and a half ago. That book.
I felt like God was “grounding me” from this blog in a sense. Like He was telling me I wasn’t allowed to blog here until I had invested myself in working on the book I told Him I would write. So last week I did it. I started the book.
When we were writing The Gift of Giving Life, the vision we started with evolved a lot over time as we followed the Spirit’s promptings for what our Heavenly Parents wanted the book to be. In the end what They envisioned was so much better than what we had initially planned.
A year and a half ago I started planning my next book, thinking it would be similar to The Gift of Giving Life. I called the book Towers of Strength: Stories of Triumph Over Darkness. But last week as I began creating the book God was prodding me to write, I felt impressed that the name I had originally chosen wasn’t actually the right name. And the vision I had initially planned wasn’t actually the book God wanted me to create. I wasn’t attached to my original title or plan, so that was fine with me.
Then this morning, as I showered before going to Ward Choir practice, God gave me His vision. Guys, this book is going to be a billion times better than what I thought it was going to be. As always, God’s vision is so vastly superior to my own, and I am so excited to see that vision come to life!!! Yes, that sentence is definitely a three exclamation point sentence.
Guys, during this month’s Suicide Prevention Week I learned something really sad.
Suicide is the first leading cause of death of 10- to 24-year-olds in Utah (Source).
It’s an epidemic. And the worst thing about it is that I have a feeling it’s going to get worse.
When I found out that the Church had created a new website aimed at helping those struggling with thoughts of suicide, I was so thrilled and thankful. The site’s homepage reads: “Each of us has an important role to play in preventing suicide. We call on youth, young adults, parents, friends, and stake and ward leaders around the world to join with others in our communities and take action today.”
The new title for my book is, as you might have guessed from this post’s title: Choosing to Stay. Rather than just a book about the experiences of Mormons dealing with mental illness, it is instead a book specifically for those contemplating suicide or struggling with their will to live. Particularly I am hoping to reach tweens, teens, and young adults like those in UT who are giving up in record numbers. I want to give them something to hold on to.
So here’s what we need… YOU. We need poetry, songs, art, quotes, photography, and stories that you have created. Words and art and images that will help those who are longing for death as a result of mental illness. God’s (and now my) vision is a book full of encouragement, hope, light, color, love. Have you been suicidal and then made the decision to keep living? I want your story! Have you written a poem about hope or overcoming mental illness? I want your poem! Have you created a painting or written a song? I want them! Do you have a favorite quote that has helped you in times of darkness? Please send it my way!
To give you a taste of what I’m looking for, here’s one of my all-time favorite poems about hope and choosing to live:
The Thing Is
By Ellen Bass
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
Will you help me? If you have something you think belongs in this book, please email me at laniaxman at gmail dot com. And please share this post on your social media profiles and with anyone you feel might have something powerful to contribute. Let’s save some lives!
P.S. I found my passwords yesterday. Obviously.