It’s Always Worth It

Same view, different day

The skies clear, the temperatures drop, and the cows’ water freezes over hard. I break it with the head of an old axe I’ve left leaning against a fence post. It’s a small but satisfying piece of work.

My friend Andy and I ski early in the day. Early enough that maybe it’s late in the night. It’s eight below zero but stone still, not even the faintest whisper of breeze. And the stars! Like someone loaded them into a shotgun and fired at the sky, over and over and over again. For the first hour we travel by headlamp, straight into those little cones of light, just the sounds of our breathing and the squeaking of our bindings. Eventually the dark begins to break. The stars fade fast and then are gone. Or not gone, not exactly. Just not visible.

It’s been a month since a good friend of our sons’ – a friend of our entire family, this whole community – took his life. He was 17, and I remember driving him home from a visit at our house the previous summer, just before he got his license, and how he told me about all the things he wanted to do. And I said, wow, that’s a lot of stuff, and he replied you know, I really think this is the time in my life to try things. I didn’t say much after that, just sat there driving and thinking that maybe this 16-year-old kid knew a whole lot more about living than I did.

So yeah. Not sure what else to say but be good to one another, ok? It might not always be easy, but it’s always worth it.

13 thoughts on “It’s Always Worth It”

  1. Oh, my goodness. I don’t think there is anything you can say about that other than what you did. Somehow, there’s a connection there with the stars and the sky and that young life but I’m not eloquent enough to put it down. Thank you for giving me more to think about. Peace….

  2. OMG! The absolutely worst thing that can happens to parents. Or grandparents. Or brothers and sisters. Or friends. My wife and I now have 22 descendants, over three generations and ranging in age from 1 to 55, and are so grateful that we have not had to cope with that. But two couples we have been close to for decades have suffered such a loss and it has pretty much destroyed all four individuals. The big question is always on their minds: “How could I have missed the signs?”

    Pray for them.

  3. Sometimes life’s beauty can hold us through the pain or offer a respite from it. Thank you for sharing your moment under those stars.

  4. I’m sorry, and I hope you can all find peace. Suicide, especially of a young person, leaves so much heartache and confusion behind. My sincere sympathies to all of you.

  5. So, so sad! What a terrible loss. When a young person takes their life it’s just so awful. We wish we could have stopped it or done something to help them. Hope he comes back a happier person if you believe along those lines.

    Last week a friend of ours was working on his truck, slipped, fell and suffered irreparable brain damage. He never woke up. Gone in 24 hrs. A person never wakes up and says to themselves today I will die. Unless maybe they’re contemplating suicide. Best to love and not waste a millisecond pursuing one’s bliss.

  6. Hi Ben…Not sure what to say after reading this. Beautiful subject contrast, from beauty to pain. The stars and the moon on a frigid night create a feeling so glorious it’s intangible with just words.
    This is a fine piece of writing. Thanks.

  7. Well that touched a chord this morning. (Or maybe strummed a whole entire chord, all strings reverberating.) Your sentences: …And the stars! Like someone loaded them into a shotgun and fired at the sky, over and over and over again… knocked me out and I hadn’t even gotten to the next paragraph which shattered me. Because my only child just turned 18. And it’s so hard, but also good. But always hard. And reminders to be good to each other. We all need those. Thanks.

  8. Ben, did they ever find out why he chose suicide? Just wondering if it was medication that may have driven him – that seems to be an issue in some of the cases I have known of.

    Thought I didn’t know him personally, I know so many who were affected and based on all I have heard, he had so much to look forward to.

    I ask simply because Ken’s boys are now almost 13 and 16. The pressures they are under academically worries me, as does his ex’s lack of oversight (work schedule) and controlling personality. I just hope we are involved enough at our end to keep them in a healthy mindset.

    Thanks for sharing – I am so sorry for the community’s loss.


    Sent from my iPhone


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