Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Man Beneath a Train

Going to IKEA is always an experience.  Yesterday's trip to the IKEA in greater London was no exception.

I lost a full day of work due to bad connections, a fire in one tube station requiring the use of an extra, hour-long bus ride, and the closure of the Bakerloo line with the disturbing announcement that there was a "man beneath a train."

I quickly learned from the disgruntled passengers around me that this type of line-closure occurs perhaps once a fortnight, and is usually the result of someone committing suicide by throwing themselves in front of the train, ala Wall Street the movie style.

My heart wrenched a bit.  Many complained of the individual's selfishness.  I admit to being somewhat disturbed that I would get virtually no work done due to the additional set back, but the announcement had a familiar ring to it.

You see, I had a brother pass away some years ago by taking his life.  From much pondering and working through doctrinal and other issues, I learned that the very nature of suicide requires one not to be in their right mind.  Yes, they are selfish in the act.  Pain makes everyone selfish to one degree or another by turning our attention to our own rather than to others' pain and needs.

Yet, in the case of suicide, the pain which drives them to the act is often not of their own making.  They require compassion - hopefully before, and most certainly afterwards.  I know One is ultimately compassionate towards them, and hope I can be likewise.

One person's act of insanity and pain captured the attention of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of travelers for a few moments.  I wonder if that same attention, applied in a different way and at a different time, could have saved that person from their pain and insanity.

At this Christmastime, I hope the world's compassion increases enough to point just a few more towards the One who can heal the pain which drives insanity.


  1. Thank you for the beautiful reminder to make sure and give attention to others before drastic ends. I appreciate your insight Lorianne. What a powerful message. You are beautiful!

  2. Lorianne -- Thank you so much for your sharing this in the Mormon Times. I actually found it on accident. I was simply reading the news and thought the title was interesting. I am currently taking graduate courses in psychology through Harvard's extension school. I have been very close to some people who have suffered and continue to suffer from mental illness. Your article was spot on. I hope that it inspires more compassion and understanding this Christmas Season. Merry Christmas to you and Lance.

    Dave Alba

  3. Dave -

    Great to hear from you, and congrats on continuing your education - sounds fascinating.

    Thanks so much for your kind words!