A number of years ago there was a man who worked at my office that everyone loved. For this story I'll call him James.
James was a kind and caring man, always helping others. He was also an extremely talented artist.
As often is the case with artists, James had a great capacity to love and feel emotion. But with the ability to love so deeply also comes the danger of acute heartache, which James had experienced when his first wife left him for another man.
After years of timid recovery it was with great excitement and joy that the staff welcomed James' announcement that he had bravely opened his heart once more to a woman and would be wed.
Just a few short weeks after the wedding the unspeakable happened. James came home one day to discover his new wife in bed with another man. Our hearts all ached for this man who was willing to love others so deeply.
The next day James did not show up for work.
Fearing the worst, a few employees went to his home where they found all of James' belongings packed into his car. His home was empty except for a note that the police retrieved shortly after we reported his disappearance. In the note, James said he had lost all hope, and that he was going into the forest to take his own life.
Police officers, coworkers and friends immediately spread out among the many mountain roads and trails in search of James - hoping to find him in time.
Two sisters who worked together at the office with James felt impressed to travel down a control road where they found him walking in the direction of a range of large cliffs. They pulled over but did not know exactly what to do. James looked at them as if he were in a trance, dazed and not thinking clearly but seemingly determined to end his life.
The only thing the sisters could think to do was offer him a sandwich. They said, "Won't you come with us to our house and let us make you a sandwich?" James turned and said, "I am hungry, and that sounds nice."
So he agreed to get in their car and the sisters brought him home to their table and made him a sandwich.
This simple act may have saved his life.
I generally try to keep my blog entries lighthearted, but after reading all the stories and reader comments about two 16-year-old Prescott High School students who took their lives this month, I could not help but feel the shared heartache expressed by so many in our community.
Many of us have a belief in God. No matter what religion or faith you may have, it is likely your beliefs include the need to love our neighbors.
For Christians, there is a striking moment in the New Testament when the resurrected Savior sat with his disciples for one of the last times on this earth and asked Peter three times, "Lovest thou me?"
Each time Peter replied, "Yes," the Savior said, "Feed my lambs," or "Feed my sheep."
This admonition is perhaps one of the only common measures we all have to determine if we are truly living in such a way to please our God. What better way to do this than to stand in his place and feed his sheep?
It is my prayer that we will share our sandwiches. We all have something to share, and the simplest acts of love are often our best way of living a spiritual life.
Please don't withhold your sandwiches, especially from our young people who need to feel loved and know their lives have meaning and purpose.
"Neither do men [make a sandwich] and put it under a bushel..."