I was  years old when I almost died.
I stood in church, swaying to the worship song, and I looked at my -year-old daughter sitting in the row in front of me.
I was that age, I thought.
So much potential, so much life still ahead of her. I was her exact age when I tried to end my own life. It amazes me, looking back, how Satan tried to stop short the plans God had in mind for my life. I could have died; I should have died. But I didn’t.
It was a hot, July afternoon when I climbed my favorite tree. The tree climbing was nothing new, but the coil of old rope wrapped around my arm was. I stood on one branch, and I tied tightly an end of the rope to the branch above it. On the other end, I fashioned a circle. I wasn’t sure how to tie a noose, like the ones I’d seen the bad guys swing from on the Westerns on TV, but I figured this would do. It would have to. I looked at the circular section of rope I had fashioned at the end of the tree-anchored line, and I figured it would do the trick.
I was just so sad, you see. Thinking back I’m not sure what made me feel like death was the only escape for my sadness. Was it being the new kid? Being the sick kid with epilepsy? Being the adopted kid? Being the kid whose biological dad had left her? I’m not sure. Maybe it was all of it.
I had to make the loop big enough to fit over my head, and as I slipped it over my fine, white hair and onto my neck, I looked down at the ground below. I saw no other way. I jumped.
Oh, my God! It hurt! It hurt so bad!
I didn’t realize how bad it would hurt to hang myself. I thought it would make the pain go away, but as my throat began to burn from the jolt of my descent, coupled with the lack of life-giving oxygen, my soul screamed for help. I bucked and jerked as my little body dangled over the dirt, and the bright light of the sunny afternoon started to blur around the edges.
Suddenly I was on the ground, and I sucked in hungrily the luscious air. In my frantic bucking, I had slipped free from my haphazardly constructed noose. That was the only explanation for me being on the ground, yet the circle of rope the size of my head still dangling from above me. I had slipped free. Even now it doesn’t make sense. Or perhaps it does.