The Loss of Matthew Warren

Suicide crosses all economic and sociological boundaries. No one is immune by nature of their family ties nor is anyone to blame.  In fact, suicide knows no boundaries. This painful fact is most recently evidenced by the suicide death of Matthew Warren, the youngest son of Pastor Rick Warren, mega-church founder and author of the best-selling book “The Purpose Driven Life.”

HopeIt seems almost a cruel irony that a man who inspired so many to find purpose and meaning in their own lives must now tragically face an inability to gift that same purpose to his own child. This tragedy is not a failing on the part of Pastor Warren. It is the sad but very real outcome of an individual’s inability to find hope and meaning in the midst of suffering.

I know. I tried to commit suicide at age 24 and have spent decades since building a rich, full and meaningful life. However, since that fateful day, I have periodically been challenged with those same thoughts that caused me to choose attempted suicide all those years ago.

The difference in how I have since dealt with those thoughts is by learning to override them through an understanding that the only constant is change. Therefore, no matter how bleak the present moment may seem, I know that I can trust in the fact that it will pass and change will come.  I also developed an ever-growing sense of self-worth by facing, and overcoming,  life challenges…starting small and working my way up to ever-increasing accomplishments.

I have read that Matthew Warren was described as “an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many.” How I empathize.

We live in a fast-paced, often-times alienated-from-one-another world due to technological advancements and misplaced values. The more sensitive, caring and perceptive one is of the pain of others, the more challenging it can be to exist under such circumstances. It seems the most gifted, the most artistic, the most remarkable individuals in human history have suffered the greatest emotional turmoil. Perhaps this is the price of truly understanding and feeling our connectedness to one another. I do not yet have this answer.

What I do know is that hope and trust in the ability to survive and prosper are tied to experiences of competency. The more often an individual is able to experience autonomy combined with accomplishment the more likely they are to be able to emotionally and intellectually weather the storms of clouded thinking that see suffering as permanent and suicide as an option.

To schedule Carole Goldstein to speak to your group, organization or school on attempted suicide and effective ways to overcome negative thinking click here.

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