In memory of
Jared High
The Tulsa World
To the world’s wounded spirits: 
‘Come unto me’
By MEGAN GILLIGAN Satellite Correspondent - 1/3/2003

A few months ago, my childhood friend, Aaron, killed himself. Though I don't know all of the details surrounding Aaron's death, I know some of those surrounding his life.

When I first met Aaron, we were in the sixth grade. When I first met Aaron, he painted his fingernails, wore Nine Inch Nails T-shirts and used eyeliner.

At that age, being different can go one of two ways: the other kids can decide you're either cool and original, or weird and a freak. Aaron was kind of stuck in the middle. He had friends who thought he was cool, but the rest of the sixth-grade class found him far too strange to socialize. Either way, he was the weird one.

I liked Aaron, though. He was funny and smart, and used to throw rulers and markers at my best friend because it made me laugh.  He was better at math than anyone I ever knew and would tie my shoes because he was nice. He was the only boy I ever shared nail polish and eyeliner with, and he used to give me really complex riddles on Mondays and wouldn't tell me the answers until the following Friday.

As the years went by, I saw Aaron grow progressively more distant.  He became very introverted and the light in his eyes started to fade.

In the 10th grade, he got his girlfriend pregnant and dropped out of school.

While I know that Aaron had friends, I also know that he had a lot of pain. This drove him to heavy drinking and drug use. This drove him to death by his own hand.

I cannot fathom going through life as a wounded spirit. I cannot imagine being so desperately tormented that there is nowhere to turn, no exit door from the agony, the pain, the haunting thought of life being full of suffering forever.

So many people wake up each morning, barely clinging to the shirttails of life, because all they have to live for is a new day of torture.

These are the teased, the tormented, the abused. These are the crippled, the addicts, the sickly.  These are the ones who have nowhere to turn, no one to listen, no one to understand. They've been picked on and pushed aside, abandoned and forgotten, left to die or left to live wishing they were dead. In silence they suffer, and suffer and suffer.

These are the wounded spirits of the world. Every day we walk by them, we talk to them -- maybe they're even our friends. And every day, while we're going through life looking forward to the next day, they're going through life wanting for nothing but the end. Maybe you're a wounded spirit. Maybe you've been bloodied and broken and betrayed by everyone around you. Maybe you've been emotionally crippled and now you're limping, hoping for someone to pull you out of the darkness, to guide you into the world in which everyone else seems to be living, the world exempt from the heartache you've lived.

Or maybe you just know one.

If the latter is the case, then it's your responsibility to respond. If you are fortunate enough to be one of those who does not have to live in emotional agony every second that you're alive, you owe it to those who aren't so lucky to step in and guide their battered soul to safety. It doesn't take much, just an offering of friendship or guidance or help.

But I'm not writing this to those who haven't suffered. I'm writing this to those who have. Mathew 11:28-30 says, "Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest -- For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

I know that a huge community of people in this area stiffen when anything Biblical is mentioned, particularly due to the religious institutions in this region that have perverted what Christianity is supposed to be.

But Christianity is not what some Bible school or faith preacher tells you it is. Christianity is not preaching one thing from the pulpit while doing another thing from behind a desk.  Christianity is love. Christianity is peace. Christianity is refuge and protection from the pain.

But again, I'm not writing this to preach religion. I'm here only to say that when you're a tortured soul, that's not the way it has to always be. There are people who care out there, who can provide a shelter from the rain. There are recovered wounded spirits who know what you've been through. And there are those who haven't ever had to live through the anguish you've survived, but they care. And they can help.

So my point in writing this is to ask those tortured beings to find help before help isn't there to be found. Life, though it may not seem like it now, is so worth living.

My friend Aaron had a future brighter than the sun, but his angle at it was obliterated by clouds, and he never knew what he was capable of. Don't let that be you. Find a solace, find refuge. Find hope before it's too late.

There are many refuges out there. Maybe religion isn't your thing. Maybe you can't imagine putting your faith in anyone or anything else, because man has betrayed you so much.

But I have to think that there's something to the One who could take lives so seemingly insignificant and so clearly flawed and make them something great. I have to think that there's something to the One who says he'll give you everything you need, if you just love him.

I have to think this, I have to have some sort of faith, or I will have nothing to live for. I have to think this, or I will be Aaron.

I just wish Aaron had thought this before he died.

Megan Gilligan is a recent graduate of Broken Arrow High School. She can be reached at:

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