Life is for living

By  Natalie Guadagnoli, The Catholic Register
  • August 9, 2007
I just finished reading Jodi Picoult’s The Pact and felt that it really hit home hard. Although it’s fiction, it dealt with real issues teenagers face every day.
The story is about two young teenagers in love who plan a suicide pact. The twist is that only one succeeds and the other is left behind. The characters felt like they were real people. They had loving families, great friends and did well in school. The fact that they even considered committing suicide led me to read on.

Picoult’s characters aren’t the only ones who want to know why some teen-agers consider suicide. People of the real world ask themselves the same question all the time.

Through a newspaper article I learned that Canada has the highest adolescent suicide rate in the world. I felt shocked and didn’t understand how this was possible. God blessed us all with the wonderful gift of life, yet some teenagers feel the need to take that gift away. One of the Ten Commandments, thou shall not kill, also applies to killing yourself. By committing suicide, the person ends up killing one of God’s creations. They also end up going against God’s laws and commit a sin against Him.

Committing suicide doesn’t just go against God, it also hurts the people who were close to the deceased. The parents usually feel that they have failed in their role as parents. They were unable to see their child was depressed and couldn’t catch it before it was too late. Siblings and friends also feel as though they’ve failed. They could have talked to the person, or lent a hand in a time of need. Everyone involved in that person’s life becomes affected in some way. While the person who commits suicide feels as if doing it will rid them of their pain, it only creates more pain for everyone around them.

So why do some teenagers go against God’s law and commit the sin? It could be that they are facing problems and feels they have no one to talk to. Sometimes they may feel depressed on the inside, yet look cheerful and happy on the outside. When that happens, parents and friends are unable to realize the true feelings of the person. Then they neglect to get the teenager help and it’s too late.

What teenagers fail to see is that there will always be someone to talk to. For starters, they can always visit their church and pray. Who knows you better than the one who gave you life?

God isn’t the only one a person can turn to. Teachers and guidance counsellors at school will always have their doors open to students if they ever need to talk. Parents and friends especially are great people to talk to because they’re the ones who know the person best.

As long as teenagers know that there are people out there to talk to, they won’t feel alone and sad. Life is too great a gift to throw away over a bad day or problems someone faces in life. Work through those problems, forget those bad days. God gave us life to live, not to throw away over something we’ll forget about in years to come.

(Guadagnoli is a Grade 12 student at Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School in Toronto.)

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