57: I Won’t Let You

57: I Won’t Let You

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

I Won’t Let You

God understands our prayers even when we can’t find the words to say them.

~Author Unknown

The sun was shining bright on a warm but windy afternoon in early November. It was a perfect day to be out and about in Tampa, the downtown oasis where I was entering my third month of college. So far my first semester was nothing like I had planned, and I was frustrated that my depression had returned with a vengeance. The stress of being around constant parties was eating away at me, so I turned to a professional for help. At the time, I was on my second antidepressant and my body wasn’t adapting well. The little white pill that I took once a day impacted my life in so many negative ways. I had terrible stomachaches and stayed awake all night. I hadn’t eaten or slept in days when I decided to go for a stroll—to the bridge right outside of campus.

It was nothing fancy, just a small white drawbridge that connected the university with the skyscrapers of downtown. Judging by all of the familiar faces I saw, it was a well-traveled path by students. I held my hair back as I walked. The wind was so fierce I thought I would be blown right into the path of the cars speeding by next to me.

When I approached the highest point of the bridge, I leaned my elbows on the white stone railing and looked out over the water. The river next to the school was a dazzling forest green and sparkled from the sunlight. On some days I would see dolphins jump and swish their tails at the students tanning in the park a few feet away. I took a deep breath and exhaled, lifting my feet onto the bottom rung of the stone railing. My head hung low as I stared into the green abyss below me. Fear started to build. Many times I had thought about suicide, but I had never gone that far. I leaned forward. The water looked shallow, and I cringed at the thought of landing on one of the pointy rocks protruding from the slow current.

In my list of plans for my final farewell, I only had two steps left to complete: stand on the top of the railing, and jump. Before making my next move, I gazed over the horizon and whispered what I thought would be my last words: “Goodbye world. I’m sure I won’t miss you.”

As soon as I picked up my right foot to climb to the railing’s edge, a powerful gust of wind hit me, almost making me lose my grip. For a moment, I thought I was going to fall backwards. I continued to try and lift my right foot, but the wind didn’t let up. It even started to howl. But what I heard didn’t sound like the ordinary whistle—it was almost like the wind was speaking to me, shrieking the word “no” over and over again. It gave me chills but I was stubborn, determined to hit the water. No matter how much I tried to lean forward or climb on top of that white stone, it was useless. The wind was just too strong to fight against. After about a minute or so of struggling, I put my feet back onto the walkway and let go of the railing, frustrated. Seconds later, the air stood still.

At that moment, I knew exactly what had just happened to me. God saw what I was trying to do and wouldn’t allow me to commit suicide. It was His way of telling me that I needed to stay here on earth and continue living. I looked up at the sky and whispered “thank you,” then walked back towards the campus. After that day, I never returned to the bridge. When I was so close to ending my life, God helped me to see what I didn’t realize on my own: life is precious. It shouldn’t be cut short.

~Jess Forte

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