Lions, Tigers & Bears

I was awoken at 2am by a Great Dane puppy jumping on my chest. It was time to go outside. Luckily for Rocky going back to sleep is never too difficult. For me on the other hand… For the next 2 hours I lay in the dark, wide awake thinking of lions and tigers and bears. In other words, I worried about everything that might possibly go wrong on our 24-hour walk for suicide prevention.

For the first time in the weeks of planning, my mind wandered to those hours between sunset and sunrise. For the first time, instead of worrying about blisters, dehydration or creepy people lurking behind trees ready to pounce, it occurred to me that there are wild animals in those woods. For the first time I thought about the possibility of an encounter with bears and the thought terrified me.

As I lay there thinking about these hypothetical bears I began to doubt the walk. Should we be doing this? Should we risk it? Had I had to make a decision right then, there is a good chance I would have erred on the side of caution. There is a good chance I would have called it quits.

But this morning, thinking back on my fears, still feeling the butterflies in my stomach, having researched what to do in the case of a bear encounter, I know we will still be walking. We will walk throughout the day, whether that is means walking through thunderstorms or the beating sun. And we will walk through the night whether it means being carried away by mosquitos or encountering a bear.

We will walk because suicide prevention is so very important to us. But we will also walk because the path that we have walked this past year has been so much scarier.

This past year Megan and I have both faced battles for our lives. We have fought depression. We have both pushed through moments that we thought we might not survive. We have fought our own demons.

On Thursday morning we start our 24-hour walk. We may face lions and tigers and bears. We may face blisters and mosquitos and spiders. Those are possibilities. But in the end, looking back at the miles covered. Looking back at the prayers said for those who are fighting this battle every day. Looking back at what we have accomplished, those worries will pale in comparison.

We are walking for ourselves but more importantly we are walking for those still in the abyss. We are walking for those fighting the battle and we are walking for those who have lost loved ones to the battle.

If you would like to join in the cause, please donate at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.