God is infinite, and each of us encounters different faces of God, and God needs us – each of us – to make our experience of God visible in the world. Without you, the truth of God that only you can know will be lost.
God speaks to us through the language of necessity – what we need to do to live. Think of your body – it tells you when you need to eat, to breathe, to lie down and rise up. Your soul also tells you what you need to do to live; it’s telling you now. Neither soul nor body will ever tell you that what you need to do to live is to kill yourself, but the souls of people like you and me DO tell us that we need to die, to go through the death of our false or partial selves, the selves we createdas confused and agonized childrenout of love for others and God. When those selves become intolerable to live in, as yours has long been, your soul tells you that self needs to die, so that you, the real you, the you God created you to become, can live. The one advantage of being suicidal is that if you can kill yourself, you have the strength and courage to go through the death of the inadequate version of yourself and stand at your full stature before your Creator.
God doesn’t make mistakes. Somehow the agony of having a soul at odds with your body and the life that’s grown around your body is necessary to form you into the person God needs you to be. But WE make mistakes. We mistake the agony that is an inevitable part of the birth process, the process of becoming ourselves, for the selves God wants us to be. The very pain that shows us what we must do – the pain that speaks the language of necessity, that says we must change, become our true selves, to live – seems to us to proclaim the opposite – that God wants us to remain in agony. When I have said that to myself, it has not only been a mistake – people in agony often make mistakes – but perversion, a chillul Hashem, a desecration of God’s name, a refusal to hear God’s voice, to see God’s love, to become the person God wants me to become, an insistence that God in fact doesn’t love me, that God is a sadist, a torturer, a God who instead of bringing the dead to life turns life into a form of death. I now realize that I have clung to this perversion of God out of anger – I have been so angry at God for my suffering that I refuse to see God’s love, that I make an idol out of my suffering and sacrifice my life to its twisted face. For me, transition is teshuvah – and without that teshuvah, without smashing the idol of my suffering and facing the God who wants me to live, all my prayers and actions are worthless.
This to me is what it means when Moses says “Therefore choose life.” Therefore smash the idols of agony, death, futility, fear, the stunted and twisted versions of the self, that turn life into death, that make death seem infinitely preferable to life. Therefore risk becoming what God made you to become; therefore risk feeling the love with which God has always surrounded and sustained you; therefore rip up the suicide plans, however comforting, and choose life, however terrifying; therefore know that when you choose life, no matter how hard the road, God IS road, and the destination, and every companion whispering words of hope along the way.