Lifting Hands

 “I lift up my hands . . .”



“I lift up my hands to you in prayer;
    like dry ground my soul is thirsty for you.” (Psalm 143:6)

Last Saturday I spent the morning at a gathering of those who had lost loved ones to suicide along with others who were joined together to try and prevent the further loss of life to suicide.  I’m invited to some of the walks to set up a display booth about our teen depression ministry.  Sometimes I speak to the gathered audience and other times I simply stand by our table, answer questions, and listen.  The brilliantly colored balloons were part of a later ceremony, where the thoughts, prayers, and messages of hope were written on the balloons before they were released.



As I observed the families and friends of many who had been taken by suicide I saw deep expressions of grief and loss.  Many had the names of loved ones and the dates of their passing on their t-shirts.  There seemed to be several who were still in the first year since the death of their loved ones.  Regardless of how long ago the loved one was lost the pain has a way of reigniting the rawness from time to time.  However, the overall mood of the morning seemed hope-filled.  Those present were survivors of some of the most difficult loss any of us could ever experience, but they seemed lifted up by their shared experiences and their shared purpose – to do everything in their power to help prevent more loss from suicide.  I suspect that through their loss some had discovered the secret of the psalmist, that when we feel wrung out and dried out by gut-wrenching pain, we lift our hands and lives to God – and God hears.  We are not alone.  The messages inscribed on balloons reminded me of hands being lifted in prayer.

When the balloons were released and quickly drifted upward with their sacred messages I realized that somehow all of this speaks to some of the reality of hope.  My hope, our hope, is often built upon or emerges from the pain and suffering of others.  The advances and miracles of medical and other forms of healing often arise from knowledge gained through the suffering of many.  My hope is somehow tied to the suffering of others and the hope of others is somehow tied to my suffering.  It feels like that gives me a deeper appreciation for hope and yet another way to consider suffering.  Somehow it keeps hope more real, more sacred, more cherished.  I’m not sure I can put it all into words.  I only know that somehow as those balloons went up, I had a deeper, more sacred appreciation and sense of hope. 


I pray that God will help me cherish hope and offer hope.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on August 27, 2013.

One Response to “Lifting Hands”

  1. What a great day. I’m a survivor of my attempt of Suicide, I now work to help those have a suicide safer community through training.

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