Standing on the edge of a cliff, contemplating suicide.

The Cliff’s Edge

The toes of my battered shoes hang over the edge of the cliff.

Below, I see not what lies there in reality, only what I want to see. Peace. Solitude. No more pain. A life free of heartbreak and disappointments. A tranquil place, conjured up from the depths of my sorrowed mind. A place where only I know exists. A place where I can go on the wings of the night to escape my despair. Forever.

I don’t know how, or why, I survived last summer. I really didn’t want to, I really didn’t care. The Lord deemed it appropriate to take from me my pony and three dogs, in only a few months, without ever giving me a chance to discuss it with him. I didn’t get to negotiate; I didn’t get to beg for more time.

I have cried nearly every day for over a year. Instead of focusing on the love they gave me, and the good times we had, I could only focus on that last day. A video of their final moments played in repeated loops, over and over in my mind, until I found myself in the deepest pit of misery known to mankind. I reached the point where honestly, I didn’t care if I woke or not the next morning, if my dogs and pony were not there to greet me.

But then I thought, as I teetered on the edge of that cliff, wondering if I’d fall on the Heaven side, or on the Hell side, I am not the only one. I am not the only person who feels this sort of pain. I am but one of many.

Every human being that walks this great earth will know sorrow, they will meet misery. Sooner or later, despair will come knocking. It’s an unfortunate path we all must walk. The fact that we can love someone or something so much, is essentially the downside of being human. Love is our gift from God, and our cross to bear.

Who am I to contemplate leaping from a cliff to escape my private turmoil? What would my actions do to my family, my friends? Who would be the one to call my mom and dad and say “We’re sorry, your daughter just leapt from that cliff over yonder.”

Out of fear of what might lay at the bottom of that chasm, I was forced to turn my despair into hope. A gust of wind suddenly blew me back from the cliff‘s edge. It breathed into me a new purpose. Instead of taking that final leap, I wrote.

Day and night, nearly twenty four hours a day, I penned story after story. I knew the moment I stood up and my gaze fell on the empty dog beds, reality would come crashing down on me, and new tears would flow. I dared not stop.

I suddenly had a mission. Instead of focusing on my despair, I would instead focus on others in my position. If one person can step back from the cliff like I did, then my mission would be fulfilled.

The Lord took my pets for a reason last summer. I’m still not happy about it, I will never be. But it was his way of telling me he had another purpose for me to fulfill, something other than spending my days alone and secluded with my family of animals. It was his way of bringing me out of my shell from the world, which I had unknowingly built around myself.

It was He who guided my hand, urging me to reach out to others teetering on that cliff, and somehow, someway, send them a message that they too can back away from it. It was a trade-off. My pets in exchange for giving someone like you a reason to carry on.

Be patient, great things will once again loom in your horizon. If you find yourself gazing down into that deep abyss as I did, contemplating your purpose of life-wait for that gust of wind to once again breathe hope back into your wounded spirit.

I promise you, it will come.

~ Shelley Madden ~
<shellmadde at>
Copyright © 2011

Shelley Madden is an author who resides in Wise County, Texas with her son, Dustin, along with her ponies, poultry, dogs and cats. She enjoys writing, fishing, shooting her pink guns, and falling off her horse, Diamond. She writes a weekly column for an Entertainment magazine, and is a frequent contributor to Heartwarmers and Petwarmers. Her short stories have also been published in newsprint and on numerous websites and e-zines across the nation. She aspires one day to learn how to change the light bulb in her gun cabinet.

[ by: Shelley Madden, Copyright © 2011, ( shellmadde at ) -- submitted by: Shelley Madden ]

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