Sunlight. Joy. Autumn leaves—or spring flowers if you're in the Southern Hemisphere. Children at play. Peace and quiet. The love of friends. All of these are evidences of beauty and progress.

Why, then, do thoughts of death sometimes entice people? Feelings of being too old, too tired, too confused. A desire to quit a marriage. Loneliness. Or the emptiness that comes when a job is phased out and the individual along with it. The feeling that maybe suicide could be a solution after all.

These mistaken thoughts would lock people into a mental state where hope is only a flickering candle, about to go out. But this is not where any of us belong as children of God. The writers in this week's focus section tell of the spiritual reality that keeps the sun shining, the flowers blooming, and each of us held firmly in the grip of God, of infinite, unending Life.

—The Editors

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Responding to thoughts of life
October 27, 1997

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