Looking Back

HOPE. That word can seem so far from someone’s sight when they feel hopeless and helpless, especially as a teenager. When you feel your world is crumbling, well-meaning adults minimize your feelings and say, “You’re just a kid. Those feelings will pass.” Looking back to my 15-year-old self, I couldn’t see the light, the hope. I only saw darkness and despair.

When I was 15 years old, I made the decision, after years of feeling lost to take my life. My life at the time seemed so complicated and I couldn’t handle the pain I was feeling. I felt alone. No one to talk to. In those days you didn’t talk about depression. That was a taboo. I put my happy face mask on and portrayed the happy girl. My life seemed like a Merry Go Round … and not in a fun way. I am sure most of us have been on one. The up and down, in a circle motion. I felt like the ride would not stop. I couldn’t get off … it kept going around, the pain. Every day I woke up telling myself, “OK, Lara! One more day. If it doesn’t get better that’s it!” Then I started telling God. “OK, God. If it doesn’t get better tomorrow, that’s it! I’m DONE!”

It got to the point, one cold day in February, that I’d had enough. I was sitting in health class. Our teacher gave us an assignment. Write your own obituary. I can’t remember what I wrote. I know it was short and to the point. I guess I thought that it was my goodbye letter. I felt such a sense of relief to know that I had finally decided.

A Peace from God

I won’t go into details. I remember being at the hospital. I remember having this conversation with God. I cried. A lot. I remember this one moment where I just fell to my knees. I cried out to God, “HELP ME! I’ll do whatever! I’ll do whatever you want if you just help me!” I felt these arms just wrap around me. I asked God to forgive me. It was that day that I ask Jesus into my heart. Probably not the most appropriate way. I’m sure God didn’t care how I asked. All I knew was that I felt a peace, I wasn’t sure what the future held, but I knew God had me.

A Second Chance

After returning to school the following week I was walking down the hall. My friend stopped me and asked if I had heard about Sara. She was a classmate who had been fighting Leukemia. They let me know that she had lost her fight. All I could think about was that a few days ago I was fighting to die, and she was fighting to live. It was at that moment I knew I was given a second chance. I felt so guilty and ashamed. I knew I had to not waste this time. I wasn’t sure what my journey would look like but knew I had to figure it out.

I will be that person to walk alongside, lean on, and in some cases, I will carry. Until my last breath I will use this life to shine the light of HOPE.

Lara Perry

Helping Others

Fast forward to the present. My journey has been a rollercoaster. I’ve had a lot of therapy that provided me tools to navigate life. I ended up going into the mental health field for a little while to help others. I hope that I’ve provided a lighted path for people. I gave my clients my heart and soul. As I write, I think of the word HOPE and the focus I want to strive for as I continue this opportunity God has given me…(H) Helping, (O) Others, (P) Plan, (E) Existence. We are here for a reason, to walk beside our brothers and sisters. I want to share the HOPE, that there is HOPE in the darkness. One of the things I remember that day in the hospital is the “Footprints” poem. God carried me that day and the days that followed. I will be that person to walk alongside, lean on, and in some cases, I will carry. Until my last breath I will use this life to shine the light of HOPE.

Lara Perry

Philippians 3:14 NIV
“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us.”

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