Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Walking is Just Beginning

No sooner had my walking on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day end than I was given my next quest by KFOG, 104.5/97.7 FM. There was a public service announcement for The Overnight.

A few weeks ago, I had been on the Sam Harris site, the End of Faith. Not only do I believe that Sam Harris is deluding himself that we are at the End of Faith, I believe he is deluding himself about the value of faith in everyday life.

For without faith in everyday life, we'd just commit suicide. According to the BBC and quoted on, apparently nine of the top ten countries with the highest suicide rates in the atheistic Communist and former Communist countries; the tenth is Finland. Yet another source said that there are strong rates of suicide among Christian and Muslim populations. It is tragic that those supposedly undertaking to heal others, such as medical professionals and psychiatrists, in particular suffer from depression that leads to suicide. At least according to the Straight Dope.

My own life was affected by suicide in my Junior year at Carnegie Mellon. In my illustration studio, the woman who sat next to me, Molly, committed suicide after the 1985 Beaux Arts Ball. She was a beautiful but tragically sad young woman. Talented. Wry and witty. Yet deeply pained. Her art work was always strongly rendered yet often bitter.

Two of us from her illustration class went to see her February funeral along with other friends of hers from school, and her family. Bruno drove me down. Molly's was a large Irish family. Like mine. I saw the stunned look on their faces. They grieved so strongly. I grieved with them as well.

I recall how beautiful Molly had been the night of the ball. She was dressed as a southern belle. She was better than good-looking. She was gorgeous. I wished I had told her so when I had the chance. For years I considered that if perhaps I had said more good things to her, she might not have taken the pills. I wondered what had driven her to such extremes. From what I hear, she wanted to live in the end, but she had taken too many aspirin. Her blood was too thin, and they did not have enough time to save her.

So for Molly, I will be walking from dusk to dawn. I will take a long day's journey into night. That's the plan for now at least. If her surviving family reads this, I pray you each and all well. As a fellow artist and student, I admired her talent. As a young man, I loved her with what small chaste friendship two cubicle-cohorts might develop over all-too-short a time. Know that your sister is not forgotten, and her memory, her fiery spirit, lives on forever. The precious gift of her presence in my life will always be there.

For the sake of the other Mollys of the world, those young men and women on the verge of hope and precipice of self-denial, I will walk the Overnight.

Out of the Darkness Overnight
Peter Corless, Walker
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
July 22-23, 2006
Please Sponsor Generously

I have already paid the $75 fee for entry. Now it's up to you to help me raise $1,000 for suicide prevention. That's not very much to save a life or ten.

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