Family Lessons 24: In Good Spirits

“No. He was in good spirits”.

So said Great Auntie Madge at the Inquest into my great uncle's death, held at Lancaster Town Hall, in March, 1929.

The Assistant Coroner had asked her whether Joseph Ormandy, her late husband, had ever threatened to take his life. Although he had suffered from mental illness, she recalled him going out for a Sunday afternoon stroll, and had even discussed going to Morecambe an afternoon that week.   

Unfortunately, Police Constable Staten said that about 4.30pm on the Monday, he received a telephone message to go to Ridge Farm. There he met the dead man's father, who handed him a revolver containing five ‘live’ bullets and a spent cartridge. About 200 yards from Ridge Lane, he found the body near an oak tree lying on the left arm face downwards, with the right arm extended. There was a bullet wound in the right temple, and it had made its exit six inches away. In a waistcoat pocket were two more live bullets. The verdict was to the effect that Ormandy shot himself whilst of ‘unsound mind’, using a weapon he had been given during the Great War.

Too many of us put on ‘brave smiles’, adopt ‘good spirits’, pretend all is well. Sometimes we do this for good reason: we do not want to share our woes with all and sundry. Yet share them we must, at least with someone. Poor Uncle Joseph was evidently depressed, which is a great deal worse than having a bad day or needing a shoulder to cry on. Today, we recognise it as a genuine medical condition for which help is required. Very few of us have access to a revolver, but there are several other ways that burdened souls seek permanent relief. I am no counsellor, psychiatrist or doctor, but I do know that the Lord Jesus says to all who are crumbling and crumpling under life’s weight:

“Come unto me”.

This is not an invitation to cast yourself into eternity ahead of your time, but to live with Him, and know Him, and Love Him now. By accepting His lordship, you also accept His strength and grace to see you through.  

Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay