For an engineer or any other technically minded individual, finding understanding and closure to all equations and technical problems are pretty much stock and trade- at least on a mental level.  Sooner or later – the scales balance – all the pieces go into place and all the variables resolve themselves – into some form of equilibrium.   Putting it all together is known in the engineers parlance as “connecting the dots”.

Where this term came from is unknown, but the common belief is that it originated from a type of child’s puzzle that came in the form of a series of numbered dots on a piece of paper - dots that when connected by a pencil or crayon – would reveal a picture of something of interest to the youngster who ‘connected the dots’. It is a simple form of developing perseverance and mystery (problem) solving skills in the young mind.

Later on in life, this skill can develop into problem solving skills that can tackle everything from balancing a checkbook to unlocking the secrets of DNA. Over the last 50 years, I’ve connected a lot of dots in my life, both professionally and personally – and in many places around the globe.

But then there are other dots- the ones that will not connect.  They seem to be on the same piece of paper, but the numbers will not match or your crayon simply will not connect them- and whatever tools that you have either physically or mentally will not bring them together in any intelligent or even rational form. And any understandable picture that you want or need to make out of them simply will not come together.   And this is what happens when a young person dies by suicide.

There is no pencil, paper or formula on this side of glory that will ever make it rational or understandable. Yet there it is – right in front of you- the puzzle that you will never solve.  Other kinds of death that happen to our youth- by accident, illness or murder- as painful as they are (and they can be excruciating) to those left behind– the tragedy can somehow be resolved -at least in some coarse or skeletal manner in their minds.

But suicide is a willful - and permanent- devaluation of one’s own life.    The tragedy magnifies beyond rationalization. When an adolescent chooses it, tragedy moves beyond solace. In essence, suicide is not simply the wholesale wasting of time in advance, it is the wasting of every present and potential future relationship and contribution in the dead person’s life.  It is a loss that cannot be measured by Man, but to those who are touched by it- -it hurts like hell.

You can spin yourself completely out of control from just looking at the broken pieces.  “What if……”, “If only I….”, and “Why didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t…?”

Don’t even try to connect the dots here. Just let God put them together.  He will.