Bob Welch, Despair, and the Will to Live

8 06 2012

I grew up in the 1970’s.  I’ve been a musician since 1976 and music has always been a big presence in my life.  I remember certain spots on the road in lower Michigan when I hear certain songs.  I suppose music takes you back as well.  Such is its power.

I remember hearing Bob Welch’s big hit, “Ebony Eyes,” in the summer of 1978.  As a guitarist, I dug the signature opening guitar riff of the song.  I was not a big Bob Welch fan in those days—Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix were my heroes.  But I remember Bob and that hit.  Others followed, including “Sentimental Lady.”

I was saddened and stunned to click on CNN.com last night and learn that Bob Welch had taken his own life.  It hit me harder than I would have expected.  He was not one of my heroes.  Others have ended their journey the same way.  Kurt Cobain. Brad Delp.  Wendy O. Williams.  Some did it unintentionally with self-destructive habits.  Jimi.  Janis.  Bonzo.  Brian.  Jerry.

Apparently Bob was in poor health and did not want to be a burden on his family.  We don’t really know all the reasons for his decision to part company with God’s great gift of life.  He lived a rock and roll lifestyle.  He knew its exhilarating highs and its abysmal lows.   Now there is only pain and devastation in his wake.  I’m sure those who loved him would much rather have him around, even if in poor health.

We all face sadness, despair, the loss of self and identity at different places in our lives.  At times, life seems an endless stream of stresses, disappointments, broken promises and shattered purposes.  Many of us have faced the temptation to cash it all in.  It’s not pretty.

My youngest daughter, Emily, celebrates a personal “Day of Life” every November.  On a rainy November night a few years ago, she stood on that precipice and almost took her life.  It was a very scary time for all of us.

Thankfully, God spared her and gave her the perspective that ending it was not a solution.  That “people would be better off if I wasn’t around” was a lie, spoken by a Liar.

It is in the difficulties of life that we grow.  Don’t surrender to the despair, to the darkness.  You are infinitely valuable.  Your presence means something to more people than you know.  You need them.

And they need you.

So choose life.  Every day.

It’s a gift….

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