Living without hope

The statistics are stark and unrelieved. New Zealand leads the developed world in teenage suicides, with males outnumbering females three to one.

Plus, another grim insight: statistics show that between a third and a half of young people will inflict self-harm at sometime in their teenage years. Among the many reasons put forward are a decline in family and community support, immense pressure to be acceptable and accepted, and the loss of friends and a goal in life. To sum up, the flickering flame of hope in life has been snuffed out by the winds of today’s culture.

The power of people who love and accept

It seems that many who take their own lives have no grasp of the sadness and gaping hole they will leave in the hearts of their family and friends. The thread of connection tying them to their companions has become thin beyond measure, like the tightrope spanning an abyss of darkness. The sense of belonging, of being treasured and valued, has been stretched too tight. A final tug will snap it clean.

Many talk about the strength and extent of online and screen connections. But when failure or a sense of rejection take hold it’s the deeply engrained memories of better times and gestures of love that mean everything. Underlying these is a profound conviction that whatever blows life delivers us, there will always be love.

That is the strongest value of a deeply rooted Christian faith – an unquenchable sense of hope and belief that no matter what we’ve done, our friends and our family see something in us that they will never relent or give up on. God never lets go – nor will they.


Father Neil Vaney

Next steps

This writing is based on the content of ‘What Catholics Believe’, Booklet 9, ‘Life of a Christian’ referencing page 9. Should you like to read more just click either of the links below to download ‘Booklet 9’ or the complete set of ‘What Catholics Believe’.