The date of July 20th has a much different feel to it than it did in years past. For those that don’t know or are unaware, today is the day Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park, died. What made it so hard to comprehend was that the cause of death was suicide, something that he fought against his whole life, something we only received snapshots from his songs, from Linkin Park and his side project, Dead By Sunrise. I still remember waking up at 2 in the afternoon after a long, early morning shift and hearing the news from friends and family, who were devastated by the news. Not since Heath Ledger’s passing had a celebrity death hit me so hard. So, on this the 3rd anniversary of his passing, we try to celebrate how he lived his life and how he did his absolute best to live a peaceful life, both with his family and friends, and his mental health. These days, it seems so much harder to live that peaceful life, especially finding peace with our mental health, which today is even more poignant.
2020 has been a rough year, as politely as I can put it. If the coronavirus isn’t making you feel on edge, then it’s the entire societal upheaval going on that might just do it. It seems like hatred is the only feeling we can promote; the racism getting out of control, killing people because of their skin, killing people because of they’re trying to do the right thing, trying to silence, belittle, and threaten others because they believe in something different, destroying businesses and homes because it’s the right message to send. It becomes hard to care when all levels of society want to enclose you in a neat, tight box. But it’s really not the case. People still want to be loved by people. There’s only so much racism and hatred and control can do when we all universally want hope, how little or faint it may be. It’s what kept Chester going for so long. It may have been suicide, but what he put up with was astounding. Take time to read his story growing up. Listen to his songs about overcoming alcohol and drugs. It’s amazing what strength he showed. I remember reading an article about how, in 2010, he began to wear his crucifix during tours and wherever he went. He believed in God, to give him strength, and that’s what the world could use more of.
So many people nowadays post Jesus as the main reason we should be accepting a certain political ideology, making him more of a political figure than any politician could dream of. Yet Jesus wasn’t a political figure. He wasn’t fighting for a leftist ideology or an alt right ideology. He was fighting for the ideology of hope. He came to this earth to free us of sin, meaning no matter how much of a racist you are, no matter how hateful you are, no matter if you don’t believe in Him at first, He will forgive you of your sin. There is hope, there is redemption for all of us. Jesus died a gruesome and terrifying death, yet He rose 3 days later to show us that death and evil are not victors and that the things of this world are as temporary as death, for everlasting life and peace awaits!
So as I reflect on today, it’s true, I am sad, I am depressed and I am angry at the world. I wish the bad would all end. Yet I think on Chester, how his music brought so many emotions, yet underlining all those emotions was hope. And I think on Jesus’s sacrifice and His resurrection, and I hold on to hope.
Author’s Note: If you or a loved one is feeling any way shape or form depressed, don’t be afraid to talk, know you are loved. There is hope out in the world, even now. Therapists are available for online meetings as well, making it easier to set up a session and just feel better mentally. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a pastor, a friend, or a family member you really trust. We are all struggling and we all need help. And know if you are having a bad day, believe me, you can and you will overcome it. The next day is new, fresh, and full of possibilities.