Rev. Sally Jenkins was a wise and wonderful Unitarian minister, but she did not always feel so wise or wonderful. When asked how she came to find her calling, Sally would tell the story of her successful suicide years earlier.
Years ago, Texas Buddha came upon Sally standing on a bridge about to commit suicide. Not wanting to force her hand, he sat a safe distance away and asked, “Friend what has brought you to this decision?”
“Don’t call me friend. I have no friends. All my life I have wanted to be loved but my latest divorce has proven to me that I will never be loved or happy. I might as well end my joke of a life here and now.”
Sensing the she was about to jump, Texas Buddha answered, “You would know better than I whether your life is worth living so I will not try to talk you out of that decision, but since your life means so little to you, may I have it?
The startled woman stepped back a step from the ledge and asked, “What do you mean?”
“If you have no more wish to live out the unhappy life you began, would you be willing to give the rest of your life as a gift to others? You will still be ending your life, and you will be just as dead at the end whether you jump into life as out of it. Since you are not going to use your life, will you give it as a gift of compassion for all other beings?
“I can’t save myself, how can I save others?” Sally shouted angrily.
“The desire to be loved is bottomless bucket. The desire to love is an inexhaustible fountain. Whereas most people desire to be loved, the saint becomes love itself. Whereas most seek to taste the honey, the saint becomes the honey. I am asking you to become the love for others that you could not find for yourself. If you are not happy afterwards, this bridge will still be here.”
Sally Jenkins left the ledge and eventually became a great saint. When asked how she became a lover of all beings, she would tell of the night she committed suicide by leaping into life, instead of out.