I was listening to Linkin Park all morning the day Chester took his life. Kind of freaky. I’m a skeptical guy when it comes to coincidences. But I’m a fan of Chester’s voice. He sang with emotion. You could believe what he was singing was true, you could hear something different in his voice. I had a friend in 7th grade that would meet me at my house in the morning before walking to school and he would play Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory to wake me up. My friend would always say “This is the next big band.” By high school they were. Subwoofers filled the space in my trunk of my Isuzu Trooper as my friends and I would blare the Meteora album all over Worthington.
There is nothing more frustrating in the world than suicide to me. It makes me feel mad, angry, hurt, and sad. It’s a bunch of emotions that send chills through my whole body. I discuss this with my wife every time someone really talented takes his or her life. She would probably tell you I’m not an emotional guy. But when it comes to death, it hits me like a pile of bricks in the chest. Being a musician, who works endless hours on writing, singing and producing; to watch God’s gifts in someone disappear in a blink of an eye hurts.
The truth is that death is real and it’s one thing no matter what religion or non-religion you believe in, we all have in common. We’re all going to face it one day. There is no escaping or out running it. But what I’ve learned at 31, is that death doesn't just exist when a person dies or you go to a funeral. It’s here among us now. Chester was experiencing death well before he ended the pain. Growing up he was abused, hated and had drug issues. He didn’t have it easy growing up. Chester Bennington Bio via Rolling Stones He was able to channel all those emotions into words and then to songs we would later love. I can’t imagine what he felt inside having to sing those songs every night on a tour. To re-live painful experiences, but still, find hope and freedom with his words.
I believe we sing about hard things as humans because there is freedom in it. Freedom finds forgiveness, and forgiveness finds rest and peace. The problem I have with suicide or others that die too early is that it’s selfishly sad. This life isn’t worth escaping, no matter how much pain you’ve gone through. No family, friend, or fan should have to go through this experience. It’s not right.
It’s about 90 degrees this morning, headphones on, I drown out New York City noisy subways as I arrived to 30 Rock Station. I was thinking about the hope I’ve found through forgiveness from God. Then a song by Colony House “Moving Forward” came on. The song really sums up my life. I’m a enthusiastic person even when things are hard “I found life and I found laughter, In forgiveness I found rest.” But there is one line that gets me everytime. “Sometimes these troubles prove that I’m alive.” Like I said, death and troubles are real. Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) I use to attend Hillsong Church NYC and I’ll never forget Carl Lentz sharing a story about hope and suicide. There was a man that was at his wit’s end with life. All his troubles were leading him to think about suicide. What’s the point of pain and suffering? He’d tried all kinds of therapies, drugs, churches, friends, relationships. In the end, he claimed they all failed him. What he didn’t understand is that death is real spiritual thing and it’s here among us. It will destroy and take everything you love from you. He was on his last straw at church one day and saw a child on stage holding a sign “There is hope in Jesus.” It clicked for him right there. The light build went on. Jesus had something to offer that no one else did. Why did it click for him you’re asking? Why is this man forever changed? It’s impossible to find hope in the conditional things in life I think. So far, Jesus is the only religion that conquers death. It’s the only answer we really have towards how we were designed beyond science. For me leaning into a God that understands death and pain is my only hope.
Please know, you matter and everyone hurts. You’re not the only one that questions pain.
Every breath we take is a miracle. - Jon Foreman.
Don’t take life for granted. Find hope. Find answers. Live your life to the fullest.
R.I.P Chester Bennington