One Step From the Edge

Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology

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He came to see me where I work,

“Could I talk to you when your work is through?

No one else will listen to me,

But I knew I could count on you,”


Gary was a straight A student,

Not a clown like me,

He worked hard to get a scholarship,

That was plain to see,


The following day he would travel,

To his appointment to the naval academy,

He told me this was what he wanted,

But he mentioned it so casually,


After an hour of conversation,

He admitted this was his father’s choice,

Gary was stressed, under duress,

His objections he could not voice,


I wondered if this was his only way,

He could talk and slowly vent,

For the conversation was going nowhere,

Or I missed an important hint,


His reticence about the academy confused me,

As he pondered about right or wrong,

Little did I know Gary would hang himself,

Before the night grew long,



Richard’s dream was to be a policeman,

He mentioned it often when we drank,

No one else cared to listen,

Their eyes were empty and blank,


Richard’s girlfriend left him for another,

He took it personally that she needed more,

A policeman didn’t make enough money,

So she walked quickly out the door,


Richard got a job far away,

Apparently achieving his goal,

But when there was no one he could talk to,

One bullet left a big hole,


How could I have helped these confused friends,

They were so tightly wound,

I could not hear what they desperately wanted,

I could not release the fears they found,


I’ve decided that each person I meet,

Lives a life one step from the edge,

Each kind word, smile, or thought I give,

Will come with my pledge,


If one person feels he walks alone,

Without love’s encircling arm,

That person may have no way,

To keep himself from harm,


I am willing to be strong and wise,

And I pledge to do my best,

What he says can then be heard,

As he puts me to the test,


Although I’ll do what I can,

To help someone in need,

It takes a community to pull together,

When somebody bleeds,


For each of us lives in a community,

Connected by words, hearts, and smiles,

And the more we share the love within,

The more life becomes worthwhile.











6 thoughts on “One Step From the Edge

    • I’ve seen too many lives snuffed out when they should have been productive. Someday I might become better at all the people skills. Maybe I won’t have a ghost of a chance.

      May the sun be on your face and the wind at your back as the Lord blesses you throughout the day. Carpe diem!

    • Being sensitive to the needs of others has always been my goal but I’ve fallen short many times. I’m still learning. Thank you for your perceptive take.

      May the sun be on your face and the wind at your back as the Lord blesses you throughout the day. Carpe diem!

  1. This was perfectly clipped to hit the spot, Dan. The reminder to listen carefully comes to the foreground. Too many speak and we don’t hear and then it is too late. Thank you for the reminder to listen well.

    • This was a response to having two friends decide to give in to pressure.

      May the sun be on your face and the wind at your back as the Lord blesses you throughout the day. Carpe diem!

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