Grayson Murray, a golfer, who won two tournaments on the PGA tour (most recently at the Sony Open in Hawaii last January), had been open about his struggles with depression and alcohol addiction, admitting he had considered suicide at times. He said that it was OK not to be OK.

However, in an interview earlier this year, he said that he had been sober since early 2023. He added, “I have a beautiful fiancée. I have beautiful parents. I have beautiful nephews, siblings”. The thing he was most grateful for was his Christian faith and the difference it had made in his life. He said, “Jesus Christ is first and foremost. Without him, none of this would be possible. And he’s just given me a platform to write a new story. To write my own story. And I hope that everyone at home watching can get a little inspiration from me…If I just help one person, that’s all it takes”.

Just when Murray appeared to be on track with his life and his golf, then came the tragic news that he took his own life Saturday week. He was just thirty years old. His parents released a statement the next day. “It’s surreal that we not only have to admit it to ourselves, but that we also have to acknowledge it to the world. It’s a nightmare. We have so many questions that have no answers. But one. Was Grayson loved? The answer is yes. By us, his brother Cameron, his sister Erica, all of his extended, by his friends, by his fellow players…He was loved and he will be missed”.

My heart breaks for Murray’s family, fiancée, loved ones and friends. What do you say? What can you say?

In reflecting on Murray’s death, Ryan who frequently tells stories of golfers and the dedication and sacrifice required of them to make it to the top, remembered clearly the day he tried to take his own life…“the desperation, the feeling of failure, and hating yourself so much that you wanted to end it all”. 

He tried to jump out of a hotel window but it wouldn’t open. He was too drunk to figure out another way. That was his saving grace. He called his mum and the next day he woke up in a hospital room. It was the start of his recovery.

He wrote, “If could go back in time, I would …get help, real help. And I would be honest. See, I was going to a counsellor, but it was to check off a box for the people in my life. I lied in those meetings, too…For years, I had lied to others and myself that I was OK. I was anything but…If I could go back in time, I would sit in my counselor’s office and tell her I was dying inside. Tell her I hated myself and hated the things I did to cover up that feeling…I’d set aside the Jack Daniels and tell my best friend I wasn’t OK”.

He went on to say that Murray’s words, ‘that it’s ok not to be ok’ are great in theory but hard to practice. Even so, he had this to say, “So my advice, if you are struggling, is to stop lying to everyone who asks. Take a deep breath and tell them the truth. I know it’s hard. Tell them in a text, a voicemail or a phone call. Tell them you aren’t OK and tell them you need to talk. Tell them you need help”.

Murray’s tragic story is a harsh reminder to us as Christians that we are not immune to pain and suffering but Jesus is near to the brokenhearted. How? Through His body, his people as we create a safe space where we can be honest with each other about our struggles. “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:15). The principle here is honesty, not the content of one’s confession. Jesus once said, “The truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). I would like to suggest ‘truth’ includes unpleasant and confronting ones about ‘the real you’.  May God give us the courage and strength to walk in truth.