Former high-school football player Luke Keller did not experience a normal high-school career, on or off the field. Keller was diagnosed with separation-anxiety disorder. He was also suicidal.
By Chris Slone
Dawn remembered Luke coming into her room and crying. However, she thought he was suffering from normal teenage problems and ultimately thought Luke would be fine.
“I worked for a judge and we were both involved in school stuff and it was embarrassing,” Dawn said. “I didn’t want anyone to know. So, I tried to fix it myself and it spiraled quickly. He’s 6-foot, 3 and would come in at night time and lay in bed with me and just cry. His body was shaking and he was fighting depression so bad, I thought, ‘God, I’ve got to do something.’”
Luke began counseling but the therapeutic treatments never eased his condition.
“At the end of my junior year, I remember walking down the hallway, looking outside and thinking ‘what am I even living for,’” Luke said. “I was thinking I was going to go home and take my life.”
One day, with suicidal thoughts still running rampant in his mind, Luke went home from school and found a list of chores his mother had left for him.
One of the chores was mowing the grass. In an attempt to clear his mind, Luke complied with his mother’s request. However, while he was mowing the lawn, Luke continued to contemplate taking his own life.
Before he finished the chore, Luke decided to take a different route — as it turns out, a life-¬‐altering route.
“I said ‘God if you are real. If you are what people say you are, then tell me something because today I’m going to end my life. I need you now if you’re real,’” Luke said.
After a moment, Luke heard a voice and it said “I want you to follow me.”
“I was in the middle of mowing my grass and was so completely overwhelmed because I truly didn’t believe in God before,” Luke said.
Just to make sure he was clear on the instructions, Keller again turned to God and asked him to repeat the sentiments.
“I felt like he said I want you to follow me,” Keller said. “So again, I said God I feel like I heard you but would you please say it one more time just to know I’m not crazy. And I felt like he said it again. I felt like he said I want you to follow me.”
Shortly after that moment, Dawn receives a call from Luke who is weeping on the other end of the phone. She left worked and headed home. Once Dawn arrived at the residence, Luke met her in the doorway, hugged her and started crying again.
“He said, ‘I’ve been saved mom. God has changed my life mom,’” Dawn said. “From that moment on, my son is a different human being. He went from a very hateful, sarcastic, depression spirit to kind, loving person.”
After playing every football game during his junior season with suicidal thoughts and battling depression, Luke finally found the cure.
“The feeling was so real and overwhelming that I just dropped down on my knees in the middle of mowing my grass and starting balling my eyes out,” Luke said. “I went through a year of counseling and it never helped. But from that day on, I’ve never had one more suicidal thought, one bit of separation anxiety at all.”
Luke had already decided not to play football his senior year but felt like God wanted him to play, so he rejoined his teammates for one last season. His senior campaign turned out to be a memorable one, filled with many awards and accolades, but the biggest impact was felt on the field.
After every touchdown his senior year, he would get down on his knee and point up to the sky in a moment of thanks.
“God this is what you gave me,” Luke said. “I’m living my life for you. Everything I do, I’m going to do for you.”