Friends are remembering a young pastor and mental health advocate who just died by suicide. Jarrid Wilson was a husband and father of two boys. Many know him from his years pastoring in Middle Tennessee before he moved to California.
"Many times, our greatest message to other people comes from our greatest struggle within ourselves, and that's really true with Jarrid," said Home Church pastor Jason McAnally. "He really struggled with depression, and he was really open with me from the very beginning about it."
An old picture shows Wilson and McAnally sitting together on a banister inside Home Church. It was taken just before the two moved Home Church to a 95-year-old building on Gallatin Pike.
"Jarrid and I were sitting right here," McAnally said, pointing to a spot just a few feet from his seat.
For McAnally, that picture and the memory with it means more today than ever before.
"When you talked to him, you felt important," McAnally said. "He had a big heart for people."
Shortly after the picture was taken, Wilson left Home Church and went on to other pastoral work and stages. Among his stops was LifePoint in Smyrna.
McAnally said his friend saved lives with his words because he understood everyone faces struggles, and he was so frank about his own.
"He was very open about his depression and anxiety, and he had struggled with suicidal thoughts for years," said McAnally. "He was a powerful voice."
In 2016, Wilson and his wife founded an organization called Anthem of Hope which worked toward suicide prevention. It sought to help people facing mental health issues.
McAnally found out Monday that Wilson died by suicide. Through his books and through the videos of his sermons, McAnally believes Wilson can always reach and help people.
"He struggled with dark thoughts and feelings, but he was able to bring such light to people," he said. "I hope we can remember the bright parts as well. He had deep struggle, but that was not the whole of his life."