Tonight, social media is abuzz with the news of Robin Williams' death, which has been preliminarily reported as being a suicide. I've seen many posts on Facebook from my friends, many of whom are in shock and tears that he was not only gone, but gone by his own choice. The words depression and substance abuse are being tossed around, which to me, is so unnecessary and cruel, since we really don't know what his mind or his psyche was like at the time. All we know is that he's gone.
I too am sad. I didn't really watch "Mork & Mindy" that much, but began to enjoy Williams' frenetic and improvisational comedy with an album that came out in the mid-80's called "Reality, what a concept". It was vulgar, rude, rapid-paced, and highly intelligent. And that's what I liked about Williams' comedy: he referenced social topics, religious topics, historical fact, current events, celebrities - nothing was immune as fodder for his creative mind. And he could change topics quickly, and you could SEE how his mind worked and shifted gears. During his taping of a show in San Francisco, he took a small red hand towel and wiped down his face, and made a comment about it being a bull-fighting cape that someone had tossed into the dryer. All of a sudden he changed, sounding like an irate Spanish matador, yelling "what happened to the fucking cape! You put in the dryer! I told you not to put the fucking cape in the dryer. If I use it now the bull will just look at it and go 'no way, Jose.'" To see him shift from doing one thing to coming up with a hilarious bit was like watching someone take a jet aircraft moving at 200 mph in one direction, and, without making a wide turn, head back into the other direction. He was brilliant.
And I enjoyed him as a dramatic actor, in such films as "Fisher King", "Awakenings", and "Dead Poet's Society". I felt he was a much better dramatic actor than a comedian. His comedies, and even his standup, seemed to be forced sometimes.
But as I sit here writing this, I find myself thinking of suicide. I've known a few folk that have chosen to take their lives. I've known some very close friends who lost more than one loved one to that choice. And it is a choice. Granted, there are those who take their lives because their mind is so unbalanced, so messed up, that it isn't a choice as much as there are voices convincing them to do it. But there are those to whom there IS another way, and yet they feel that the only choice - the only ANSWER - is to end it.
And here's where I find it difficult to comprehend suicide. Now, what I am about to say may sound extremely naive, since I do not battle the type of depression or moodiness that many do. I do not have voices in my head that are trying to get me to do something to harm myself. So, really, I do not come to this as an authority. And yet, I believe there IS someone who is the ultimate authority. And when I think of how He walked among those whom today we would categorize as schizoid, or paranoid, or both, or bipolar, or sociopaths, or whatever form of mental illness that can push people to end their lives. He walked among them, loved them, and healed them. It sounds so simple, and yet I know it isn't. It isn't just as simple as saying the simple words "you know, take Jesus into your heart, and he will heal your mental illness." That truly IS naive. But if someone truly wishes to find a way out of their hole, their despair, their fears and loneliness, I truly believe that seeking help from someone who is qualified, but also does the help with the thoughtfulness and love of God, can help people get out of that hole they're in. Again, this may sound very naive, but I believe it.
Goodbye, Robin. We will miss you very, very much.