I did not know Robin Williams. Yet what I knew of Robin Williams was instrumental in my growing up. Aladdin, Awakenings, Dead Poets Society, Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jack, Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting – the list goes on and on. With every title springs colorful memories of the most gifted actor and the times he both spoke through his acting and salved with his ready wit and humor.
Whether in drama or comedy, Robin Williams had a magic touch. I even enjoyed watching his less successful films simply because he was in them. He was a man so alive and so in touch with human emotion that he could paint years of experience with one twitch of his face. His every appearance on a late night talk show was must-see because it was as if they promised to let a wild baboon off a leash. You never knew what would happen, but whatever it was, it would be Robin Williams.
I loved living in a world with people like Robin Williams. I don’t like being in a world where people like Robin Williams die. I hate being in a world where people like Robin Williams take their own life. When I received word Monday that Robin had died, I both didn’t want to believe it and found that I had somewhat expected it all at once. His struggles with drugs and depression had been well chronicled and even in his silliest moments you could sense there was more going on in the man than the jovial veneer exposed.
Depression is a slow killer and ultimately it makes others do its dirty work. It is a hidden disease whose greatest strength is in convincing the afflicted that at all costs, it must remain undisclosed. It troubles me that Robin Williams felt so hopeless. It is a cause for us all to remember that success, fame, adoration, money, and so many of our most idealistic pursuits are simply trivial and prove to be made of straw when exposed by the fire. I hate that Robin Williams knew no hope bigger than the weight of his own disease.
Robin Williams will be missed. Some day I will show my son Hook and while he soars with Williams’ pudgy Peter Pan, my recollection will be bittersweet. Someday my kids will watch Aladdin, and I will wish they could have experienced so much more of the talents and ticklish demeanor of such a brilliant actor.
Above and beyond missing Robin as an actor, this gives us all a moment to pause.
We never know.
Even the most outwardly happy and beloved of us can be screaming on the inside. There but by the grace of God go any of us. If you believe someone may be struggling with depression, ask and get them help. If you are battling depression, it is a lying thief. Get help. Get help. Get help.
Above all, this is a reminder for me as a Christian that the Gospel is all the more urgent. Jesus Christ is bigger than depression. His victory is stronger than the war raging inside diseased minds. In Christ alone our hope is found.
Robin Williams was a gift. He will be missed. Lord come soon.
*Photo credit: Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock.com