So something slightly different this week. I usually write you about a recent major motion picture release that I’ve seen. This past week I did go and see Ant Man and the Wasp, but I’m going to save my thoughts on that one for another time. Instead I want to share with you an experience I had watching a documentary/BioPic on HBO today, Monday, my day off.
The film is called Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind. Let me start off by saying that I’ve been a huge fan of Robin Williams’ comedy for a very long time. I never really watched Mork and Mindy or Happy Days, but his stand up shows and live interviews were riotously funny, to the point that I often watched them over and over. From the time I was in grade school I wished that I had that kind of acerbic wit and the ability to think that quickly. So being a big fan, I had to watch this film and I’m glad I did.
The movie chronicles both his professional and private/family life and includes interviews with family and close friends, dozens of clips of TV outtakes, improv comedy, live standup comedy, movie clips, and even home movies and interviews. Some of it I had seen before, but much of it was new to me. I think that I had forgotten just how much material was out there about this man. Of particular interest throughout the film were the stories of Williams’ struggles with drugs and alcohol, and his sometimes awkward attempts to balance his Hollywood career with home, spouse, and family.
Of course we all know that Robin Williams took his own life in 2014 after a lifetime of struggling with mental illness and a recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. The world was understandably shocked that someone who seemed so happy, so joyful could succumb to depression and suicide. I feel like I understand his struggle more after watching this film. Which really leads me to where I’d like to reflect today.
Robin Williams stands as a stark reminder that none of us are immune to depression, mental health issues, and even suicidal ideation. Even the most outgoing, happy-go-lucky people you know may be hiding a dark inner secret. I’d love to sit here behind my keyboard and tell you I have all the answers for those folks. I’d like to package those answers up in a nice tidy bundle to deliver to whoever needs them. But the truth is, there are no easy answers and life is messy.
I believe, and I feel obligated to tell you that Jesus is the answer. I know that God loves you. I know that Jesus died on a cross for your worst sins. I know that believing in Jesus’ forgiveness of sin has given my life a great deal of peace. I know that I can get up every day knowing that I’m forgiven and that God is with me through the worst of my struggles. But none of that means that I will be immune from struggles. It doesn’t mean that I won’t feel tired, or experience pain or disease. It doesn’t mean that all my problems go away, but it does mean that I have hope and perseverance to make it through those problems. It means that I live with the assurance that God is at my side, in the best times and in the worst times.
Would that have made a difference for Robin Williams? Maybe, but we’ll never know. What I continue to know is that hope prevails. Hope is one of the greatest sustainers in this broken world. So take a little time out of your day each day to offer someone a smile, a warm greeting, a nod or word of encouragement. Be the hope that someone didn’t know they needed right at that moment.
And if you’re so inclined as to know a little more about Mr. Robin Williams I encourage you to check out this movie now showing on HBO. And bring a few tissues; you’re gonna need ‘em.