Saturday, August 16, 2014

This Little Light of Mine...

This past Monday, August 11 we saw the passing of a great man. Robin Williams took his own life and in the week since, there have been many voices memorializing him, paying him homage while others have defamed him, calling him a coward for the way he died. And at the risk of putting myself out there and making someone angry (because I never do that), I am going to add my voice to the mix.

Yesterday, I published a review blog post about the movie Maleficent that my wife and I went to see last week. In that post, I wrote about how each of us carry in us the potential to be our own hero and our own villain. We each have Light and Dark contending in each of us and, in my observation, rarely are those forces equal.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook to a similar effect, saying that depression is a disease, that someone who contends with depression is sick. Sometimes the depression is a terminal illness. And that means that just simply preaching the virtues of positive thinking is not enough for those who suffer. I completely agree.

To move from the clinical to the metaphorical (because I move more easily in the metaphor), I want to impress upon everyone once again that rarely are the forces of Light and Dark equal in any one person. To those whose Light is able to eradicate the Darkness, I am genuinely envious. Because when your Light is able to do anything but eradicate it, the daily struggle can begin to wear you down. Lord knows my Darkness is always there and I must keep vigilant in order to keep it at bay.

Which is why Robin Williams' death rattles my confidence so much. Robin's life and work was a treasure for me in mine. I enjoyed his voice in Aladdin growing up, Hook was one of my favorite movies to watch with my brother. When I got into college, I discovered What Dreams May Come, which had everything to do with suicide and what it can do and what we're able to do when confronted with it but the movie seemed to me to maintain hope. Robin Williams' joy and energy has been infectious in my life. His joy and energy has been something I am happy to incubate. Which is why his death scares me so much. What am I supposed to do if the Darkness can overwhelm someone like Robin Williams?

While I guess my confidence is rattled, I have to believe that maintaining Hope is what we do. I'm not talking about the power of positive thinking (while I do think that helps), but we can nurture right relationships and stick together, having compassion for one another and maintaining right relationships. Helping each other to get what we need to keep the Darkness at bay and in order to live in the Light. Because I believe the Light comes from God and in maintaining the right relationships, God breaks into our lives and we join in the building up of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Grant peace to your servant Robin, O Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him.