Robin Williams is one of my all-time favorite comedians. In my opinion he was brilliant. He is one of the few comedians who could make me fall over on the couch laughing. He was gifted. Yet, like many gifted people he was also haunted by a long history of depression.
Robin Williams reminds me that so many people carry burdens that we know nothing about. So, we are called to tread gently and kindly with one another. All adults that I have known in my years of ministry carry some burden or another. It is hard to get to adult life without being scarred. And those who admit no scars scare me because they are desensitized. And thick skin will translate into approaching the world armored and defended, when what the world needs most is sensitivity, caring, and dare I say, vulnerability.
I saw on social media that Robin William’s daughter, Zelda, cancelled her Twitter account because of mean-spirited posts people were making about her father. It is amazing to me that in a time of such tragedy and loss that people would respond with anything but compassion. I think the only reason people respond with anything other than compassion, is fear. As a culture we fear, deny, and suppress death any way we can. So, when someone takes their own life it is terribly threatening. I think it also unveils the false optimism and humor in our culture that masks much despair that no one wants to deal with.
I think what the world is longing for most and gets so little of is spiritual maturity and depth that is not threatened by death and knows how to respond appropriately, with compassion.