Robin Williams is arguably the greatest comedian of all time. Whether in front of a live audience or a camera, the man was brilliant. He was so good Ozzy Osborne hired him to cheer up Sharon when she was struggling with cancer, which is an audience most comedians would avoid at all costs (a fact from Ozzy’s biography). Robin is a hero and inspiration to millions of people and his death is one of those events where the general reaction is disbelief: “No, that can’t be true,” especially in light of how it happened. In times such as these the most important thing is to allow ourselves a chance to grieve and/or to be sensitive to those who are (it’s amazing how a movie star can feel like a friend) whether it’s putting flowers at his star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, reminiscing about his best performances or re-watching his movies… unless someone wants to watch ones like Popeye or Death to Smoochy; there is a limit. You’re best sticking to movies like Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire and Patch Adams (3 of my favourites), or one of his other great roles. The second most important thing we need to do, which can also help the grieving process, is to look for what lesson can be learned from this tragedy. My life motto of ‘look for the good’ is often best done by looking for what lessons can be learned. Every tragedy, as horrible as it is, is a key moment for learning valuable lessons for preventing similar tragedies in the future. For instance, here are five important lessons we can take from this:
- Seek help. If you are struggling with dark thoughts, depression, anxiety or the like, it is extremely important you find proper help. There are many great therapists out there. Being in this field I’ve met some incredible people; take advantage of their (or my) services. There is no weakness or shame in needing help; in fact, it takes great courage to seek it.
- Money and fame aren’t the answer. Many people dream and live life in a pursuit of one or both of these, but they are ultimately empty. Neither make you a better person nor mean you will enjoy life more. In fact, many would argue if either of these is your purpose you’re in trouble because they are so fleeting and void of any value to your soul.
- A smile can be a cover. Sometimes the funniest or seemingly happiest person is the most broken one in the room. A smile can be a cover or an experience in the moment. The real question is are you smiling when you’re alone and left to your thoughts.
- We all have addictions. This can also be considered ‘we all have personal demons,’ but I like to say “addictions” because it keeps the responsibility on us. We often think of addictions as the typical ones like drinking and drugs, but we all have harmful things in our lives we’re drawn to and to which we have a very hard time saying no. Some people are more naturally drawn to depression and/or suicidal thoughts. The problem with these temptations is the sufferer often battles these dark desires on their own without obvious warning signs.
- Cherish those around you. Life is not permanent; the people in our lives won’t be there forever. Love them as best you can while you can. Not only will this help you enjoy life more, but it could be the one thing that saves a life.
Robin Williams’ death isn’t the fault of any one person. It is a culmination of many factors. We can’t simply blame someone or something, but we can learn from it and use it as a way to help ourselves and/or those around us.
This week may you take a moment to show someone the love he or she needs to keep going.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, Learning to love dumb people