Robin Williams, a great comedian and actor, is no longer with us. Just this week, I finished watching his Oscar winning performance in “Good Will Hunting.” In the movie, he plays a therapist who helps an amazing young man, played by Matt Damon, overcome his demons.
Sad to say, Robin did not overcome his demons (a very serious depression). Most Hollywood movies have happy endings. Too many Hollywood people and musicians don’t end up happy, but very troubled and too often dead.
I have struggled with depression. “Been there and suffered that!” There are different types of depression, whether you are a Christian or not. Unfortunately, for many men, if they have faith, and depression, they will somehow feel like a failure. That is one of the symptoms of depression, where your life reflects success (as Robin’s did), but your private thoughts tell you that you are worthless, things won’t get better and the world would be better off without you.
The world is less without Mr. Williams, and it was a very sad and selfish event. Yes, selfish.
I have had two friends commit suicide. That was before I was a Christian, but one of them was a Christian woman I met in graduate school. I liked her in a totally friendship way, but her struggles with depression had been long and unfortunately deadly.
When I was teen, I wanted to check out (kill myself). I had become a parent at the age of 17, my parent’s marriage was on the rocks and I had several friends who had died in car accidents. I decided to talk to someone, rather than listen to the painful voices in my head.
I got one counseling session from a counselor friend of my mom’s and it was the mental tune-up I needed. It was not my last bout with depression, but each time, I have sought help. I am a successful, award-winning professional, but negativity often returns to my noggin.
Too often pastors will preach against mental health care—communicating that all we need is Jesus. We do need Jesus but a pregnant woman needs an OBGYN, a kid with a broken leg needs an orthopedic doc, and yes depressed people need counseling—sometimes medication.
The church, like the rest of society, is guilty of shaming people who get medication/therapy for mental health needs. I have never heard a pastor preach against insulin, cholesterol medication or physical therapy. Pastors are people and they have blind spots like the rest of us. If you put your pastor on a pedestal, you are devaluing yourself.
So what was Robin hunting for? He, I suspect, was looking for peace. He looked into drugs and alcohol and those didn’t work. I don’t know his life story, but I heard he went to rehab a time or two. Often, rehab leads us to the Redeemer, but sometimes it doesn’t.
I don’t know if Williams was a believer or not. If so, he is filling heaven’s halls with laughter. God has a great sense of humor. Just look at the duckbilled platypus! Although Williams was a star, we are all at the same level at the foot of the cross. If you profess Christ, you will be saved. Your good works or popularity isn’t worth jack as it relates to salvation. We are saved by faith and grace, not by our good.
Robin Williams was a good guy and a great humorist, but maybe not such a good hunter. Looking in the wrong place for peace will just result in pain. His pursuit of peace has caused us pain, and I can’t help but question his quest. R.I.P. Robin!