Robin Williams, America’s funny man, suffered in a way many of us would never have guessed. The shock of as emerging details of his death posted on Facebook, Twitter, and other media outlets warred with the images we had of the man bringing laughter into the lives of so many.
Robin Williams took tragic situations such as divorce in Mrs. Doubtfire, childhood illness in Patch Adams, and even war in Good Morning Vietnam and helped us see the Good that can be found even in the worst situations when one man stands up to make a difference. He taught us the importance of laughter even when we want to cry.
And yet, we have to ask what was going on behind the scenes. We have to ask how good of an actor he must have been to have suffered so greatly and hidden it so definitely? And maybe it’s not just Robin Williams who was a great actor, but many of those around him? How hard must it have been to live with someone suffering such great depression?
And how many of us could also win academy awards for pretending our lives are something they are not?
Robin Williams had an illness few of us understand just as few of us understand the mental devastation caused by divorce, abuse, abandonment, and loss brings. It is a call to each of us to reach out to others and to share our stories no matter how hard that sharing may be.
It is when we keep our stories hidden behind closed doors that they keep us prisoner, lock us up, and envelop us in darkness. It is in that hiding that we are actually exposed to a far greater threat. It is in that hiding, in that herculean effort we put forth to protect ourselves, that we leave ourselves the most vulnerable.
For it is during those times of darkness that we shut ourselves off from those like ourselves who may understand. It is during those times that we find ourselves entrapped by living a lie so great that we forget the Truth that lives in each of us. It is then that we believe that we are in fact no good, useless, unworthy, and it is then that we succumb to devastation.
It is during those dark times that we are most afraid that someone will discover that we are imperfect.
And we are so focused unhiding our own imperfections that we fail to see imperfections in others. Oh, we may find fault in others, but faults are different from imperfections. Faults are judgements, blame cast deservingly or not, upon an already imperfect soul, a soul who is often itself already hiding something.
Hiding – How many of us are hiding something today, keeping it buried in the shadows, not wanting anyone to know? Our shame is kept behind closed doors.
In an effort to protect ourselves, we do ourselves the most harm. Make no doubt, the most painful part of pulling off a bandaid is the actual act of exposing the wound. Once the bandaid has been removed, the skin may still sting, but that sting lessens every day until one day the scar remains but is hardly noticeable and the skin left behind is stronger than the rest.
The same s true for exposing the emotional and mental wounds we face. The hardest part is the pulling off of the bandaid, the actual, initial act of exposure.
If you are suffering from any sort of mental or emotional pain or know someone who is, you are not alone. There are others who can help, others who have found healing power by going against every fiber of their being, by going against what the world told them they should do, and reaching for what God has promised for them by choosing to expose themselves to the Light.
These brave and faith filled souls have come out of the shadows, relying not on darkness to cover dark wounds caused by dark people, but to expose themselves and their wounds to the Light, relying on God alone for strength and true healing.
It is a trust, not in oneself, but in the Grace of the Lord. It is not a forgetting of pain of the past or a denial of the possibility of getting hurt again in the future, but a certainty that you can overcome whatever is thrown at you because you are not catching that ball alone.
And it is a call to each of us to remember, before pointing fingers and posting judgments or self-validating comments, that each of us is dealing with something we’d rather remain hidden, that each of us is guilty of hiding at one point or another, and each of us is being called into the Light. It is also a reminder that each of us, wittingly or not, can serve to push another farther into the shadows or to gently persuasively slowly, steadily, and Lovingly Lead them toward the Light.
Please remember that everyone is dealing with something unknown to you today.
May God have mercy on you Robin Williams. May you and those you left behind one day find peace.
Feeling alone? Check out these other sites to know you’re not.
The Wounded Dove – Betrayal, Loss, Rebuilding Marriage
Filling My Prayer Closet – Child Abuse, Conversion
Divorce Minister – Christian Divorce
And of course there’s me Single Mom Smiling – Child Abuse, Abandonment, Divorce, Crisis Pregnancy.