I am a bit overwhelmed this week as I write this. So much has happened this past week that seems so directly related to the ongoing discussion we are having about ‘Where is God when bad things happen?’
I read with sadness of the suicide of Robin Williams. And I wrestled with ‘do I even address this?’
I guess I write sometimes simply because it helps me work through my own thoughts and feelings. I had other stuff in mind but I can’t quite let this one go. Robin was probably a guy none of us have met or spent time with, yet because of his TV and movie appearances we have a sense that we know him.
I remember the Mork and Mindy thing, we all knew “Nanu nanu”. I thought for years: Robin Williams—What a joke! Then I saw ‘Dead Poets Society’ and it completely changed how I saw Robin. What an amazing film and such a challenge to live life to the full, to ‘seize the day’. I think it is one of my top 25 films of all time and has been for years.
So how could he do what he did? How could one of the funniest human beings to ever live with seemingly everything anyone could desire get to this place? Well I have read so much on the topic this past week that it is hard to believe it is only a week gone by.
Some I have to say is so cruel that I won’t even repeat it, some has been so sappy as to make butter in the sun look like a brick. Either way that is not how anyone should view death and suicide.
Somehow I have to believe there is a balance a way to look at it with compassion and also with eyes that see the reality. I have heard and said that suicide is a selfish act. I’m not so sure I believe that any longer. So what I say now is not my final answer and may not answer any questions. It is merely my attempt to reconcile suffering and pain and a sadness that we all know at times in our lives.
It is a bit of indulging in a public way my own inability to understand what goes on in the mind, heart and life of someone so wracked by depression that they finally lose the battle to go on.
I know as well that I have a simplistic view of life at times, a view that dislikes very much on the one hand, yet accepts on the other that we live in a Genesis 3 fallen world. All evil is one thing and one thing only, caused by sin and the sin nature that has been around since the dawn of creation.
Robin’s life and illness is no exception. Without sin none of us would suffer this way, none of us would sink to the depths of despair.
But we do and we all know the effects in our own lives. We may not have reached this point, but there is no saying we won’t. Just please, when you see yourself struggling or sinking... find someone, keep talking.
We may not have all the answers but there are way too many who do care, that will just listen.
My heart aches over this news and for his family. But sadly according to 2012 figures there were almost 6000 in the UK that also took their own lives. Sadly this statistic has been relatively stable for the past 20 years.
I only say that to say Robin and his family are not alone by way too much of a figure.
Oh so much more in my heart and on my mind,
Rev. Jon Bergen
Brechin Baptist Fellowship