Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Why Robin Williams' Death Hurts So Much

My heart hurts.

Bear with me as I try to get through writing what's in there.

I never met Robin Williams, never had the pleasure of working with him, never even saw him anywhere but on a movie screen.

Yet his life mattered to me.

He had the great privilege of going to the school I so wanted to attend and had been invited to audition for, The Julliard School. Thus, I followed his work closely for many years.

Anytime someone would ask me who I thought the best actors alive were, he was always at the very top of my list. He always will be.

Watching him in film taught me so much as an actress. 

His timing was impeccable.                 
His improvisational skills unbelievable. 
His ability to read an audience, uncanny.

Even after I became a Christian in 1999 and my taste in movie content and comedy changed, I was always excited when I learned of a movie he'd be starring in that I felt I could watch without compromising what I now wanted to have filling my mind.

But here's the part that has made me so sad about his death.

I personally understand his despair all too well.

I know what it is to just want out, to feel like no one would care if I were gone, to truly believe somewhere deep in my heart that death by my own hands would mean freedom.

Shortly after my husband and I were married, I found a journal that I had kept from the time I was 14-29 and had written in once or twice each year. At the time that I found it, I was a brand new Christian. That information matters for the context of the rest of what I'm going to share.

After finding the journal I asked my husband if I could read to him from it...thinking this discovery was going to be some fun and silly way to share who I had been as a young teenager and younger woman.

As I started reading it to him, I was absolutely dumbfounded as page after page I found that everything written in it was about suicide. 


Every. Single. Post.

Over FIFTEEN years!

But there I sat,  reading this journal with new a new creation in Christ Jesus, and for the first time ever I could see and understand the total bondage that I had been in for decades.

Please don't read more into what I'm saying here than what I've written.

I don't know what was in Robin's heart and mind. I don't know what his state was before the Lord, and I won't even entertain comments about that.

All I'm saying is that I personally understand the total despair that someone feels and believes when they buy the lie that their life has no value. 

And the thought that someone whose genius I so respect, someone I had come to care about over years of learning from him in the acting arena...the thought that Robin Williams hurt as deeply as I had, and felt as hopeless as I once did, truly crushes my heart.

Suicide was my plan out of the very painful life that I lived for many years. Years of more messed up, sick stuff than I have the time or energy to share with you. 

While I never attempted it, I KNEW what my plan was...and in my mind it was foolproof.

That night as I read my journal to my new husband, my journal so full of such deep heartache , I suddenly got up, went into our garage, and lit every single page of it on fire.

I have had 8 friends take their lives. 


One was a woman in her 60s who had been a Christian mentor to my mother.
One was my college boyfriend.
One was the first person to befriend me at my new High School when I was a Senior.
One was his best friend, and a friend of mine. Such a neat guy!
One was a very dear friend of mine who was like a brother to me in my late 20s. I wrote about him previously here.

It never gets easier to handle the pain of losing someone to suicide. 
The questions that swirl in our minds. 
The range of emotions from rage to total brokenness.
The desperate wishing that we had known just how dark their world was, and how much we wish they'd have reached out to us, or that we'd have known to reach in.

No doubt there are countless people in Robin's life who are walking through the above feelings right now.

Won't you please pray for them? 

Pray earnestly. Pray on your face. Pray with compassion.

Losing someone to suicide is one of the most helpless feelings in the world.

I dare say, as helpless and hopeless as the person who made the decision to commit it likely felt.

If you have come to this page because you're battling thoughts of suicide, please...hear my heart.

That is not God's plan for you! You were created to give glory to His name, and to have fellowship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus broke those bonds in my life, and He wants so much to do the same for you.

Satan wants you to believe that no one would care. 
That no one would likely even show up for your funeral. 
That your family and friends would be better off without you. 
That you don't even have family and friends that would miss you.

Every single one of those is a lie from the pit of hell.

Robin Williams was a total stranger to me, as are his friends and his family members.         Yet, even as I write this tears are streaming from my eyes.

His life mattered! 

To them. 
To God. 
Even to me...a complete stranger.

My guess is that it mattered to you, too.

Please, I beg of you from the bottom of my heart. If you're contemplating taking your life, reach out to someone right now.

I think of the horror stories of the loved ones of my friends who committed suicide...from the father who found his son two weeks afterward on Father's Day, to the brother who got a random phone call from some man on an Indian reservation in the middle of nowhere explaining that he'd found my friend Paul in his truck after a week of being there.

I think of my own precious brother who came home from college one weekend and took me on a bike ride and poured his heart out to me because my mother had found my precious brother who saved my life that night through his tears.

I didn't know how to reach out, but he knew how to reach in.

And his tears touched my heart enough to let me know that someone would care if I were gone.

Dear reader, please don't pass judgement on that which you don't understand. 

Instead..PRAY for the Williams family and their countless friends.

Reach in to the one you know needs someone to care about them.
Reach out, even if it means calling an anonymous suicide hotline.

Look up. Jesus cares more than you can ever imagine, and He desires that you be set free.

In His Love,

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