RIP Robin Williams
As I scroll through my news feed on facebook, I keep seeing the face of Robin Williams and the tragic news of his passing. It’s clear that so many of us were shocked and pained to learn of it. Many people have stories to share, some from personal experience, and others passed on from friends about this brilliant comic genius and I’m glad to read them to understand what kind of man Mr. Williams was to so many.
The first time I saw him was as “Mork from Ork” on television while in elementary school. You can be sure all the kids were repeating ad infinitum “Nanu-nanu, and Shazbot!” while greeting each other with Orkian hand gestures. He made us laugh so hard because of his inexhaustible humor and wit.
My impression of him has always been of a kind and gentle man. Of course, I’ve only seen him portrayed as such on the screen, so I have no other point of reference, except for the time he was invited to speak at my Juilliard commencement. You see, Juillliard was conferring him with an honorary doctorate at that time. I can remember clearly his somewhat modest demeanor as he received the honor with grace. But he also made a joke that took a mischievous jab at the school’s administration when he had been a student there. He said something like this:” It was amazing how all these people could fit themselves into this tiny little room, and then bam! You’re being asked to leave.” (Not sure if those were his exact words because that speech took place around 1989, I think.)
Anyway, there was roaring laughter among the graduates, and uncomfortable chuckles on stage. But we all understood the irony of his statement. Nevertheless, he was gracious and didn’t show anything but charm and dignity that day. I’ll always remember how special it felt to have him speaking at my graduation–even more so than my Masters graduation when Isaac Stern gave the address to the graduates.
I feel like I grew up with Robin Williams, watching his career soar from a tv show into the big screen. So it’s with great sadness that I say goodbye (along with the rest of us) to a kind and talented man whom I count as part of my life, if only in a small and oblique way.
There’s so much to be said about clinical depression, suicide, and the pain involved. I wish I had something helpful to say in order to contribute the discussion, but I don’t have any qualification to do so. I can only say what others have said: Please be sensitive and aware, don’t judge, get help and don’t go it alone, and above all else, know that there is an eternal hope in Christ, not just for this life but for eternity.
Having witnessed many miraculous healings from (cancer, depression, liver conditions, etc.,) through prayer, I know that where science and medicine fail, there is hope and healing in Christ, for those willing to give Him a chance.
My prayer for everyone is that no matter what you’re going through, no matter how dire the situation is, that you would know there is an Almighty Father who is FOR you, not against you, who loves you with an everlasting love, and wants you to find joy, peace, healing, health and wholeness in this life (the dress rehearsal, the dream) and all eternity–the true reality.
My hope in in Jesus Christ, and I pray you’ll know the power of this hope for yourself.
Joshua Graham is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, winner of the International Book Award and Forward National Literature Award. His thrillers include DARKROOM, LATENT IMAGE and BEYOND JUSTICE, and TERMINUS. Graham's works have been characterized as thought-provoking page-turners.
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