On Sunday, we received news that one of my husband's friends died suddenly of a heart attack. Rich was 44. That evening, we had Bill's brothers and their wives over for a cookout. Missing was his brother, Tom, who died on June 4th. His son, John, accompanied his widow. It was the first time we've all gathered for dinner since Tom's passing. It was a hurdle we had to face... and it was tough.
Personal tragedies are never easy. Turn on the TV and suddenly there are global tragedies to add to the personal ones. Sadness multiplies and some days, it's hard to cope.
Seeing the images and hearing the stories about the Christians in Iraq being persecuted beyond what you or I can even imagine nearly stops my heart. Children beheaded. Men crucified. Women's throats slashed. No. No. No. I don't know how to process thoughts of this personified evil. I don't know how to respond. Is it okay for me to go on with my life, experiencing both sadness and joy, struggle and triumph, failure and success? Is it okay for me to laugh? To drink wine with my husband while we enjoy a movie? Am I being selfish? Like I said, I don't know how to respond while mommies across the world are helplessly watching as their babies are slaughtered.
|One of my personal favorites of his|
Then, last night, more sadness overtook the world when we lost, what to appears to be, one of the finest human beings in the entertainment industry. Robin Williams battled with something so many of us are familiar with... the merciless curse of depression, the biological twisting of our brains, the insidiousness of mental illness. No. No. No.
I've been there. I've felt the tug... the lure... the lie of "it would be so much easier if I were gone." Death tempts and taunts as the weight of depression crushes those of us in its grips. It teases us with promises of relief. That's all we're looking for when suicidal thoughts come out to play. Relief.
My friends, if ever... EVER... you are tempted to visit that playground, please... PLEASE... tell someone. If you can't trust anyone or there's no one around to listen, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. People care. They do. Even if Death shouts in your ear that no one does, that is a LIE. A lie. You matter. You are valuable. And you are the light in someone else's world. If your light goes out, their world becomes dark. And that would be yet one more tragedy in this world of far too many tragedies and far too much sadness.
And guess what? It is okay to be happy amid such misery. Misery has always been with us. But the amazing thing is, the human spirit is resilient and can rise above it. That doesn't make us wrong or selfish. It just makes us human. The way we were created to be.
So shed some tears and say some prayers, then go play with your children or your grandchildren, your nieces or your nephews. Take your dog for a walk. Visit your elderly neighbor. Buy flowers for the widow in your office. Smile at the checkout clerk. Be KIND.
Robin Williams taught us a vital lesson: you never know what voices are shouting loudest behind the masks someone wears. A mask is just a mask.