He had me at “Nanu Nanu”.
And he was brilliant right up to his tragic end.
I realize I am a week late weighing in on this very sad death, but sometimes waiting is good. You have a better idea what to say.
And what not to.
From loveable alien to cross dressing nanny, brilliant therapist to deejay soldier, Robin Williams had more than a brilliant sense of humor. He had depth. And complexity.
Which we all know usually comes packaged with pain.
We saw that most profoundly in the teacher he played that stirred our souls.
But the gift comes with the burden.
I won’t comment on his psychology or depression or why suicide is wrong or how God takes away depression if you pray- many have already written on those things which (depending on your frame of reference) you can find something to agree with or get angry about.
What I will comment on is how faith can be lost in the dark.
Oddly, it can be found there too.
The dark carries you where you do not want to go. And you feel desperately alone- maybe not geographically, but emotionally. Spiritually.
God feels absent. You feel absent.
Sometimes even from yourself.
Those are the themes I wrestle with in my book. (http://www.amazon.com/Laurie-Short/e/B00IKAGCDG)
I’m not sure where Robin stood in terms of his faith, but I do believe the line between brilliance and craziness is very thin and brilliant people are often forced to walk that tightrope.
Over and over.
Maybe he just got tired.
Somehow he couldn’t see a way out.
The distant knocking of the One who created him got drowned out.
And the moment came where he gave up. But God never did.
He never does.
Such is the mystery of grace.
A seminary professor I greatly revered wrote a book that got him into a bit of trouble.
The title was “Judas come home all is forgiven.”
Evangelical skin crawled.
We already decided where Judas was at the end of the story.
But not many were prepared to stand up against this professor and say “This is where God’s grace ends.”
So the book sold a few copies to feisty seminary students. And quietly went out of print.
But time and again the question of what grace covers re-emerges in all kinds of discussions and debates, sometimes taking us away from the pain of the one in the debate. Pain that led him to make a desperate choice.
And I don’t really know how to judge it all except to say:
Thank you Robin, for the gifts you gave us while you were here.
Especially for the word you delivered in Dead Poet’s society that moved us out of our mediocre lives.
Whispered in front of a cabinet of faces who had long since died and called out to us
Seize the day.
I wish you hadn’t left us so intentionally and so soon. Wish we could have heard you- and helped.
Grace and peace to you, and all others who have exited the way you did.
We long for the world to come where by faith we know
Death does not win.
John 11:26