The Reflection that Hides: What Robin Williams Death Teaches Us About Life

I’m not a huge movie buff, nor do I follow a lot of actor’s or actress, that said Robin Williams was someone I at least knew the name of.

I didn’t start watching movies or tv until I was in college, that happened to coincide with some of Robin Williams best work: Goodwill Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire and Patch Adams to name a few.

Often I’d watch these movies and wonder who the real Robin Williams was. Was it the comedian with the easy and ever ready smile or was he really someone else. In his roles of Mrs. Doubtfire, Patch Adams and even Dr. Sean Maguire, of Goodwill Hunting, he plays a soulful man with deep emotions that hides his pain with smiles & laughter so that he doesn’t impose on others his deep feels of hurt, pain, loneliness…and might I even suggest his own deep depression.

Back then I thought perhaps it was just a type cast, a role he easily wore, but that his true self was in fact happy go lucky. I remember sitting in those movies thinking something didn’t add up, perhaps in the movies he left his true self be known, and the rest of the time he was acting. We will never know for certain.

Ironically enough the topic God gave me to write about (i thought for Thursdays post) was “Don’t Camp Out”. As in, “when you’re going through he’ll, keep going-DON’T CAMP OUT”.

We can learn lesson from Robin Williams, if you feel like you can’t keep going- don’t give up. Dig out. If you can’t dig yourself out on your own seek help. Don’t hide. Be who you are. I’m not saying act immature, but perhaps that’s really the problem. We have a strict definition of how adults are supposed to handle problems. We suck it up. We keep going. We slap a smile on our face. We laugh through our pain. We hide.

Children don’t do that. We call their lack of hiding their emotions immaturity, perhaps though they are the more mature ones. When a kid or a baby, someone who doesn’t know the meaning of immature, hurts they cry. When they are happy the laugh. When they need something they demand it be solved or resolved. What they don’t do is hide their emotions.

I’m not sure where hiding our emotions and being mature became such a highly desirable thing. In 2011 I was laid off work. From April 2011 until about February of this year my life was an insane roller coaster. Due to a huge decrease in pay I had to file bankruptcy, a boyfriend I wanted to build a life with and have a family with decided he was really just a boy that was a friend, I moved backed home with my parents and I’m watching my mom head into her 8th year of lung disease. (She was originally told lung disease typically claimed its victims within 2 years of diagnosis.) As much as I want to say she improving daily-that’s for from the truth.

My dad and I were just talking about this Sunday, he told me that some light, some spark had gone out of me…and he’d only recently seen glimpses of it. Too much happened too fast. I was treading water. More often thanks not I was barely not sinking.

Few people saw. Fewer people reached out to me. People I consider friends deserted me claiming I was too self-centered. The fact was I was barely hanging on.

But, this isn’t really about me-it’s about you. What can you do? Smile. Smile at the person who treats you rough at work. You don’t know what they’re coping with. Grace. Give yourself Grace. Give others around you Grace & extend the benefit of the doubt. Forgive. Forgive yourself and others-as many times as needed. Don’t put a cap on it keep forgiving, keep giving grace, keep smiling. Keep texting that friend or acquaintance that infrequently responds. Post encouragement on their Facebook wall, send them emails or even handwritten notes. Most of all let them know you’re there. Let them know that your that friend that doesn’t run from trouble or pain…you pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and let your presence speak for itself.

If you need professional help, and most of us know when we are at that point, don’t be to ashamed to ask. There is no shame in asking for help or showing your emotions-it is not a sign of immaturity, but rather of great maturity.

As Sean says in Goodwill Hunting:
Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself.

Or our friend Patch Adams that says:
…yet the influence of the adult world–this is the pain paradigm shouting — serious is what you want to be taken.

Or as Mrs. Doubtfire says:
Well, He broke the mold when He made me. He made me very special

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