I feel like I’m in a fog today.
Certainly I have been shocked and saddened by celebrity deaths before; after all, it is always a strange feeling to know that someone who has been a part of my culture for as long as I can remember is suddenly gone. But I don’t recall ever feeling so shaken by a celebrity death as I do by the death of Robin Williams.
Already, not even 24 hours after the news broke, I have seen posts online that have taken a tone of shaming people for posting so much about a celebrity death and ignoring the terrible things that are happening in Iraq and elsewhere around the world. I will be honest with you, I think that is ridiculous. My Facebook feed has been filled for days, weeks, with the terrible news coming out of other parts of the world. Bombings, dead children, diseases, genocide, war, terrorism. We are all aware, and pretty much every person I know cares about these tragedies. We are not so shallow as to think that a celebrity death trumps all else.
No, we are reeling from facing yet another shock. At a time when we are all grieved, a public figure in our culture who many of us have known of our whole lives is suddenly, tragically gone. And what’s more, this is a person whose art brought not only laughter but hope and inspiration to countless people.
In the midst of all that is going on in the world, all the destruction, suffering, and injustice, to lose a figure who stood for hope and inspiration in the public eye is truly a shock.
We have already been mourning so much, maybe even asking ourselves how much love, goodness, and hope are still left in this world-- and to see a person who seemed to embody those things end his own life probably in the face of depression and despair… it strikes a nerve. It hits too close to home-- too close, sometimes, to our own experiences or our own fears.
So yes, I am shaken by the death of Robin Williams, and it appears that countless others are as well.
Along with my shock and sadness, I am reminded that I too can shine a light of love, hope, and peace in the world, even in the midst of suffering and pain.
When I look around at all that I am aware of that’s happening in the world recently, I am struck by the desperate need for the human race to pull together to shine that light. Will you join me in bringing hope to others in the face of tragedy? Countless human beings’ lights have been snuffed out far too early recently, and those of us who remain must continue to shine brightly and persistently.