I don’t want to write about Robin Williams. I’m sick of hearing his name honestly… I’ve read what others have written and it’s better than what I have to say and I don’t want to have anything to say anyway… I’ve tried ignore it or be with it and then let it pass or whatever but to no avail.
I’m fascinated by my reactions, for a while I found them unjustified, unexplainable. We’ve all seen celebrity deaths and felt the loss of massive talent and beautiful souls, how’s this so different? Is it? Perhaps not, but it is for me…. the confusion and disbelief won’t pass.
John Green says “pain deserves to be felt”… and I think we’re seeing evidence everyday that if it’s not, real suffering follows.
When Michael Jackson died, I was moved and sad and interested.. but I wasn’t shocked. His pain seemed so visible, his crash course so transparent. When Phillip Seymour Hoffman died, I was so familiar with his disease that it was of no surprise what so ever and I was so inspired by the awareness his life and death brought to what I believe is the plague of plagues. I was left with overwhelming gratitude for his final efforts on behalf of humanity. Even Whitney Houston’s story seemed pre-told in the pain and suffering that seemed to radiate from her daily actions.
In so many ways, these 3 lived authentically— they didn’t hide behind any curtains and what was lurking in them, the suffering and struggle, it was omnipresent and visible to us all. They were actually the truth tellers, the authentic ones.
Green tweeted shortly after Robin’s death, “One never knows the interior of someone else’s life” and I don’t believe this at all because it’s missing a word: May… One may never know the interior of someone else’s life… What is true is that we will never know for sure. This life really is overwhelmingly solo… we alone must walk the path and only we know how authentic and real we are really being.
For me, Robin’s death is a call to action to double down on my core commitment to see the good in everyone, to remember that God’s within each of us absolutely no matter how we show up in the world…. and that things are almost never as they seem. Lately I find myself using the word “perhaps” often.. it’s how I feel when I watch the news, when I learn one side or even “both” sides of a story… when you tell me about yourself and what influences you and the “why” of your actions… I quietly say to myself “perhaps”. I told my friend I see the world this way and she thought it was dark and negative, untrusting.. but I see it as the opposite…. as respectful and noble and something I think we should all offer each other.. the recognition and validation that we’ve all got allot going on, that what influences us is deep and personal and that we’re each making our way in the best way we can and that may or not be very good at any given moment.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that we all suffer. What I didn’t get till now is that those of us who suffer out in the open, who have the more visible demons, we have a far better chance of getting the help we need. Those of us who live in the world a certain way and yet, of course, have the same suffering, it’s harder for them to be surrounded with compassion and assistance.
Perhaps, compassion is not just for the visibly suffering, It’s for all of us. More Compassion to each and every living being walking this earth.. that’s what Robin’s death has me working on….
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”