The infectious smile. I recall sitting in front of the television watching Mrs Doubtfire – hilariously funny comedy of a man who would do anything to stay close and connected to his family – going as far as to turning himself into a woman to play nanny for his children. All the twist, turns and mishaps that kept you on the edge of your seat – frantically cheering him on – emphatically wanting for him what he desired. How many other times have you sat in your living room watching Robin Williams – laughing uncontrollably at his fun nature? Perhaps many that you can recall – moments moreso when you needed a good laugh – he was there to supply.
In all seriousness he was super funny – did that constitute his happiness? It did not. Rumaging through my FB timeline I was hit with the fact that Robin Williams was gone. What! It couldnt be so. Could the laughter producing bellyache of a man take his own life? The truth of the matter is that every smile you see wore on a face – doesnt paint the true picture of what is happening on the inside. Can we discuss depression for just a moment? It’s not those occasional moments of sadness – we all have those. Depression is those moments of sadness that goes from an occassional sadness to days – weeks – months of lows that don’t seem to disappear. Cloudiness that covers your days with pending storms that seem all to evident. Can we see it – or do we pass the signs as fleeting – it’s not as bad as it seems demeanor. Depression is as real as our waking and sleeping. It’s so real that often its overlooked. We have to pay attention to those that cry out in silence. We have to reconnect to people on deeper levels than those quick “how are you” moments – thats not given enough time for a true answer. The face of depression – what does it look like? Could it be you – could it be your sister, brother, friend, spouse, etcetera? If there was a familiar face would we find the urgency to intervene? Hopelessness is the state of despair – feelings of all is lost – above help. When one can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel – darkness invades every space.
We don’t have to sit on the sidelines and watch this – there is hope. As a church we have to get honest about the seriousness of this illness. Its time to take God out of the box – release the light of truth that sits – not shining on those whom truly need it. Just maybe in our shouting – praise God moments – the church can extend the hours to counsel them that need more than just a sermon and a song or two. We need a church that says my calling is much bigger than me. Just maybe one needs to be not only told that God loves them – but that we are willing to walk and talk with those who need a listening ear. That we are willing to talk and pray with them – that we also are willing to encourage professional help of counselor, psychologist, and psychiatrist. We have to be willing to pull from a multitude of resources. We don’t need a one size fits all – we need every dark place brought to light. We need to encourage people – remind them that darkness don’t last always. We have to be willing to let them bask in our light till they are able to see their own. Most of sucidal tendencies catch us off guard – because those that can go through with It – never tell a soul.
Seek help if I’m talking to someone who needs an uplift. What you are facing doesn’t have to be faced alone. Talk to people about what your feeling. You matter! You can live through it. We need one another to survive. The national suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Visit a church – speak to your families. Don’t battle alone – stay connected to people who can share hope and help you to conquer the darkness. When you cant take another step – let God carry you. God shows up in those around you. Seek his face. Life isn’t better without you – its greater with you here.
Let is draw near to the throne of grace, that we may recieve mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrew 4:16
In the face of depression – behind the perfect smiles are people who are suffering in silence. Today be a friend – give a hug – shine your light that others may be able to see their paths clearer. Take the time to listen to someone today. We will all be better for creating a better world. Each one reach one!
Robin Williams – thanks for the laughs. You will truly be remembered and missed! Rest now!