The world is reeling from the loss of one of its brightest sparks. This week, Robin Williams took his own life. What I felt most tragic and paradoxical about this is – How could this funnyman (if ever there was one) who is able to make almost anyone laugh so very easily and joyously was himself denied that joy that he so graciously and generously bestowed on others? There are so many stories now emerging of how sensitive and caring he was as a human being and not just as a career comedian. If only he had asked, voiced out and shared his heart. If only.
I remember 3 super-impactful seminal moments in my life inspired / challenged by Robin (and his character in the movies).
1. Dead Poet’s Society
It is awesome to note that DPS had inspired a whole new generation of teachers (people who actually, intentionally and purposefully redirected their life goals to become teachers – and impacted future generations) who took to heart the lesson Keating (Williams) ‘taught’ in the movie. For me personally, the scene that made a huge impact was this one – starting from 1:50. The thing about our ‘inner poet’… our inner voice… it validated and encouraged me to listen, and I have never stopped since. Thanks, Robin.
2. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Who could ever forget Robin Williams as King of the Moon in Terry Gilliam’s masterpiece? When I first saw the movie, I was so fascinated by his portrayal of a God in action. Remember the bit when he ‘created’ Spring? So, ‘I think, therefore you are’! This scene totally messed up my perspective on all things divine and Godly. It made me rethink and re-evaluate my ‘human’ perspective on God. It totally blew my mind away. Thanks, Robin.
3. What Dreams May Come
If DPS impacted my view about Life, then WDMC totally obliterated my view about Death. If I can list two movies / ideas that twisted my thinking around death and all things after-life, it’ll be ‘What Dreams May Come’ and the ‘Tears in Rain’ scene from Blade Runner. I really should watch ‘What Dreams May Come’ again, this time with my family. There aren’t many movies that can help people open up about death and letting go, in a meaningful and closure kind of way. And how many people in the world today could do with some closure because of unexpected good-byes of their loved ones?
To lose such a special human being so young (by today’s standards) is tragic enough. But to lose him to depression when he could potentially be the ultimate ‘every-one else’s antidote for depression’ is unbearable. If only.
Before I forget, please honor Robin – if there’s someone you know you care about who you think could benefit from a ‘If Only‘ right now – reach out to them and make it easy for them to share and speak up. Don’t wait for them – it might be too late.
Another spark that died too early in 1980 was John Lennon. His song, ‘Imagine’ inspired a whole new perspective of thinking that transcended the set beliefs and thinking of his time. Personally, I think his son Julian outdid his dad and released a song that unfortunately has failed to inspire a new perspective of thinking that could transcend our thinking and beliefs at this time. Although then it was a song mostly about the environment and our misdirected priorities, the theme hasn’t changed. Until we get this and are humbled into submission that we aren’t as clever as we think we all are, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of our generation. I pray that one day we will wake up and rethink our values and what really matters to us and those around us. And do something about it.