We Need Each Other
A few weeks ago my friend participated in a NAMI walk. NAMI is the National Alliance of Mental Illness and the walk was to raise awareness and money for mental health issues. My friend who walked has mental illness and it isn’t an easy life. Many people with mental illness have problems that are not so obvious to the people around them—depression, anxiety, ADHD.
When Robin Williams died 3 years ago I was shocked to hear the news. Most of the world was shocked, as well. I was even more shocked to hear how he died--he had hanged himself. Most of us probably remember him best from his movies --he was the voice of the Genie in Aladdin, he was in Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting, Jack, Patch Adams, to name a few. In these movies he made us laugh and cry—with public people there is often much that goes on behind the scenes that we know nothing about. What we didn’t know about Robin Williams was his sadness, the kind of sad that goes deep into our bones and won’t go away. Robin Williams suffered from depression and even people he worked with had no idea that he was so sad. He shared his gift for being funny with us, but never his own personal sorrow. Many people said he was the same in private, shielding even longtime friends from the sadness he felt. Being funny may have been his way of trying to keep the sadness away. You may know about this kind of
sadness because you have been there yourself or because you love someone who has. Robin Williams suffered from depression.
What we know from everyone who knew him personally is that he was a kind and caring person. One actor friend said—what I will remember about Robin Williams even more than his comic genius, extraordinary talent, and astounding intellect was his huge heart—his tremendous kindness, generosity and compassion as an acting partner, colleague and fellow traveler in a difficult world. President Obama wrote this—“He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most—from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.” One friend said that Robin thought of others first, he gave and gave of his talent, his friendship and more—in ways big and small. It wasn’t just high-profile generosity. Robin Williams wasn’t a taker, he was about looking after other people. His friend went on, “I wish that had extended to himself.”
Several years ago Robin Williams and another comedian did a fundraiser for a Los Angeles high school which needed equipment for their football team. The comedians were drenched after the performance because the auditorium was stifling hot—no air conditioning. A few days later Robin’s friend got a call from the school principal who said that Robin came back and brought a contractor to put in air conditioning, and it didn’t cost the school one cent, but he didn’t want anyone to know about it.
To those of us looking at him from the outside he seemed to have it all, he made lots of money, he could go anywhere he wanted and do anything he pleased, but he could not do the one thing he needed and that was to make the sadness go away. He certainly could afford the best doctors, but it didn’t work.
Robin William’s death and the deaths of others who suffer from depression remind me that we need to be gentle with each other—we need to respect each other because everyone is a child of God. We need to offer love to each other, because many people we know may be suffering in silence—it may be depression like that of Robin Williams, but it may be something else. But we have to be willing to share our pain with those around us. I don’t know if that would have kept Robin Williams from killing himself, but I believe it could have helped. When he died his wife said, “It is our hope in the wake of Robin’s tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing, so they may feel less afraid. He lived trying to make us laugh so that we would feel less afraid.”
The gospels tell us that God loves and cares about us even when we think no one else does we
never get too old to need to hear that we are loved and that we matter. So many people in this world spend every day walking in a cloud of sadness—they need to know they are loved. We need to hold them close to our hearts just as God holds us. We need to hold hands, walk together and listen to each other. When someone holds our hand we can’t help feeling less afraid—it is a crazy world and seems to get crazier every day. We can’t make it by ourselves, but it will help if we hold hands and walk together, loving each other because of the redeeming, transforming love of God. We need God’s love and we need each other.
Collecting School Supplies for Our Neighborhood School
We are collecting school supplies for De Zavala, our neighborhood School: earbuds, fat pencils and crayons for pre-K student, pencils, 1” binders, erasers ( pink ones ), colored construction paper 9 x 12, dividers, individual dry erase boards, expo markers to write on boards, erasers for the boards, stickers to be used for student incentives, poly plastic folders, poster board to be used for student projects. Neighborhood folk are invited to drive by on the 5th Avenue side and drop the supplies off at Arts Fifth Avenue on November 5, 12, and 19. So they won’t have to
leave their car—a Breadite will be outside to take the supplies. Let’s us join together in making sure that all our students have what they need to be successful in school.
Prayer of Welcome and Hospitality
O God who brought us from the rest of last night to the new light of this day
Bring us in the new light of this day to the guiding light of the eternal.
Lead us O God on the journey of justice
Guide us O God on the pathways of peace
Renew us O God by the wellsprings of grace
Today, tonight and forever.
We have enjoyed having visitors the last few Sundays—keep inviting your friends! Our fellowship is enriched by each person who joins us for worship.