What really matters

I suppose you are like me that in hearing of the death of Robin Williams you were both shocked and saddened.  Strangely I had never met him, had never even been in the same room as him.  He wouldn’t have known my name if you had asked and certainly wouldn’t likely to have showed up at my house for lunch, supper or a cup of coffee.

I never wrote to him or he to me.  I don’t keep his picture on my fridge and you won’t be able to even find any memorabilia of his in our house.

Yet in some strange way I felt like I knew him, at least knew lots about him and of course had watched dozens of hours of television or movies that he was part of.

So when the news of his death came over the internet (cause that’s where I get my news – sorry news anchors) I was caused to react emotionally.  I was deeply saddened.  When I heard it was by his own hand I was even more saddened.  It just didn’t seem to make sense that someone who made me laugh so much was so contrived inside.

Then came word of the more private details of his life and since then the tributes have poured out.

Our dear Amanda Jean reminded me this week that there are many people who suffer from mental illness and not only recover or go on to live well with it, but that we need to be cautious about assumptions we make and where we might share those assumptions.

It is sad of course that this was the decision that Robin Williams made – don’t let me minimize that – for there are many others who yet need our encouragement and our friendship and their are many people and agencies working to help those who struggle with one type of mental illness or another.

It seems no family is untouched by this illness.

I’m convinced in reading the Psalms that David struggled with depression or some kind of mental illness.  How often he was lost in despair or wrote words of deep darkness.  God was with him – and here are his words:

Psalm 39<span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NIV-14514a" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.71em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="[a]”>[a]

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.

I said, “I will watch my ways<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14514A" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”>
    and keep my tongue from sin;<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14514B" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”>
I will put a muzzle on my mouth<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14514C" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”>
    while in the presence of the wicked.”
So I remained utterly silent,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14515D" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”>
    not even saying anything good.
But my anguish<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14515E" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> increased;
    my heart grew hot<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14516F" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> within me.
While I meditated,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14516G" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> the fire<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14516H" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> burned;
    then I spoke with my tongue:
“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14517I" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>
    let me know how fleeting<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14517J" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> my life is.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14517K" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>
You have made my days<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14518L" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14518M" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”>
    even those who seem secure.<span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NIV-14518b" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="[b]”>[b]
“Surely everyone goes around<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14519N" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> like a mere phantom;<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14519O" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”>
    in vain they rush about,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14519P" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> heaping up wealth<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14519Q" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”>
    without knowing whose it will finally be.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14519R" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”>
“But now, Lord, what do I look for?
    My hope is in you.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14520S" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”>
Save me<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14521T" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> from all my transgressions;<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14521U" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”>
    do not make me the scorn<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14521V" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> of fools.
I was silent;<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14522W" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> I would not open my mouth,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14522X" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”>
    for you are the one who has done this.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14522Y" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”>
10 Remove your scourge from me;
    I am overcome by the blow<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14523Z" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> of your hand.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14523AA" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”>
11 When you rebuke<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14524AB" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> and discipline<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14524AC" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> anyone for their sin,
    you consume<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14524AD" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> their wealth like a moth<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14524AE" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”>
    surely everyone is but a breath.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14524AF" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”>
12 “Hear my prayer, Lord,
    listen to my cry for help;<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14525AG" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”>
    do not be deaf<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14525AH" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> to my weeping.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14525AI" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”>
I dwell with you as a foreigner,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14525AJ" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”>
    a stranger,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14525AK" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(AK)”> as all my ancestors were.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-14525AL" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”>
13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
    before I depart and am no more.”

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