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    The Day Laughter Died

    A tribute to Robin Williams. August 14, 2014 by Captain Scott Strissel
    Filed Under:
    Opinion & Critical Thought
    Like most of the world, I am in shock as I write this. No, I never met famous comedian Robin Williams. I never sent him fan letters or visited Hollywood and looked for his star. But when the news of his death broke, it struck me like it was one of my family members. Our family watched many of his movies in theatres and in our living room with popcorn in hand. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He inspired us and gave us hope. He was the crazy, really hairy man who went to great lengths to bring a character to life, and took us to fantastical lands we never thought possible.

    I can't tell you which of his films I admired more: Hook, Patch Adams, Dead Poets Society, What Dreams May Come, Jumanji, Good Will Hunting, Night at the Museum, The Bird Cage

    My heart is broken.

    With Robin's death, a little bit of my laughter and your laughter died. It wasn't about another actor dying, but about a piece of us, a piece of this light of life, being extinguished.

    I don't want to make this about depression or addiction, but there's always hope, there's always help. I wish Robin could have found both.

    Something like this, happening so abruptly, pulls us all up short. It makes us re-evaluate things. It makes us recognize how fragile life is. It makes us ask questions we usually avoid. He seemed to have so much to live for. Why? Could this have been prevented? Who could have intervened? Am I struggling with depression right now? Should I ask for help? Am I alone or can I really talk to someone who can help me?

    Again, I don't want to make this tribute all about the burdens and struggles of life, but when someone who shines so brightly burns out in this way, we can't help but consider these things. We all face the pressures of life. We all face dark days, sometimes seasons, and must journey through them.

    Robin, thank you for making us laugh. You inspired us with so much hope, but lost hope yourself. In your death, your family, friends and fans are left with questions that will go unanswered. You faced battles and now we mourn because we couldn't help you overcome. If only WE could have made YOU laugh….

    I know God is a God of great mercy and grace. I don't know how grace works, but I know that it extends far beyond what our human minds can comprehend. As you stand before that great God of grace, may his love be lavished upon you. I pray you have found ultimate healing from your struggles and battles in life. I pray also for your family, for their hurting hearts and questioning minds.

    August 11, 2014 was truly the day laughter died.

    Captain Scott Strissel lives in Brainerd, Minnesota. He is an active blogger and contributor for the purpose of encouraging and challenging the Salvation Army world. Read his blog at pastorsponderings.org.

    Comment

    On Thursday, August 21, 2014, Keith Pond said:

    Good to see comments on the Robin Williams suicide by Scott Strissel. I think all supporters , officers, and soldiers of The SA in Canada would like to know the Army's strategy for Mental Health. The Ontario Central Division Advisory Board has a senior official of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health. Has this person assisted with the strategy?

    On Saturday, August 16, 2014, Ross Canning said:

    Homelessness is a feeling. Homeless people may dwell in mansions. I wonder whether or not Robin Williams was inflicted with this feeling. No where to 'rest' his head in a lunatic world that's increasingly growing more detached than ever from its moorings. This detachment wearies the soul so deeply that the soul grows insensitive and dies, dies before the suicide happens. Suicide is a symptom of a deeper problem(cause). Just a thought.

    On Saturday, August 16, 2014, Steve Simms said:

    I've been thinking about Robin Williams' suicide.
    Suicide is tangible evidence of the invisible evil forces at work on us all. Humans have been programmed with a survival instinct. It is not natural for us to override that programming and take our own life. Animals don't do that, why do humans? Because we are continually attacked by invisible, evil forces that constantly strive to overcome us, make us hopeless, and coerce us into self-destruction. Jesus put it this way: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
    --Although this invisible battle is real, there is a power that can overcome it in you and carry you to victory -- to hope, peace, love, joy, significance, and meaning. The power is a Person -- the living, resurrected Jesus Christ. He's ready to fight in you and through you to give you "life to the full." Let your battles, pain, and despair drive you to Him, not to self-destruction!

    On Friday, August 15, 2014, Kristiina said:

    Hey- that is so true what you all people wrote! I am ex-salvationist (soldier), left my place mainly because of depression... I loved Robin Williams- but I used to love SA, too.
    I have lost my marriage, my work and my health. I think of suicide nearly every day....
    I have almost lost my faith during my trials. Getting help from few ladies who understand my up and go's. They take me occasionally to a pentecostal or babtist church. It helps a bit, but I feel God doesn't (want to) come to my home- my entire life any more.... This may be a problem of some others too?
    If you are not understood or wanted to your "own" corps / congregation- what can you do? Just feel lost, hopeless. aimless, beaten.
    I waste my time and energy in playing games (facebook), watching films... This is the reason for this comment. I was surprised that someone inside the SA would comment a death of an actor...
    I am proud of you- thanks.

    On Thursday, August 14, 2014, Christa said:

    Maybe it's time the Army goes to the forefront with one of its best hidden secret program...the Suicide Prevention Services in Hamilton - hopesalive.ca Canada's only 24/7 toll free suicide crisis line that has saved the lives of thousands of individuals across Canada and the United States. 1-855-294-HOPE

    On Thursday, August 14, 2014, Larry Scarbeau, Major (R) said:

    I can only echo your words Scott and prayer for Robin's family and friends. It reminds us all that we all show the world only what we want them to see or what we think they expect to see. I for one will make a greater effort to look behind the mask and offer hope, compassion and words of encouragement whenever I can.

    Rest in Peace - Robin Williams - you made me laugh and I pray now you have found the real joy you so much deserve.

    Larry

    On Thursday, August 14, 2014, Karen said:

    To us, it may be something that happened abruptly but not to him or the real people in his life. We have to make this about mental illness because that's what caused it. Shame on those who say it's a coward's way out, shame on those who don't take the time to reach out to their neighbour and friend when something seems "off". The brain, like any other organ, malfunctions. This is the cause of depression. Not depression over your baseball team losing or not getting a raise but a physical fault with deep psychological consequences. It is something beyond human control. It's not something to "snap out of." This is innately a physical fault that many suffer from. It's no different than when a liver, pancreas or heart needs help in order to function properly. If the world view would change, we would not have so many fellow humans living in such utter pain. We cannot forget that he was human. Yes, Robin Williams was a funny, funny man whose frantic humour was hiding so much. He used that humour to cope and did so for 63 years.

    Always remember...the ones who look after everyone else are usually the ones who are filled with the most pain. It's time to look, listen, talk, and be real before it is too late for someone else.

    On Thursday, August 14, 2014, Laurie Orlic said:

    Beautifully said

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