So many people are profoundly affected by the death of an actor or actress. This week, we lost both- Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall- one by choice, the other by natural cause. We react. We recoil. Then, depending on perspective, we respond to the reaction. CrAzY!
I never cease to be amazed at both sides that get their shorts in knots over these things:
“Why do we care so much about an actor committing suicide when there is practical genocide happening in the Middle East?” “How could such a talented actor, who has inspired and entertained millions, just up and kill himself? There must be some cause- financial problems, a life threatening disease, an unhappy marriage, etc.”
We analyze and pontificate and postulate. We read articles, trying to figure it out, somehow hoping it weren’t true.
Two things are true:
- The world and its crises are not on the same playing field as the loss of a talented actor to which millions of people relate with- i.e.- they are not comparable issues.
- Somewhere in the midst of it all, loss of life gets sensationalized and “social media-ized” and then we’ve missed the whole point.
Death comes to all and it is never pretty.
I can’t eradicate Ebola. I can’t find homes for all the refugees. I can’t stop every person who is suicidal. I can’t ease the ever-present racial tensions.
But don’t forget these are people. Loss of a human life is always devastating – for any cause and in every situation. We have to recognize that. Robin Williams was a father, husband, brother, friend, uncle, son- and yes, he was a talented guy whose screen presence will be remembered. The countless images of sickly patients waiting to die on gurneys- they belong to a family somewhere. The images of waif like children sitting homeless on the dirt- that is someone’s hungry three year old. The images of a grieving African American mother- she lost her son to violence this week.
Life matters. What we say, do and think matters. Love matters. I might not be able to change the world, but I can make the small world I live in a better place. I can spread love, have joy, offer hope, give help, and promote peace. I can grieve with humanity at the loss of life and offer hope for eternity. I can remember that these are people and not simply news stories.