Welcome to Spiritual Journey Thursday! I hope you will link up below with your own spiritual journey thoughts.
As you know, Robin Williams took his own life this week. It is a devastating loss. Any loss of life taken by a person's own hand seems especially devastating. We know from the news that Williams has suffered for a long time with addiction and depression. Mental illness is so mysterious and many times misunderstood. It can cause such hopelessness and despair. We cannot ever really understand the inner workings of anyone. I've seen this famous quote several times on social media this week in response to this tragedy: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." I'm so sorry that for him, the battle was not worth fighting anymore. He was such a beloved, gifted actor and comedian. He was able to be so funny and yet so tender, so outrageous, and yet so poignant.
Robin Williams was famous, so his death is getting a lot of media attention, but I can't help but think about all the ordinary people in the world who suffer to this extent. Yesterday I tweeted that my theme/topic today was going to be JOY. I'm sure you're wondering around now how this post is going to be about joy. I've been thinking about joy after this terrible news. How can people find it and the hope that comes with it? I know that serious depression is much more than just a mood or disposition. I want to be sensitive to those who suffer from it, and I don't profess to know much about it. There is no blame or judgment here. I just wanted to explore what joy is and how we can get it - we need it.
I found this definition of joy on the internet. I was looking for joy in a spiritual sense - not just "happiness" that can come and go. I know God's sense of the word is deeper than that. Here is what I found from Rick Warren's Daily Hope:
Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.
I loved this definition. I kept reading. Here is more from this source:
That’s why, when you’re in the midst of an amazing experience, you have a nagging realization that it’s not perfect. And while you’re experiencing something painful, there’s the glorious realization that there is still beauty and loveliness to be found. They’re inseparable.
If you look down train tracks into the brightness of the horizon, the tracks become one. You can’t distinguish them as two separate tracks. That’s how it will be for us, too. One day, our parallel tracks of joy and sorrow will merge into one. The day we meet Jesus Christ in person and see the brightness of who he is, it will all come together for us. Then it will all make complete sense.
Isn't that incredible? I can't help but think Robin Williams showed those two tracks to us in his work. We loved him because we know what those parallel tracks feel like. We live it every day. Some people have to bear so much and can't come to an understanding of why there is so much pain. My heart goes out to them. God promises us that if we depend on Him and thank Him for EVERYTHING, that we will see what it all means some day. We can trust that it will make sense. That assurance can bring us joy. I leave you with this verse:
May the God who gives hope fill you with great joy. May you have perfect peace as you trust in him. May the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope. - Romans 14:13
I couldn't help but share some of my favorite Robin Williams scenes. Sorry about the language in the Good Will Hunting clip.
This is a chilling scene from Dead Poet's Society in light of what happened.